Drita Bakija Gunga – Woman Who Challenged Gender Norms

Drita Bakija Gunga, the first doctor of science in history, stands out as a pioneering advocate and researcher for gender equality.

Initially, she emerged as a beacon of enlightenment for the women in her family, ultimately becoming one of the 100 stars commemorated in a book dedicated to her remarkable achievements.

Her relative, Lorik Bakija, once remarked, “Anyone who knew Drita would attest that she transformed every obstacle in her life into an opportunity and an accomplishment. She always extracted valuable lessons from her experiences.”

In addition to her contributions to the field of science, Drita Bakija Gunga also earned acclaim for her performances at the Gjakova Theater, where she became one of the first women to grace the stage. Drita was a multifaceted individual who had a passion for dancing.

Driven by her desire to challenge gender norms, she was determined to receive an education and excel in various domains. As she articulated, “Albanian women have endured oppression for far too long.”

She firmly believed that women’s liberation would come through emancipation, active contribution, and the realization of the significance and power of their voices.

Drita’s friend, Mevlyde Mezini Saraqi, described her as a wise and resilient woman—a shining example of Albanian women advocating for the education and emancipation of women and girls during her era.

noted, “She was one of the founders of the women’s association and served as a member of the inaugural leadership of the Women’s Forum of the LDK. She was a role model who lived and acted with unwavering integrity, leaving behind a legacy of written scientific and historical contributions.”

In 1950, Drita completed her primary education in her hometown of Gjakovë. From 1963 to 1975, she taught at the “Hajdar Dushi” Gymnasium in Gjakovë and the “Elena Gjika” Primary School in Prishtina. In 1973, she earned her degree in history from the Faculty of Philosophy at Pristina, and four years later, she completed her master’s thesis on the topic “Women’s Movement in Kosovo between the Two World Wars.”

Her doctoral studies culminated in 1982 with her dissertation on “Women of Kosovo in the Period of Socialist Construction 1945-1978,” making her the first woman from Kosovo to be awarded the title of “Doctor of Science in History.”

Throughout her career, Drita Bakija Gunga focused her research and professional studies on the women of Kosovo, especially illuminating their roles and activities before, during, and after the Second World War. In the 1990s, she also became actively involved in the political landscape of Kosovo Albanians. One of her significant contributions was her election to the inaugural presidency of the Women’s Association in March 1990, later transformed into the Women’s Forum of the LDK.

Over the years, Drita published approximately 20 scientific research papers. She was born in 1943 and passed away in 2020, leaving an enduring legacy of empowerment and dedication to gender equality in Kosovo and beyond.