Some parts of Albanian culture still include stereotypes of how girls and women should behave which leads to many girls feeling pressured. Old sayings like a girl must be diligent when it comes to the household (e vyme, e zoja e puneve te shtepijse) are still very common. Even though our culture is making progress towards equality most of these sayings are still considered as valid values. Therefore, here are some of the things I will make sure my daughter knows.
- Always speak up for yourself and others in need.
Speaking up takes courage. It also takes the ability to know when someone did you wrong. So, do not be afraid to fight for your rights and for those who do not know how to fight for their own.
- Your value does not depend on the opinion of others.
Our society is characterised by prejudice and rumours but that should not affect you. Do not allow them to define your value. Your value lies in your definition only.
- Admitting to your vulnerabilities is a strength.
Strength often means to admit to your vulnerabilities. It takes a strong person and courage to let people know that you have flaws and imperfections. “A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life”- Virginia Woolf
- You are never too old to learn or to change.
The rate of uneducated women in Kosovo is very high. The social pressure of a woman going back to school leaves these women often no choice but staying home.
Always educate yourself. You are never too old for a new beginning or for a secondary education.
- Being a “qik e shpise” is bullshit.
Taking care of your family and the household is not a girl’s job. In a family, everyone helps each other. It is not your responsibility to cook and clean for everyone.
- Your voice matters.
Your voice matters, and it is meant to be heard. Do not let anyone silence you. Remember your voice matters. You must find it. You must own it. And you must use it.
- You can make a change.
The weight of the world often leaves you discouraged and wondering how one single person can make a difference. But I assure you that you can make a change just be brave enough to not let the possibility of failure stop you.
- Your life does not start or end if you get married.
This advice is especially something most people in the Albanian culture must learn. You do not have to wait until you get married to go on vacation or to enjoy your life. Happiness lies in your hands and in no one else’s. On the other hand, a married woman can still go to school, meet friends and conquer the world.
Additionally, do not think that your life revolves around marriage. It seems that in some cultures you can be the most successful woman in a leading position, but you will always be asked about why you are not married yet.
- You are your own definition of beautiful.
It is important to understand that you do not have to be or look like others in order to be beautiful. Beauty is so much more than appearance. It is confidence, strength, intelligence, courage, kindness, and respect.
Prepared by: Dardania Bajrami