Politics Is Difficult For Idealists, But Not Inaccessible

Women / July 26, 2014

Ky postim ekziston gjithashtu në Vesionin Shqip

Nirvana Lekaj entered politics in 1992. She is the Chairwoman of the Dem- ocratic Women’s League and a member of the Shkodra Municipal Council. She speaks in an open and frank manner. She criticizes the “non-demo- cratic policies” of party leaders, who put barriers, not only to women’s participation in politics, but also to the development of democracy in the country as such.

Tell us something about your political career. How come you entered politics?

I joined the Democratic Party in the year 1992. Six years later, in 1998, I was elected as Education Secretary of the Shkodra DP branch. During the whole of this period I was a member of the Shkodra Democratic Women’s League.
In 2008 I was elected as the Chairwoman of the League. I still hold that position. In the 2011 elections I was part of the winning list of the DP candidates for the Shkodra Municipal Council.

You have been very active in the political scene of Shkodra. Did you ever think about embarking into national politics?

My political contribution isn’t limited only to Shkodra. I participate in national politics, as a member of the National Forum of Democratic Women. I have contributed in the drafting of the national platform for gender equality of the Democratic Party. Since 2009 I have been a member of the DP National Council.

What does it mean being a woman in politics? What are the challenges?

It’s a privilege, but one has got to have guts to enjoy it as such. Shkodra is a town full of tradition, and that tradition extends to the very organization of the women’s movement.
That organizational heritage can be tracked back as far as to 1920, when Marije Çoba established the first women’s association “The Committee of the Albanian Woman”. Shkodra women have high expectations when it comes to who runs the town. It takes a lot of energy and prudence to represent them.

What is your take on the recent political developments in Albania?

The most recent political developments, especially those related to the approval of an incomplete territorial reform, lead me to think that the political representation of women in the upcoming local elections might come to suffer considerably.

How do you see Albania in the next four years?

I am not very optimistic on Albania’s democratic perspective in the four years to come, especially considering what happened over the last four months.
The ruling majority’s 84 votes in the Parliament make just a political analyst out of the opposition. The opposition is not in a position to be a factor of change, as it should be, at least in a democratic country.

What is your opinion on gender equality in Albania?

It takes a lot of effort to achieve gender equality in Albania. We have still formidable barriers to overcome.
Just to name a few: the male-oriented attitude of the society, the non- democratic policies of the party leaders, and the forced indifference of the women themselves.
It is plain to see that the reforms undertaken over the last year, especially those targeting the changes in the Electoral Code, aiming at forcing the political parties to fulfil a gender quota of 30%, have been ineffective.
The party leaders put pressure on the women candidates to relinquish their mandates. We have experienced concrete examples of such pressure in the Lezha region.
Regardless of the barriers we had to face, women did not remain silent. They were able to react, to use the continuous support of the international community, especially of the OSCE. I believe we will be able to jointly yield a positive influence in the improvement of the women’s representation in decision-making.

Which is the issue (social, political or other) that lies closest to your heart?

Women’s representation, at the top level. That doesn’t apply only to politics. It applies to everything. To education, culture, health. To everything.

Who were the women who inspired you the most?

History is full of women who contributed to the development of our country, who helped not just our country, but the whole world. Mother Theresa is a symbol of self-negation, of love for those in need, of love for humanity.
Back to politics, as a Shkodra woman, I find inspiration in a lady who has represented us, and still does represent us all over the world, by taking up issues that are important to our country, especially to women and children.

What would you tell to a young woman who might have an idea to enter politics today?

Politics is usually tough on idealists. It has always been. Yet engaging in politics it is not an unachievable target. In order to succeed in politics one has to be well-prepared.
One has to be strong, one has to know people, especially those one is going to represent. One has to struggle to represent them properly.

Empowering Women in Politics

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Gjergj Erebara
Gjergj Erebara
Gjergj Erebara është gazetar për BIRN në Tiranë. Ai ka mbaruar studimet universitare për gazetari në Universitetin e Tiranës dhe ka master shkencor (MSC) për Histori Ekonomike nga Universiteti i Lundit. I specializuar për gazetari ekonomike,Erebara ka punuar që nga viti 1998 në disa media të shkruara dhe vizive Shqiptare, si gazetar, redaktor dhe kryeredaktor.

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Politika E Veshtire Per Idealistet, Por Jo E Paarritshme

This post also exists in English Nirvana Lekaj hyri në politikë në vitin 1992. Sot është kryetare e Lidhjes Demokratike...

July 26, 2014