Activities of Sarajevo Open Centre’s Women’s Rights Program in 2018: We demand minimum 40% of women in Governments

Through the past year, Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC), as an independent feminist civil society organization, worked intensively on achieving goals that include empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) people and women through community empowerment and activist movement building.

Through the Women’s Rights Program that works on advocacy, education and cultural activities, SOC encouraged positive changes in the struggle for women’s rights and the suppression of gender-based discrimination, both in the community and at the institutional level.

In the previous mandate (2014 – 2018), approximately 20% of women were represented in the executive bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the government of the Zeničko-dobojski Canton was appointed without any female ministers. Since this is a violation of the Gender Equality Law in BiH, according to which state bodies are obliged to ensure equal representation of the sexes (at least 40% of persons of both sexes in decision-making positions), at the end of 2018, Sarajevo Centre sent requests to the representatives of all newly formed assemblies and parliaments for respecting Gender Equality Law in appointing governments.

Women’s human rights can be strengthened only with the existence of a responsible, trustworthy, pro-active state. Therefore, with the implementation of advocacy and lobbying actions at national, European and international level (based on monitoring activities), the SOC, either alone or with its partners, in the previous year pointed to the application of existing laws and policies and demanded the adoption of new, necessary legislative measures. One of the interests of citizens of BiH, which must be respected, is certainly the equal representation of men and women in decision-making places. In addition, a government where no relevant number of ministers is represented cannot be legitimate or representative.

The Gender Equality Law in BiH provides the prohibition of discrimination against women, which can be manifested through language. In many European countries, there is a practice of using gender sensitive language in government institutions to avoid discrimination against women and promote gender equality, and it is also used in the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH since 2013.

SOC actively worked on forming a working group for amendments to the legal regulations in the Parliament of the Federation on BiH for the use of gender sensitive language in drafting legal regulations, rules of procedure, in official communication, internal acts and materials, as well as the appointment of professions and professions in the Parliament.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is still the only country in the region that does not have a law on biomedically assisted fertilization at all levels of government, and patients are left to the mercy of private clinics, which cannot be compared to state clinics.

Certain progress was achieved in March 2018, when the Government of the Federation of BiH established the Proposal of the Law on infertility Treatment with Biomedically Assisted Fertilization. The implementation of this law would enable all couples, regardless of material status, creditworthiness or canton in which they live in procedures for biomedically assisted fertilization. However, the most recent Government Proposal does not include many comments / improvements included in the analysis published in January 2018 by the Sarajevo Open Centre.

In this publication, authored by Indiana Husić Šabanović, a comparative analysis of the previous proposals for the Law on Biomedically Assisted Fertilization in FBiH (those that exist since 2013) was made – proposals by the Government and the proposal of the SDP. The SOC will definitely continue advocating advancement of the existing law, as well as harmonizing the regulation of biomedically-assisted fertilization throughout BiH. You can read more about these requirements in the publication available on the following link: