Let us create an environment of unlimited opportunities for all

Adnan Kadribašić, a jurist, feminist, and a gender equality expert, spoke to UN Women on the importance of legal frameworks and shattering gender stereotypes.

Adnan Kadribašić is a jurist, a feminist, and a gender equality expert. He has participated in numerous activities, studies and policy development in the area of human rights, gender equality and anti-discrimination. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, he spoke to UN Women about the importance of shattering of gender stereotypes, as one of the important steps towards gender equality; and the need to improve the legal framework in BiH, in order to offer optimal solutions to both women and men.

What are your thoughts about the current situation of women’s rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

I think we can be moderately optimistic about the situation of women’s rights, or gender equality in BiH. Owing to the efforts of many stakeholders, the country has seen progress almost in all areas, albeit accompanied by new challenges too. Speaking of challenges, I would underline femicide as one of the most drastic consequences of violence against women and domestic violence.

What success stories would you highlight in the area of women’s rights in BiH in the past year?

I would highlight the increase in the number of women delegates in cantonal assemblies after the 2019 General Election. This achievement has almost gone unnoticed. In average, we have seen an increase by almost 100%, so currently there are over 31% elected women delegates. Almost an equal number of women and men were elected in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton. That is the first assembly to achieve equal representation. I believe we should celebrate these stories. Every step towards gender equality counts.

Can you give us a positive example (or more!) of an initiative, a group or an individual who have made significant progress in the area of women’s rights in BiH?

I would certainly underline the two Cantonal Gender Action Plans adopted in the Central Bosnia Canton and the Sarajevo Canton. It is surely not a coincidence that both GAPs were adopted upon the initiative of two women delegates in the two Cantons which saw a significant increase in the representation of women, their current share exceeding 40%. I know that new documents are pending for adoption in two other cantons, which will provide foundation for a systemic action towards gender equality.

What would you do to improve women’s rights in BiH?

In the long term, I would focus more on countering stereotypes in our society. There have already been some great initiatives changing the discourse on gender roles of men and women. I would say that the best way to achieve that goal is to promote the women and men challenging such predefined roles of women and men, as well as boys and girls. It seems that the public sees only figures, rather than actual change made by these people in their micro-communities. I would promote women in IT, men in preschool education, women on physically demanding jobs, men on parental leave taking care of their children, girls in IT and boys caring of the elderly.

In the short term, I would work to rectify current deficiencies in our legal system. I would strengthen the system of parental leave allowances for fathers and mothers, increase the capacities for preschool education and create a legal framework for flexible working arrangements better suited to parents.

How would you encourage other members of our society to work towards women’s rights and to contribute to gender equality? What would be your message to them?

Let us create an environment in which both women and men, both boys and girls, will be able to use their opportunities without limitations imposed by predefined gender roles. Let us lead by example and be the change in our community!

(Photo Credit: Vlado Czubak) 

Written by
Masha Durkalić
Communications Associate
UN Women
UN Women