Q: What are the main challenges of the Albanian women?
A: As an outsider with a very limited perspective on the lives of Albanian families, I have been able to observe two main challenges that women face in their career development. The first is common to women around the world and pertains to family responsibilities. As do many places, Albania still appears to have a very traditional division of labor with respect to family responsibilities - men rarely cook or share in household and child/elder care responsibilities - leaving the bulk of that burden to the women of the family. Thos women who I see have been able to succeed here are those in which (i) either their families were very supportive and had a robust support system who were willing to share in those responsibilities, or (ii) others who may have delayed forming a family to after they have made some progress in their career development. I think we have to congratulate those husbands, mothers in law, etc who have supported these women to build their careers and create role models in this for their children. If we want more men in society who are willing to contribute to their spouses/ career development, as mothers we have to commit to raising our sons in a different way. The second challenge is inside of us women. We often hinder our own progress by telling ourselves and subtly hinting to others that it is unfeminine to be assertive, smart, and vocal, to outshine the men in the debate. My view is that none of the characteristics are the prerogative of men - when people say a women is aggressive - I say she is passionate and committed "like a mother lion guarding her cubs". Its as feminine as nature.