I work at University of Graz where I am also completing my PhD on issues of access to citizenship for different groups. Women and minorities are often sidelined in public discussions and decision-making. For this reason, I always strongly believed that it is important to establish a setting of public space where women’s voice is heard, and especially so when they face additional challenges of marginalisation due to their minority background. Participation on women in the public life is crucial for society at large.
For me, Stella is the fruition of an inspiring journey and efforts through different locations in Macedonia and Kosovo where I trained different groups on minority rights and gender equality. In my experience as a trainer, the issue of gender equality has always raised vivid and often heated conversations. It is often assumed that gender equality is a taboo topic in traditional, patriarchal societies. However, what I have found through my discussions with different groups is not that the subject is a taboo, rather that there is a lack of actively engaged people in discussing the role of women in the public and the private sphere, as well as their rights within both. These discussions, while not always easy and pleasant, have always been constructive and worth having. Stella for me represents an opportunity to create an open, participatory forum to discuss equality and fairness for women.