Thank you for inviting me to be part of this special event. I feel honored to be a part of this format that carries such a vital message: women are 50% of humanity, and we have important contributions to make in addressing economic, political, and human security challenges that affect us all. The hard science is clear: Nations that empower women to participate meaningfully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful. I’m so pleased to see members of parliament, ministers and Deputy ministers, representatives of the political parties, NGO representatives, journalists, and businesswomen here with us. We gather as members representing different sectors, and we are all drivers of what’s at stake here: unlocking human potential and transforming that gender equality into opportunity…and into action.
Today, we gather in honor of International Women’s Day and in celebration of Women’s History Month in the United States.
We gather to celebrate the tremendous contributions that Albanian women make to their families, this country, and our world. Along the way, you have fought the daily battle of discrimination, you have won respect, and you have advocated for removing cultural, legal, and regulatory barriers to advance women’s rights and opportunities, creating more seats at the table for women’s voices. Women can and must play a role in moving our countries forward to innovate, prosper, and achieve peace.
For generations, the United States has worked hard to advance women’s equality, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote women and youth empowerment programs around the world.
That commitment is stronger than ever. Empowering women is not a favor, it’s not something we might do when we have the time and resources, it’s a core objective because it’s a matter of justice and strategic positioning. We want to empower women because it’s both the right thing and the smart thing to do.
As most of you already know, I have three areas of focus here in Albania: democracy, defense, and business. Not surprisingly, women play a significant role in all three.
When women are empowered economically, they invest in their families and communities, spur economic growth, and create more stable societies. Nations where women have equal opportunities are more likely to thrive and solve challenges peacefully. In this respect, empowering women around the globe is related to national as well as global security.
I’m looking forward to hearing today from women who are innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders – women with different experiences and perspectives who are united by their success despite the odds and, as their presence here shows, united by a desire to help other women succeed as well.
In my one year here, I have been impressed by the many Albanian women I have met who often work against great odds and at great personal sacrifice, whether at home or in parliament, hospitals, universities, studios, and any other place you might imagine. All of us owe you thanks for persevering and succeeding. You inspire us, and we are so pleased to share this space with you today.