The current state of play - How equal are women and men in the Western Balkans?

KT Katarina Tadic Public Seen by 320

In Kosovo, 2014 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) poll shows that only 8% of women are involved in political parties, versus 22% of men. In BIH there are no women party leaders. In Serbia, women make up 30% of highest managerial position in the public administration, although in the total civil service they comprise as much as 62%. All Western Balkan countries have a problem with gender-based violence and their societies are shaped by deeply rooted patriarchal traditions and dominant gender stereotypes.
In this group we would like to collect evidence that comes from you, CSOs and think tanks, about our unequal position and contributing factors. Thus, we encourage you to share your policy studies and briefs, analytical reports, discussion or policy papers, and any other written products. Also, we invite you to share activities that your organisations have implemented when working on gender-related topics. It will help us to detect major challenges we face in achieving gender equality, which is the first step in our effort to formulate recommendations for future participants of the London Summit.


Sneska Thu 5 Apr 2018 9:36AM

Dear All, I have attached a written document which briefly outlines the current state of gender equality in Macedonia. This document was sent as a contribution prior to the preparation of European Commission's Country Report for 2017. Please feel free to ask any additional questions which you may have. Kind regards, Sneska


Adnan Kadribasic Thu 5 Apr 2018 12:42PM

In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) we miss an unified reporting system. However, the data which is available clearly states that
- Over 75% of men and over 50% of women have patriarchal values
- Bosnia and Herzegovina has on of the highest inactive female labor force where almost 2 in 3 women do not work
- Women have better educational outcomes however this does not translate in higher employment opportunities
- The Gender Pay Gap is not as high as in some other countries and is calculated at 9% in favor of men
- All available data shows that there is a glass ceiling and that women make just over 14% of all top management positions
- Women are underrepresented in politics and make around 21% of all member of parliaments but are quite prevalent as members of political parties and make in average over 40% of all membership
- Gender equality is mostly achieved in the judiciary where almost equal numbers of women and men (currently more women than men) are judges and prosecutors (including court presidents and chief prosecutors)
- Women are almost exclusively victims of domestic violence and 1 in 10 women have face some sort of gender based violence in the last year
- Women live longer than men and a significant number of men die from treatable illnesses
- Men are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than women

BiH did make a significant progress in terms of establish institution and developing quite progressive laws (see here my analysis http://www.equalitylaw.eu/downloads/4236-european-equality-law-review-1-2017-pdf-1-616-kb) and policies however this does not translate in progress in the area of gender equality. Unfortunately, there are no M&E systems in place to monitor the impact measures taken by the government on gender (in)equality. There is a bi-annual statistical bulletin http://www.bhas.ba/tematskibilteni/FAM_00_2017_TB_0_BS.pdf which at least provides some indicators of the current state of gender equality.

Some forms of gender based discrimination have been eradicated (like early marriage) but some other still exist. Even when women (and men) face discrimination they do not file complaints. On the other hand available case law shows that courts are able to respond to discrimination claims and in most cases apply the law correctly. However, little has been done to bridge this gap between practice and available remedies.


Katarina Tadic Sat 7 Apr 2018 8:38AM

Thank you, Adnan, for providing us with this important information.Hope others will join the discussion.


Zvijezdana Fri 6 Apr 2018 1:56PM

Dear all,

Firstly, thank you for inviting Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly into online consultation on status of women’s human rights in Western Balkan region.
Regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina, yesterday I already submitted in the document section brief analysis under title: “Women's priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina” and this analysis covers important issues regarding gender perspective in European integration processes and we have submitted this brief analysis on several occasions to member of European Union delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to summarize women’s priorities in the accession processes.
Secondly, I am now submitting two other documents: Alternative answers of civil society organizations to the questionnaire of European Commission, created by the Initiative for monitoring the European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina (it is a coalition of more than 40 CSOs from Bosnia and Herzegovina), where in these shadow answers we have examined and prioritized questions related to protection of human rights and rule of law.

The second document is Shadow report to CEDAW Committee 2013-2017 regarding the status of implementation of CEDAW Convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This report is quite comprehensive, and intersectional because it covers all the articles and aspects of the implementation of the Convention in BiH.

I will probably add some more, but this is just for the beginning here.

Hope you will find these documents useful in mapping the current situation regarding gender issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region.

Looking forward for all of the discussions.

Warm regards,
Zvijezdana Marković, Helsinki Citizens‘ Assembly Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Katarina Tadic Sat 7 Apr 2018 8:40AM

Thank you, Zvijezdana! These reports are certainly useful for collecting available data and research on each country.


Adnan Kadribasic Sat 7 Apr 2018 10:12AM

I would also recommend these two publications:
1.the GENDER ANALYSIS REPORT FOR BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA which provides a detailed insight on gender inequalities in many sectors and
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Gender Disparities in Endowments, Access to Economic Opportunities and Agency which mainly focuses on the labor market


Ani Ruci Mon 9 Apr 2018 9:21PM

Hello to everyone!
Thanks a lot for giving this possibility to share the situation in our countries regarding the gender issues in the frame work of the upcoming London Summit.
The point is the contribution of women in the Western Balkans in the implementation of the Berlin Process agenda and concretely in the above mentioned summit priorities. What hinder women in Albania to unfold their potentials and contribute let me say in economic stability or reconciliation process or digitization is their status characterized by gender inequality and discrimination and gender based violence. The rate of unemployment is 15,2 % for men and 17,1% for women according to the Progress Report 2016 by EU- in the coming week, on April 17th we will see updated data in the Progress Report 2017. Meanwhile the gender gap in labor market is 20.9 %. Women empowerment
is crucial in all our region. It's crucial as well to see tangible results in reducing gender based violence and build up the appropriated infrastructure to make laws real and applicable. We all are aware the gender inequality and discrimination are common "illness" of our societies. I do hope the documents I am providing enclosed would help toward the identification of the gender issues to be presented in the London Summit. Best, Ani Ruci, Executive Director, Refleksione, Women Association.


Jeton Tue 10 Apr 2018 8:41AM

Dear all
I would like to share with you some recent studies made by GAP Institute from Prishtina regarding policies that contribute to gender inequality in Kosovo. There is evidence that suggest that women are very little represented at the managerial level of public companies. While the EU is thinking of putting a 40% gender quota at the managerial level of public companies, women in Kosovo constitute less than 15%. Women are also less represented in high level positions in the civil service at the governmental level, making only up to 5%. The situation in local governmental level is worse. Besides political factors, our studies show that there are certain policies that lead to gender discrimination in Kosovo. The London Summit would be a great opportunity to address some of them.
Best regards, Jeton Mehmeti, Research Director, GAP Institute


Sneska Tue 10 Apr 2018 8:55AM

Dear all - I am adding two more publications regarding gender equality in Macedonia.
The first one is about women's political participation on local level and factors that contribute towards the lack of inclusion of women in the politics. The second publication is a Shadow report on the implementation of the Strategy for Gender Equality and the National Action Plan for Gender Equality for 2015.