“Include Women in Change Processes” initiative concludes: Women’s voices continue to be ignored!

Include Women in Change Processes, a joint initiative of the European Union Special Representative in BiH (EUSR), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, was launched in December last year with aim to promote importance of participation and representation of women from all segments of society in decision-making processes in BiH.

Nearly 100 women from all parts of BiH, representatives of authorities, civil society, political and public life, entrepreneurs, legal experts, participated in the work of the Initiative during which four thematic round tables were organised, with a focus on the right to access to work, health care and social protection, as well as on issues related to sustainable peace and justice.

The Initiative held its final conference yesterday in Sarajevo and on this occasion presented the final report with its key findings and recommendations.

Gordana Vidović, Director of the Citizens’ Association ‘Buducnost’ from Modrica stated that recommendations in the report mainly refer to the need of adoption of legal provisions for providing gender equality or implementation of exiting provisions.

Head of the EU Delegation to BiH/EUSR Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark stated that unfortunately women continue to be underrepresented and discriminated in BiH’s politics, society as well as in the private sector. “This is not a challenge uniquely faced by BiH. In fact, the EU and its Member States struggle to secure equal representation in politics and public life too. It is an important challenge to address – because women make up half the population, because there are international obligations and commitments, because of EU values, and because it makes for better policies and practices.”

“The question is not why or if but the question is rather how to achieve gender equality” said Swedish Ambassador to BiH Anders Hagelberg. Furthermore, the Ambassador stated that the mind-sets on the gender issues in BiH have to change and courageous politicians are required to promote gender equality along with the pressure from civil society.

Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation Secretary General Petra Tötterman Andorff said that this Swedish feminist organisation has been active in BiH since 1993 and reminded that the Initiative mainly focused on realisation of gender equality in socio-economic and political topics in order for women to become key actors in achieving gender equality and maintaining peace.

Final report