% is Not a Goal but an Indicator – Gender Equality and Politics

The Institute for Youth Development KULT took part in the Forum on gender equality in political parties, organized yesterday in Sarajevo by the Commission for Gender Equality of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and the Agency for Gender Equality of BiH, in cooperation with the OESS Mission to BiH.

The topics discussed during the forum included gender perspective in political parties’ platform documents and practices used by political parties to encourage the participation of women as the under-represented gender in decision-making processes. According to Miloš ?aji?, expert on gender equality issues, this forum was one small stepping stone on the road to gender equality in politics.

The forum helped political parties prepare better, more efficient programmes which will include activities aimed at promoting gender equality. Platforms of political parties should include in their platforms issued such as violence against women, sexual harassment, glass ceiling, gender wage gap, etc.  

While 52% of the world’s population are women, only 7% occupy decision-making positions. Out of 36% of female candidates, 20% are elected to participate in decision making.

“Percentages are not out goal, but they are a good indicator of the current situation. Female politicians have to communicate their work to voters more efficiently, and the media need to report more on these issues. The Agency for Gender Equality will work with political parties actively in this inferior and challenging area”, stated  Samra Filipovi? HadĹľiabdi?, Agency Director.

Recommendations have been made for political parties which include proposals for raising the participation of the under-represented gender in decision-making bodies to 40%, strengthening the role of women in the executive branch of government, creating an efficient way of communicating with the electorate, maintaining the Federal Club of Women MPs as a functioning body after the elections as well, continuous cooperation with the non-governmental sector, political parties making their stance on gender equality known, etc.

The non-governmental sector asked for a meeting to discuss this topic with the leaders of political parties.

The Forum was attended by representatives of 5 out of 16 invited political parties. Leaders of political parties were not present and only 25% of those present were men.

In addition to representatives of forums of women in political parties, as bodies of political parties concerned with gender equality, the Forum was attended by members of the Club of Women MPs of the FBiH Parliament, and members of state and entity committees for promoting gender equality and the Gender Equality Commission of Br?ko Distrikt. An important role in recognizing obstacles and suggesting possible solutions in different segments of gender equality in politics, was played by representatives of non-governmental organisations engaged in addressing these issues in BiH and representatives of international institutions and organisations.

All participants agreed on one thing – gender equality is not a women’s issue but an issue that concerns the entire society, and the way politics will change the general atmosphere remains to be seen through political campaigns of candidates and voters’ choices.  

The Institute for Youth Development KULT, partner to SUNY (University in New York), as part of the project Strengthening Governing Institutions and Processes, cooperates closely with the Parliaments and their working bodies on different levels, with the aim of adopting, implementing and ensuring more responsible and efficient policies, laws and budget related to key issues in EU accession.



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