Bosnia and Herzegovina

Home/Where we work/Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Home/Where we work/Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina

As part of the three-year Western Balkans Democracy Initiative, launched in September 2018, WFD is working to create an environment where women can participate meaningfully in politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Since the mid-1990s, WFD has supported several programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including ones that developed political party relationships through sister-party work and supported parliament to monitor the executive.

2014: year of first WFD programme
Context

Over 20 years since the end of the 1992-1995 conflict, the legacy of the war is still felt in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political institutions. The separation into two entities (the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska) because of the Dayton peace agreement has enabled ethnic divisions to remain embedded. Most political parties are divided along ethnic lines and politics tends to operate at the local rather than national level. Women, young people and ethnic minorities feel the impact of the past most strongly.

Advancing women's political participation

Women make up half the global population but are often excluded from decision-making that impacts on their lives. That’s why we are working to create more inclusive democratic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina by improving women’s opportunities to engage in public affairs and politics. As part of the Western Balkans Democracy Initiative, launched in 2019 this progamme will encourage links and communication between political parties and independent organisations concerned with women’s rights to promote gender-responsive policies. The programme will support inclusive governance by encouraging women to become politically active and improving their overall representation in government.

Promoting women in politics: local elections 2016

Between 2014 and 2016, WFD combined political party and institutional expertise to support women candidates ahead of the local elections. The programme sought to increase the profile of women in political discourse and engage the media, political parties, candidates and other interested groups such as students and citizens in municipalities to raise awareness of the vital contribution women can make to political life. Six of the main political parties engaged in the programme to  benefit more than 300 women candidates across Bosnia and Herzegovina. WFD’s approach addressed many of the challenges women face when running for a public office. Only through equitable representation of women in political structures, can the whole of society advance. WFD’s work has increased public awareness of gender equality issues, promoted fair representation in the media, and given women candidates the skills to run competitive election campaigns.

Country Data

Population:

Population:

3.5
Million
GDP:

GDP:

$16.9
Billion (US dollars)
GDI per capita:

GDI per capita:

$4,940
(USD)
Media freedom:

Media freedom:

51/100
(partly free)
Democracy index:

Democracy index:

55/100
(partly free)

Key Results

Increased exposure of women in mainstream media ahead of October 2016 elections
Communications and political campaigning skills of women candidates improved

Implementation

Western Balkans Democracy Initiative
Underway
Planned end: September 2021
Promoting women in politics
Underway
Planned end: March 2018

News

WFD campaign empowers women in elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Constitution and legal system of Bosnia and Herzegovina stipulate equality between women and men. However, gender inequalities are found across all social domains. Women are still underrepresented in politics, and particularly so in top positions and elected offices. When a country has a higher representation of women in politics, the effects are multi-fold, resulting […]

women participants of the mentorship programme in BiH

Young women politicians make strides towards equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Studies show that women’s political leadership results in better outcomes for women and girls, as well as for society as a whole, and delivers progress in policy areas vital for economic growth and development, such as health, education and infrastructure. Even without these quantifiable dividends, the argument for women’s political empowerment is irrefutable – democracy […]