Shaping Tomorrow: How Women in ICT Are Pioneering Digital Transformation in Albania

March 7, 2024

“Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” is the main theme of International Women’s Day this year. EU4Culture team met with Odeta Shkreli, who is a professor in the IT department at the University of Tirana and the Project Manager of Smart Processes Institute (SPI) NFPO, and asked about the portal and her professional experience as a woman who achieved remarkable success in the ICT sector. Currently, Odeta is working on an online portal “AORTAS”, supported through EU4Culture grant, that will help women-artisans to promote their products online. Here is what she explained to our team.

“Previously, there were no websites that offered a comprehensive view of the city’s cultural heritage assets, including photos, information, curated city tours, and a directory of artisans’ products all on one platform. AORTAS brought all these elements together into one unified space. With dedicated sections on the platform, it not only assists tourists wishing to visit Tirana but also significantly enhances income-generating opportunities for the local community.

AORTAS is not just a tourist guide; it is a doorway to an experience of local and authentic life. With this tool, you are free to explore various parts of the city, whether that means visiting a historic monument, a natural park, or even a sculptor’s studio. At the end of the day, you will have had a truly unique and authentic experience.

As a university professor, I am seeing an increasing number of women joining the ICT field. I worked on one of the Albanian Government’s most important ICT projects, developing the online treasury system, which drastically reduced the document processing times from days to mere minutes. I am especially proud that this achievement was made possible by a team of Albanian professionals, most of whom were women. Success in this modern era hinges on understanding the business and its processes and daring to think outside the box. It involves offering clients insights and ideas they hadn’t considered, encouraging your team to explore avenues not directly related to the business, and, importantly, committing to extensive reading.

We still have a long way to go, but at least now, I’m not the only woman at the table anymore. We can, indeed, celebrate these small victories. Women sometimes still face barriers simply because of gender prejudices and stereotypes. However, this should not discourage us. Instead, women and girls should aim to be the ones who take action. As long as they remain determined, work hard, and empower themselves through knowledge, no one can hinder their success.”