Florentina Dushi is the executive director and co-founder of “Business Development Group” from Pristina. This company was founded in 2011 by two consultants with experience in management consulting, entrepreneurship, human rights and banking in Kosovo and the region. Today, they provide their training programs and consulting services in the field of human resources to companies and institutions. They are recognized as a successful company, they also cooperate with foreign clients, and they have opened a main branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Shpresa Agushi is the director of the Network of Women’s Organizations of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians in Kosovo (PROGRAEK), which today consists of more than 20 organizations and activists. The main goal of their activities is to empower women from these minority communities. After the conflict in Kosovo, Shpresa was the first activist from the Roma community to set an example and encourage other women to fight for their rights. Her work is recognized outside of Kosovo, so in 2007 she was awarded in Switzerland for volunteer work with women from the Roma community in Kosovo, and in 2019 she was awarded by the EU.
Florentina Dushi and Shpresa Agushi are recognized today as successful women. Behind them are years of work and the challenges they faced as they built their names. Although their areas of action are different, they have one thing in common – they both knew what they wanted to achieve and were persistent in their efforts.
“11 years ago, based on the experience from Kosovo, in certain EU countries and Latin America, there was a moment when I decided that I should do something more in my career than the mere work I had been doing until then. One characteristic of the moment when the company was founded was that in Kosovo 11 years ago, the services of human resources services were not considered necessary,” she recalled the Soul of its beginnings.
“Throughout the journey, I would emphasize two things – the patience we must have and the vision of where we want to go, regardless of the challenges we face every day,” she explained her guiding ideas.
On the other hand, Agushi started her career as the first and at that time the only activist for women’s rights from the Roma community.
“My goal was that, since I was the first woman from the Roma community to start activism after the war, I would not always be the only one in meetings, but to have other women and girls from these communities to fight together to improve our position. and were part of a common voice,” Agushi explained.
Although there is still a lot of work ahead of them, Agushi is no longer alone in meetings. She says that the years of hard work have paid off and that today a larger number of women and girls from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities are engaged in activism and are fighting for their rights.
“Women need to think about the aspirations they have, and if they want to create something, nothing must stop them. So, they have to find models on how to get engaged, take care and dedicate themselves to the family, but also to deal with the company,” Dushi pointed out, explaining the position of a woman in the business world.
Family support is very important along the way.
“If a woman is married and has started a family, the support of her husband is necessary. When you run a company, you sometimes have to stay after hours, the job is more flexible, but the hours are much longer. If you do not have such support, that is impossible,” she concluded.
Agushi, on the other hand, stressed that women from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo are discriminated against on three levels. Primarily in the family, then by the community and finally at the level of society as a whole, which greatly complicates their lives.
“Patriarchal life in the Balkans, and especially among minorities where it is even more emphasized, influences these women to depend on decisions made by male family members – ’the male world’, giving priority to boys and men to the detriment of girls and women,” she said.
She said that in order to improve the position of women, it is necessary to work with men as well.
“Working only with women and girls is good, but in order to change the position, we must include men who must understand that women are part of the family, part of the changes and development of society and help the family achieve a better life position,” she explained.
Both Dushi and Agushi encourage women to work not only to achieve in the family plan, but also to achieve in a professional sense, and that in addition to all the challenges, something like that is possible. The best example is the two of them.
“We should not limit ourselves only to the family, to think that we do not have time for anything else. I am a mother of two children and now we have another 6-month-old baby and the work continues in the same way,” said Dushi, adding that “the more accomplished we are in the professional sense, the greater our contribution to our family.”
“Once and for all, we should forget that a woman should wait for a man to do something in her life. We do not agree with this opinion and not only young girls, but also middle-aged women because they are also pro those changes,” said Agushi on the other hand.
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