Yesterday at the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations in Washington, a panel discussion dedicated to the status of women in BiH was held.
Dijana Duvnjak, member of the Executive Board of the America-Bosnia Foundation, presented an overview of the position of women in our society. Along with Duvnjak, Renata Stuebner of the United States Institute for Peace and Elizabeth Sullivan of the U.S. State Department’s Office for Global Women’s Issues participated in the panel discussion. The moderator was CTR Senior Fellow Susan Ness. The panel opened with an address by Ambassador of BiH in the United States Jadranka Negodic.
In her welcoming remarks, Negodic gave an overview of the situation for women in BiH society today, and said in both politics and work, women are not adequately represented; however, she emphasized her diplomatic engagement as one positive example.
In her presentation, Duvnjak demonstrated that women in BiH face similar problems to women elsewhere, but they have specific barriers linked with societal opportunities characterized by a patriarchal post-war society.
BiH has a good institutional platform for promoting gender equality and legislation that has the space to recognize women’s human rights, but what needs to be done is education for women in the sense of recognizing their rights and opportunities.
The America-Bosnia Foundation in this sense officially announced on the panel the organization of an international conference in Sarajevo at the end of 2013, which with its partners will work on improving the position of women in BiH society, with a mission to empower young women in taking leading roles in business, politics, and the public sphere. The conference will feature participants from the U.S., our region, and representatives of countries of North Africa, with the aim of establishing partnership relations and supporting the processes of democratization in these countries, with special focus on the countries of North Africa.
Renata Stuebner in her address emphasized the importance of raising awareness of gender equality, beginning with the family, where women must start with education of their own children, so future generations are born into a more equal society.
Elizabeth Sullivan participated in the panel on behalf of the U.S. State Department, which, led by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when it comes to women’s issues, supports the idea of improving the status of women, and emphasized that all countries have similar problems in fulfilling human and women’s rights.
Panel moderator Susan Ness from the Center for Transatlantic Relations, the hosts of the event, was pleased that a discussion was held dedicated to this serious problem, the problem of equality and the status of women in BiH, and congratulated the America-Bosnia Foundation on its initiative and presentation.