Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Albania’s First Lady, Armanda Begaj, Participates in the High-Level Regional Conference “The Power of Choice: Achieving Bodily Autonomy for Women and Girls”

The high-level regional conference “The Power of Choice: Achieving Bodily Autonomy for Women and Girls” was held in Skopje on October 5, 2023, with the support of the First Lady of North Macedonia, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, and at the initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The First Lady of Macedonia, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, invited the spouses of the Presidents of Southeast European countries, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine, and Croatia, and the spouse of the President of Slovenia, to participate.

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Panelists also included experts from UNFPA and “UN Women,” the United Nations entity for gender equality and women empowerment.

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The conference’s five panels addressed crucial issues regarding the bodily autonomy of women and girls in the region. Topics included new challenges, opportunities, and best practices women should follow for bodily autonomy. Participants discussed gender and social norms and the importance of strategic planning for a bold future of women’s and girls’ bodily autonomy in the region.

In the fifth panel, “Call to Action,” moderated by BBC journalist Kasia Madera, Mrs. Begaj was asked: Albania is one of the countries that has made significant progress in the field of bodily autonomy but still has a lot to do regarding access for women and girls to modern contraceptive methods. What significant findings do you have from today’s discussions?

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In her remarks, Mrs. Begaj emphasized the importance of the discussions at the conference, highlighted Albania’s progress towards achieving bodily autonomy for women and girls, which is also acknowledged in the latest 2023 European Contraception Policy Atlas (published by the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights), where Albania ranks at an index of 68.1%, and stressed that more needs to be done to fight against taboos and stigma related to sexual education and contraception, to which we all must contribute, including the media.

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She informed participants that a detailed study on bodily autonomy issues and appropriate measures for its achievement in Albania is expected within the following year in cooperation with UNFPA.

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In the discussion panels, global public health professors from prestigious European universities, such as Sarah Hawkes from University College London, or experts like Florence Bauer, Regional Director of UNFPA for Europe and Central Asia, presented research findings and a vision for achieving the bodily autonomy of women and girls amidst new challenges.

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Link: Statement by Mrs. Begaj at the High-Level Regional Conference The Power of Choise, Achieving Bodily Autonomy for Woman and Girls