Mr Palm's speech during the launching of Time Use Survey Data on 4 July 2011
Before I was appointed by the United Nations to serve in Tirana, I searched the internet to obtain information about Albania. After a few clicks, I came across a picture that I am sure all of you have seen. The picture has been copied thousands of times by internet users, and it still is one of the first images that pops up when you google “Albania and gender” or similar search phrases. It shows a men walking ahead of women, smoking a cigarette, one hand in his pocket. Behind him, a woman carries a huge pile of twigs or leaves, and bends down under the weight of her load.
Two months ago I was in Kruja, walking to the top of the mountain to visit the monument. As we were hiking down the road back to Kruja, we met a man and a woman. It was exactly the same picture. The man ahead, smoking a cigarette, the woman bent down, gasping under the huge load. This is 20 minutes away from Tirana.
I realize that I speak to the converted. We are here to launch a survey, that we all hope will bring more evidence to the policy makers, academics, researchers, opinion makers, businesses, and of course the public at large. We are here to see how we can consolidate information, and strengthen the presentation of data, so that change will come and that we can eliminate gender inequality more quickly. Because there are human rights issues that we want to change, and the Time use survey must help us doing so.
The United Nations – and in particular UNFPA – are pleased to have been involved with INSTAT and the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities MOLSAEO in producing gender statistics. We are also lucky to have SIDA as a partner to the Joint UN Programme on Gender Equality. The programme supports the coordinated implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equality and Domestic Violence. It is made possible also because of the help of our international partners, some of which are here today, and who contribute the UN Coherence Fund.
National institutions have made significant progress in filling the vacuum of gender statistics and data. Harmonized Indicators are now in use by Government and civil society to monitor national commitments on gender equality. But major gaps remained. Capacity is still being especially at regional or local level, not only to collect sex-disaggregated statistics, but also how to interpret such data and inform policy design.
It is probably something that we – and in fact most people – already knew, somehow, without however being able to realize the implications. We now are able to prove it. We now can show the facts, which can no longer be discussed away.
Let this not remain a piece of academic work only, but let’s present and use it so it can help to create change, and help protect women’s rights.