Washington, DC 202.408.9450 © 2012 Women's Democracy Network. All rights reserved.
Women Strive for Greater Political Representation in Albania
Tirana, Albania – Albania’s transition to democracy has faced considerable challenges since the end of Communist rule in the 1990s. One such challenge is the number of women in elective office. Despite an amended electoral code which stipulates that 30 percent of candidates must be female, women continue to comprise only 16 percent of the seats in parliament. The Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) Albania Country Chapter is working to change that.
In preparation for the country’s June 23, 2013 parliamentary elections, the Chapter launched a nationwide initiative to to train female candidates and campaign managers to not only help them compete successfully, but to also raise the visability of women in political parties. The effort launched in May with a workshop on campaign communications and voter outreach for women candidates representing seven political parties.
In addition to the candidate workshop, the Chapter also hosted three workshops for women campaign managers, with more than 90 female campaign managers from Albania’s three main political parties – the ruling Democratic Party, the Socialist Partyand the Socialist Movement for Integration Party. The three workshops focused on the fundamentals of effective management, voter outreach and the role of social media. The workshop was so successful and the need so great that the political parties themselves funded three more workshops, allowing an additional 82 campaign managers to benefit from the training.
Throughout the campaign period WDN-trained campaign managers were highly effective in formulating political strategy for both men and women candidates, and gained considerable recognition from party leadership for their effective skills. In addition, two participants from the May candidate training, Klajda Gjosha and Milena Harito, were elected to parliament, and Jozefina Topalli, Albana Vokshi and Eglantina Gjermeni were re-elected, bringing the total of women parliamentarians to 24 of the 140 seats (up from 21 in 2009).
Despite these modest gains, Albania has a long way to go to achieve greater political representation for women in elective office and in political party leadership positions and the WDN Country Chapter remains committed to that goal. In addition, to their work in preparing women for the 2013 elections, the Chapter conducted pre-election trainingson campaign skills for women candidates and managers in advance of the 2011 local elections and they sponsored a Women’s Leadership and Political Reform Academy for the newly-elected local officials.