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Women’s Contribution and Leadership in Food Security and Economy

 On International Day of Rural Women, which is celebrated every year on 15 October, the Promoting Private Sector Employment project organized an event to highlight the role women play in food security and poverty reduction. The theme this year is “Women in Leadership: Achieving An Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”.

The event was officiated by Rozeta Hajdari, Minister of Industry, Enterprises and Trade, and Katrin Ochsenbein, Regional Advisor Employment and Income from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Marking this date is important to raise awareness of the specific challenges faced by rural women in becoming economically active, have equal access to resources, and increase their decision-making power.  

Addressing the participants, Minister Hajdari stated: “Women are the key pillar to a modern Kosovo. It is good that this date is marked to highlight the role of women in the food processing industry, and for this we have good results; across the years we have witnessed how women engaged in the field are taking on an increasingly important and visible role in the industry, entrepreneurship and other important sectors for the economic development of Kosovo. Their businesses are competitive not only with men-owned businesses but also with similar businesses in the region”. Minister Hajdari also informed that women in business will continue to receive support and in the coming years, within her mandate at the Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship, and Trade grant-schemes for entrepreneurship and innovation applications will be announced and women will have priority in benefiting from such grants with their creative and innovative ideas. 

At the event, which brought together women from the private sector and women from the media, Ms. Ochsenbein emphasized the role of public policies to address inequalities of all types, at all levels, especially the gender-related ones. 

“The Swiss long-term goal is to change gender related norms and behaviours, especially in the private sector, because in our view, such barriers are unnecessary and hamper development, growth, and innovation,” she said. “This day shall raise awareness of the specific challenges faced by rural women in becoming economically active, have equal access to resources, and increase their decision-making power.”  

As part of the event, two panel discussions was organized. In the first one, women working in the food processing industry talked about their work, challenges, how COVID-19 has affected business and the leadership they had to demonstrate to survive, adapt, and innovate. In the second panel, women from the media who use their platforms to showcase the contribution of women in business highlighted how important it is to promote such role models.  

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation project Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) has as its main goal to increase the employment for young women and men through small and medium enterprises. PPSE is implemented by Swisscontact and the Riinvest Institute.