Women’s economic empowerment – a pathway for the Western Balkans’ future success?

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Women’s economic empowerment – a pathway for the Western Balkans’ future success?

About

Creating new opportunities for women in the regional labour market is crucial for sustainable economic development in the Western Balkans. This is more important than ever given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the long road to recovery. Economic recovery for the Western Balkans needs to address gaps in the labour market and lay the groundwork for sustainable growth. Joint UNDP-RCC work on this issue reports that women make up just 27.5% of business owners, 14.2% of companies’ top managers, perform three times as much unpaid work than men and occupy just 14% of jobs in the STEM field. Engaging women in digital, STEM and entrepreneurship, investment and providing opportunities for them to innovate, learn and access skills can be the accelerators for the Western Balkans to develop regional economies and close the gap to the EU.

In this Critical Thinking Live, Mirjana Spoljaric-Egger and Majlinda Bregu will outline the roadmap to women’s economic empowerment in the Balkans, as charted in their joint UNDP-RCC report. The aim is to discuss the practical next steps for policy and decision-makers, the private sector and civil society, as well as highlight the advantages of engaging and empowering women in the economy.

This conversation is part of our Balkans Journey, a series of events and articles discussing crucial developments and creative solutions for the Western Balkans with key stakeholders in the run-up to our annual Balkans Summit.

#CriticalThinking Live is our latest expansion in the #CriticalThinking family, bringing onscreen & online, influential voices from across a range of sectors to challenge, inspire and influence current thinking on the biggest issues we’re facing in Europe and the world.


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Schedule

Schedule

Women’s economic empowerment - a pathway for the Western Balkans’ future success? Expand Women’s economic empowerment - a pathway for the Western Balkans’ future success?

Questions include:

  • What are the targeted approaches required in investment and education programmes in the digital and STEM sectors to turn around the current deficit in opportunities for women in the regional labour market?
  • What are the incentives for the private sector to play a more assertive role in tackling inequality of opportunity?
  • What are the policy and funding levers that the EU should deploy to generate and support sustainable conditions for women in the labour market in the Western Balkans?
  • What policy initiatives and coalitions should WB6 governments put in place to enhance women’s economic empowerment?

Speakers

Majlinda Bregu

Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)

Mirjana Spoljaric-Egger

Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Moderator

Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for emerging security challenges at NATO

Speakers

Speakers

Majlinda Bregu
Majlinda Bregu

Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)

Show more information on Majlinda Bregu

Majlinda Bregu is an accomplished Albanian politician and a strong believer in the European project. Before becoming the top official of the RCC, a regional cooperative framework for Southeast European countries promoting Euro-Atlantic integration, Bregu served as a member of parliament for three consecutive legislatures for the Centre Right. In this role, she worked for an all-inclusive approach and far-reaching consensus on the European perspective of Albania and the region. She has also served as the minister of European integration and as the government’s spokesperson, where she helped promote the importance of Albania’s membership perspective to the EU for the stability of the region. Additionally, she has actively supported and contributed to the Western Balkans Civil Society Forum established under the Berlin Process.

Photo of Mirjana Spoljaric-Egger
Mirjana Spoljaric-Egger

Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Show more information on Mirjana Spoljaric-Egger

In her current position, Mirjana Spoljaric-Egger leads the UNDP’s work in supporting countries across the Western Balkans in their efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, amongst other responsibilities. Spoljaric-Egger previously served as the head of United Nations and international organisations division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, where she was instrumental in shaping Switzerland’s position to the UN. She combines a strong policy background with field experience and has had several assignments in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Photo of Jamie Shea
Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for emerging security challenges at NATO

Show more information on Jamie Shea

Retiring from NATO in September 2018 after 38 years at the organisation, Jamie Shea has occupied a number of senior positions at NATO across a wide range of areas, including external relations, press and media, and policy planning. As NATO’s spokesperson, he was the face of the Alliance during the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts. He later worked as the Director of Policy Planning in the private office of former Secretary General Rasmussen during the preparation of NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept. Shea is also a regular lecturer and conference speaker on NATO and European security affairs.

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