Women in Defence System – Albania – 2023

National Action Plan 1325:

Most countries have already adopted the second generation of action plans, except for Albania, which was the last in the region to adopt the first Action Plan in 2018. The Albanian Action Plan expired in 2020 and there seems to be no political will to draft a new one. The Ministry of Defence however states that it complies with other gender related documents, such as the newly adopted National Strategy on Gender Equality 2021-2030. The Ministry is focused on fulfilling three strategic goals: promoting and enhancing women’s leadership in the military, increasing women’s participation in missions and operations, and increasing the number of women in the Albanian military representations in NATO command structures and the number of women in diplomatic missions.

Participation of women in the MoDs and the Armed Forces:

The total number of employees in the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces is 7,749, of which 19.98% are women. This constitutes a slight increase of 0.58% compared to 2021. The representation of women in the Albanian Armed Forces is 14.98% (892 women out of 5,953 personnel), which is an increase of 0.66% compared to
2021. Albania thus met the NATO goal of 15% of female uniformed personnel in the armed forces. However, Albania is the only country in the region with the quota for women in the army (15%) that can affect their further admission. The increase of representation of women in the armed forces is slow; namely, the percentage of women military personnel in the armed forces in 2011 was 12.3%, in 2012 – 13.42%, while in 2013 it decreased to 11.2%.¹ Still, Albania had the highest share of women officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) in 2022 – 21.01% of the officers (365 out of the total of 1,737) and 13.78% of the non-commissioned officers (348 out of the total of 2,525), while female enlisted personnel make up 10.58% (179 out of the total of 1,691), which is an increase of 1.94%. The percentage of women among the civil employees in the MoD is 36.56%. In other words, out of 1,795 civil servants, 657 are women.

Representation of women in command and leadership positions:

Female officers who perform duties of commander and deputy commander make up 8.25% (35 women out of 424). The highest rank of women in the Albanian Armed Forces is that of Major General. This rank is held by Manushaqe Shehu, who became the first female Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Albanian Armed Forces in 2018. Until recently, Albania had two women defence ministers, who headed the Ministry from 2013 to 2020. Mrs. Olta Xhaçka was the second woman to be appointed Minister of Defence (2017-2020) after Mrs. Mimi Kodheli, who led the defence sector for four consecutive years. There are also other decision-making positions held by women, such as that of Deputy Defence Minister.

Participation of women in peacekeeping operations:

As at 21 December 2022, 16 out of 324 military personnel participating in missions are women, which is 5%. This represents a slight decrease compared to 2019, when 7% of women participated in NATO operations. ²

      1.    Megi Llubani, Women’s representation in the security sector in Albania, Albanian Institute for International Studies, 2014, https://www.peacewomen.org/sites/default/files/albania.pdf
      2.    North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Summary of the National Reports of NATO Member and Partner Nationsto the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives, 2019, p. 142, https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/2021/9/pdf/NCGP_Full_Report_2019.pdf

2023 – Balkan Defence Monitor
Women In Defence System – Albania

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