It is important to empower women and strive to ensure their financial independence

Irena Hadžiabdić, member of the BiH CEC/CIK, spoke to UN Women on importance of initiatives to prevent violence against women and ensure financial independence.

Irena Hadžiabdić is a member of the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also presided over this institution in two terms: January 2010 - September 2011 and January 2017 - October 2018. She is an election expert. She spoke at a number of professional and scientific conferences and workshops and authored many publications and articles about elections. She promotes gender equality in election processes and has actively advocated for greater participation of women in political and public spheres in BiH. She spoke about these topics in her short interview for UN Women and emphasized the importance of initiatives to prevent violence against women and to empower women to become financially independent.

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

A good legal framework for elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina does not guarantee sufficient representation of women in all areas of public and political life.

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

One of the most important events in terms of human rights and gender equality is the first Pride Parade in BiH. Also, the success of Azra Dedić, a young woman with Down syndrome who won a gold medal at in international competition proves that inclusion, persistence, patience and will can overcome all obstacles. She is my champion.

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?

All initiatives are equally important. Personally, I find particularly significant all activities to prevent violence against women and initiatives to empower women through education, training and helping them engage and secure their financial independence.

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

I would introduce a rule that a less represented gender must be first on the list of candidates for compensation mandates. In addition, I would increase the budgetary allocations (which currently stand at 10%) for political parties with more elected women candidates.

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?

There are only three political parties led by women on the current political scene in BiH. That is a challenge, as well as an opportunity to be used.

Written by
Masha Durkalić
Communications Associate
UN Women
UN Women