Ministry of Economic Development Organizes Forum on Women in ICT

Women’s unemployment in Kosovo remains very high. According to the latest Labour Market Survey, only one in ten women are employed. Women are excluded from many fields with information, technology and communications (ITC) being among the most apparent.
     On Oct. 28, the Ministry of Economic Development, in cooperation with the World Bank, organized the annual forum on women’s involvement in information and communication technology. The aim of this annual forum is to discuss last year’s achievements in women’s inclusion in ICT fields, and to debate future plans.
     In her opening remarks, Besa Zogaj Gashi, deputy Minister of Economic Development, highlighted that women are four times less likely to enter ICT fields. She added that this can greatly impact the country’s economic development.
     The first panel was high level, composed of various ministers stating their efforts towards increasing women’s involvement in ICT. Minister of Finance Avdullah Hoti, Minister of Trade and Industry Hykmete Berisha, and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Arban Abrashi all stated their commitment to increasing women’s participation in ICT.
     The second panel discussed women’s inclusion in ICT education and jobs. Vegim Gashi, Director of KOMTEL, said that there are many challenges that women face in entering ICT fields, emphasizing the problematic nature of the current labor law. “As an ICT businessman, as a father of two daughters, and as a feminist, I believe that the current Law on Labour, especially articles concerning Maternity Leave need to be amended, in order to decrease the negative aspects this law has on women entering ICT fields,” Mr. Gashi said. 
      Overall, this annual forum showed that while there are many challenges facing women in ICT, there is abundant political will to overcome these challenges. This forum was supported by World Bank.