“We are organizing Quizonomy to raise awareness about important issues. This time, our theme is “Girls in Science.” When we saw a global call for women in science, we immediately thought that women can hardly be in science without having girls in science first,” said one of the quiz finalists Aleksandra Djokić, an 18-year-old Gymnasium student from Laplje Selo near Prishtinë/Priština.

Quizonomy is a science quiz organized by the Gymnasium professors every year. Six teams comprised of 30 students in total – 17 girls and 13 boys, applied this year. Girls were the majority of the two frontrunners – “Avant-garde” and “Distortion of Mind” which made it to the final. The winning team this year was “Avant-garde”.

“Our Quiz is about sending good messages, rather than having winners and losers. What we aim for is to have some fun and learn a lot of new things in geography, physics, math and biology,” Aleksandra says.

This year, Quizomony was supported by four UN agencies, UNDP-UNV, UNICEF and UN Women,  under their joint project “Empowering Youth for a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Sustainable Future in Kosovo” funded by the UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund. The project directly engages young women and men from the communities divided by conflict and encourages them to work together on the issues of shared interest and become more active changemakers and catalysts of trust in Kosovo.

“When we heard about the Peacebuilding Fund, we thought it was about dealing with the consequences of conflict and reconciliation. I know! Sounds funny! But then, we read about their activities and decided to ask them to partner with us and our professors did the rest. I think that alone, we can’t make a difference. We need to partner, get together and make our voices heard,” said Aleksandra.

The quiz winners received symbolic awards from the UN Agencies, but the main goal of the gathering was to talk about equality and equal future for boys and girls.

UN Development Coordinator in Kosovo, Ms. Ulrika Richardson, and UNDP Resident Representative, Maria Suokko, talked to the students about the importance of the increased participation of girls in science and provided them with the data to put the current situation on women in the IT sector, science and economy in general into perspective.

“When I went on Mathematics, we were only four girls out of 20 students,” Ulrika Richardson said. She also noted that a young generation can change world statistics and achieve a bright and equal future for all.

Ms. Maria Suokko encouraged the students to be more active and join the educational and social initiatives when they have a chance. “Change isn’t just about the big moments we hear about in the news. Change is all about the small actions you are taking, including your commitment today,” she said.

Aleksandra Djokić is a future architect and this autumn she will start lectures at the university level. She is an excellent student and her aim is to change the global statistics and statistics in Kosovo regarding the participation of women in all areas of work and life. “We listened to Ms. Suokko when she said that only around 30% of scientific researchers in the world are women. Well, I will work hard to change that by showing my example as a good student and by showing that, as a girl, I can do as well as any boy,” she said.

The school director, Mr. Dejan Denić told us that these activities are excellent for students and their activism is for good causes. “Today, we are addressing the pressing issues of gender equality to celebrate International Women’s Day and allow our students to think and learn. The support we have received from the United Nations increases the impact of our work and makes our voice louder,” Denić said.     

UNDP in Kosovo is committed to supporting gender equality in all its projects and activities.

The United Nations justification for Sustainable Development Goal 5 is: “It is vital to give women equal rights, land and property, sexual and reproductive health, and technology and the internet. Today there are more women in public office than ever before but still, a lot remains to be done to achieve meaningful gender parity in political and economic decision-making. Encouraging women leaders and ensuring better educational opportunities for women and girls will help achieve greater gender equality in all areas of life.”

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