Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

February 11, 2024

Today we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day is an opportunity for us to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible work that women and girls do on a daily basis. It also serves as an excellent opportunity to remind and encourage women and young girls to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The EU4Culture Team met with Ina Ajazi and asked her about her professional path.

Ina Ajazi was born in Durrës. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at “Aleksandër Moisiu” University in Durrës, in the field of Archaeology and then her Master’s degree in the field of tourism. Throughout her academic journey, she has participated in many various activities, training and archaeological surveys in the city of Durrës. Ina worked for about 6 years in the Archaeological Museum and the Amphitheater of the city. Her work has always been focused on archaeology and tourism.

She currently works at the Venetian Tower, which has been transformed into a Cultural Heritage Interpretation Center. Her job involves welcoming and managing visitor’s services. Ina provides information to visitors through technology which is a novelty for the city. She is glad that thanks to technology, visitors are able to get more information about the history of the city and to have a unique experience at the Venetian Tower.

How did you gain an interest in this career? When did you know that you wanted to pursue this path?

Since I was a child, I have always been interested in cultural heritage. Durrës is a city that carries a lot of history and this has fueled my desire to learn and explore more of its history.

What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

There are two aspects which I find the most interesting. When it comes to archaeology, teamwork and finding archaeological objects give you a special kind of emotion. When it comes to tourism, the most beautiful part of my job is definitely communication and getting to know people who come from different cultures from all over the world.

What are the biggest challenges that you have faced in your career? 

Working with cultural monuments is incredibly rewarding, but it also presents its own set of challenges, especially when conducting fieldwork. This can sometimes make the job difficult. In the realm of tourism, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that you are consistently updated with the latest information. Given the widespread interest in the country’s history and culture, it is essential to continuously educate oneself and stay well-informed in order to provide accurate facts. At times, I have encountered common prejudices, particularly during archaeological excavations, where some individuals were skeptical about a woman’s ability to work effectively for extended periods. Despite these challenges, the experience has been immensely fulfilling.

In your experience, do you find that the work environment and women’s role in it has changed over the years? What further changes would you like to see in the years ahead?

I believe the role of women in Albania has undergone significant transformation. Today, girls have the opportunity to pursue education, learn, and pursue their aspirations. Furthermore, I observe progress in gender equality as girls are actively participating in diverse fields. Witnessing the considerable development of Albanian society in this aspect fills me with immense pride.

In your opinion, what is the best way to get more girls and young women  interested in this field and what advice would you give them to pursue a career in science?

I think it is a wonderful profession for girls and I would encourage them to consider it because it provides both the challenge and adrenaline. I would advise girls to never give up on their dreams no matter how hard it is. Cultural heritage should be given  special attention since it is a field that only few pursue. While I think it’s a good way to stand out, I must also point out that it requires hard work and dedication.