I don't Want to be the Only Woman at the Table

zzvI1lpg.png | #GENDER EQUALITY

In my professional career, I've given so many interviews, taken part in so many shows, talked at hundreds of gatherings and events, and I have always wondered how many women would hear my message. And how many women do not have that opportunity as a result of various reasons and obstacles. I have been, for the most part, the only woman at the table at all these events.

I was aware, and still am aware today, of how much responsibility I carry when I speak on behalf of all those women who still do not have their place at the table where decisions are made. At those same tables, where time was generally wasted on idle conversations without results, I was often the only one who demanded to speak openly about problems and solutions that would make life easier for at least one family, at least one woman.

And at this point, as you are reading this, I wonder how many of you will realize that you are needed by other women, and that it is necessary for you to join me at that table, where usually I am sitting alone.

Dear Woman, I want to tell you that you should not doubt yourself. That when you hear of an open invitation to participate in a "Public Budget Hearing" you do not have to think that it is not for you, and that you do not know what to say and suggest there. Because, I'm sure you know.

• You know that your street needs lighting because no one is comfortable walking down the street in the dark.
• You know you need a speed bumper in front of the school because you want all children and road users to be safe.
• You know that another dumpster is needed because the first one is located too far.
• You know that ramps and approaches are needed for people with disabilities, for strollers on all sidewalks, and for entrances to public institutions.
• You know that the air is polluted due to someone illegally burning car tires and poisoning the entire city, and that it is necessary to stop it.
• You know it is necessary to organize an afforestation and cleaning of all public areas.

You should not hesitate to claim your rights because:
• You know that other women are reluctant to go to regular checkups because someone does not care about the privacy of information in a certain clinic.
• You know you need to call an inspection and report the expired groceries at the local shop.
• You know that it is not right that there are people poisoning dogs in the city, and that one should be responsible for abandoned animals and find a viable solution.
• You know you have the right to receive documents in your native language.
• You know that you should report the violence you experience at work, in marriage, or any other form of discrimination.
• You know you need to be protected at all times.
• You know you need to report a police officer who is telling you to stay home and remain silent even though you have just experienced violence.
• You know you have the same inheritance rights as your brother, husband or other family members.
•You know. You know everything.

Because I know that you know, the next time you have the opportunity to say something, say it loud and clear, and participate in change for yourself and your society. Because unless we personally participate in decision-making, we will forever be trapped in a world where our needs will not be considered and respected.

Because a woman's place is where she wants her place to be.

At the table where decisions are made.

This project is supported by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and is implemented by the New Social Initiative. Expressed opinions represent the authors’ views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, UNMIK or New Social Initiative.

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