By not accepting the amendments to the Law on the Council of Ministers of BiH on the session that took place on 24th of May, political parties clearly showed us what they think about gender equality.
But first, let’s take few steps back.
During the last year Sarajevo Open Centre conducted two studies about gender equality and political participation of women. We wanted to present curent situation and different models for improvements. Our final goal was to present models that would lead to reaching minimal 40% representation of men and women in state bodies. We wanted to achieve this change through amendments to the laws that regulate elections and the appointment of the governments.
International obligations, as well as the provisions of Gender Equality Law of BiH (Article 20), clearly determine that every representation under 40% is unequal and discriminatory. In September 2015 with the support of Agency for Gender Equality, we presented our models at the thematic session of the Committee for Gender Equality of the PA BiH House of Representatives. Although we knew that our proposals are ambitious, we believed that the change is possible. Committee for Gender Equality accepted our proposals and forwarded the amendments to the Electoral Law of BiH and amendments to the Law on the Council of Ministers of BiH into the parliamentary procedure.
The amendments to the Electoral Law would introduce 50% gender quota for the electoral lists, with an equal number of male and female candidates listed interchangeably. This proposal did not pass the first reading in April 2016.
The amendments to the Law on the Council of Ministers of BiH passed the first reading. The proposal in these amendments was to introduce 40% gender quota for the BiH Council of Ministers. We believed that gender equality in executive branch was as good as done. We have to point out that in the past two mandates (2006-2010 and 2010-2014) we had no female ministers.
However, political parties sent us a strong and clear message. By not accepting the amendments to the Law on the Council of Ministers of, they assured us that there is no place for equality in politics, that politics is misogynistic and patriarchal power game. We must wake up from the pink dreams and find new ways of fighting.