Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the World Bank Women in Online Work (WOW)

Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the World Bank Women in Online Work (WOW) Event, February 27, 2017

Mirëdita.  Dobar dan.  Good morning everybody.  It’s great to be here.

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, Deputy Minister, diplomatic colleagues, participants in WOW.

I’m really pleased to be here today to recognize this innovative program.  And I have to say that WOW is just a terrific name for something as successful as this program!

It’s not every day I get to participate in the celebration of an unmitigated success so I really appreciate the opportunity to be here today and help recognize it.

Officially this event concludes the pilot project that trained 160 women from five municipalities in online employment skills.

But the exciting thing is: we all know that today isn’t the end of anything, because the extraordinary and innovative project that the World Bank and Kosovo’s Ministry of Economic Development have put together is just the beginning.

Due to your success, already my colleagues at USAID in partnership with the Government of Kosovo have launched the next phase of this endeavor, in Gjilan, to reach even more women with the promise of economic opportunity, self-reliance, and a competitive skill-set in an ever-changing job market.

I should certainly acknowledge that we have a great record in working with the Ministry of Economic Development in women’s empowerment issues and in honor of that I’m wearing today the button that I got last year from our project Girls in ICT.

From web development and graphic design to digital marketing and so much more, this program opens up a whole new avenue of study and employment to the women of Kosovo.  And in fields that are constantly growing, always changing, and always rife with opportunity for those whose skills rise to meet the challenge.

I applaud the Ministry of Economic Development for committing to the advancement of women in IT fields and for stepping up to support this program.  This is making a real difference in every day in people’s lives.

As you know, I’ve spoken often of the benefits to a society when women’s economic empowerment is a priority.  The evidence around the world shows clearly that greater participation by women in a country’s economy leads to greater prosperity, and stability.

Of course we know that the rate of women’s participation in Kosovo’s economy is still too low and that they face wage discrepancies, that they are sometimes segregated away from certain careers or sectors.

But perhaps even more importantly, young women in Kosovo need to know that no profession is off-limits to them, no matter how big they dream – including becoming the next internet mogul.

No single program can address every challenge, but initiatives like WOW are crucial.  They provide real-world skills training in a burgeoning sector with so much more room to grow, empowering women to seek out their own opportunities, careers that prize innovation and creativity, a job market that crosses borders and opens them up to new worlds of possibility.

And to the many women who took part in this program, I congratulate you.  It’s not easy to raise your hand and to learn something new, something unfamiliar.   I was very impressed with the stories we heard at the beginning of the program.  They were truly inspiring and I look forward to more such stories from future participants in the WOW program.

Your success not only empowers you, it creates powerful examples of what women can accomplish in ICT career fields.  You’re showing young girls all across Kosovo that anything is possible, every sector and every path is open to them.

You have my thanks and my admiration.

And for our part, we’ll keep working hard to help women and girls in Kosovo pursue more ICT career paths through the next phase of the WOW initiative with USAID, and wherever innovation and good ideas take us.

Thank you very much.  Faleminderit shumë.  Hvala.