The first steps to alleviating the problems of rural women in Albania have already been taken, but gender inequalities are still deeply rooted in society and transformation needs to be accelerated, according to the new FAO report: Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in Albania. Only about 37 percent of women in Albania are recognised in the national data as being formally employed. In reality, though, a far larger number are working. Rates of informal work are higher in agricultural activities, and especially among women. Non-registered self-employment accounts for between 30 and 45 percent of Albania’s gross domestic product, as noted in the report. Women’s work in the informal economy and inside the home is unaccounted for in the statistics or undercounted. Structural and cultural barriers continue to inhibit women’s participation in higher-wage sectors and occupations.
The Mary Ward Social Business is trying to create new socio-economic opportunities for women and girls living in rural and underdeveloped areas by providing possibilities and opportunities for employment and self-employment.
The opening of MWL Social business project has led to a close collaboration with Yunus Social Business Balkans. The CEO of YSB is supporting the development of the strategy of MWL for opening the social business with three branches: the Valbona Souvenir and crafts Shop, the Kallmet Tailoring Workshop, and the Sale Point in Tirana. The concept of MWL Social business is to be a Fair-Trade entity. The first year will consist of producing and testing the market and establishing clients in the Albanian and foreign markets targeting the ethical retail companies and businesses. A sales representative is employed, who is experienced in this field and who will be developing the sales and the Mary Ward Social business in its first steps 10 women are already employed and are taking a fair wage with health insurances included and 23 other women are self-employed by working as our suppliers. Through this opportunity the established mini-businesses run by women will thrive.