Take your life in your hands: Kosovo women leaders set powerful examples

22 Apr 2024

Take your life in your hands: Kosovo women leaders set powerful examples

“We often remember women when they are no longer here, but this exhibition does the opposite,” said Eliza Hoxha, the curator of the “Capturing Women Leadership” exhibition as it opened in the shadow of two recent femicides.

“It sheds light and celebrates women who have done a lot for society by breaking taboos and bringing about positive change,” she added.

The holding of the UNMIK-supported exhibition at the Barabar Centre in Pristina signalled the decision of Kosovo’s civil activists and ten women leaders it features to continue promoting and advocating for the empowerment of women, gender equality, and the prevention of any form of violence against women and girls.

Each photographic portrait captured by photographer Arben Llapashtica features a quote about their vision and how it relates to their achievements.

In her portrait, the founder of the Association of Businesswomen Avenija Gordana Đorić, recalling her own experience, issued a call to action to all women:

“Take your life in your hands, my dears. Boldly step on the path of achieving your goals. It all depends on you,” and Judoka, Majlinda Kelmendi, offered an inspiration:

“[I] have managed to become an Olympic champion! With hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything.

Director of Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims Feride Rushiti spoke about the situation of women who have survived sexual violence: “Their past is full of pain and suffering. Their empowerment is our social obligation. The voice of the survivors is the voice of truth and delayed justice.”

Highlighting the importance of the exhibition, during her keynote remarks, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Barrie Freeman said that "art and culture can serve as platforms that amplify voices of women across a spectrum of disciplines" and paid homage to the women featured in the exhibition for setting powerful examples of women in public life and leadership and inspiring many in their communities and beyond.

Freeman expressed deep concern over femicide cases in Kosovo, saying it was imperative to take immediate and decisive action to prevent the ongoing violence against women and ensure their safety and protection.

In addition to Đorić, Kelmendi, and Rushiti, the exhibition features:

  • Edita Tahiri, Kosovo’s former Deputy Prime Minister;
  • Hiljmnijete Apuk, United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights laureate and NGO Little People of Kosovo director;
  • Jeta Xhara, BIRN Kosovo editor-in-chief;
  • Kaqusha Jashari, painter and former politician;
  • Mimoza Gavrani,  television anchor and editor;
  • Mirjeta Qehaj, painter and activist with NGO HandiKos; and
  • Teuta Sahatqija, Women in Tech Kosovo chapter founder.

The exhibition in the Barabar Centre will run until Friday, 26 April 2024, with several follow-up activities.