Economic empowerment of women through inclusive political dialogue

May 31, 2023

UNDP, in close cooperation with the Agency for Gender Equality of Bosnia and Herzegovina organised an inclusive policy dialogue on ways to improve the visibility and recognition of women's needs in relation to economic policies and their participation in entrepreneurship. The dialogue was organized within UNDPs Women's Forum for Development project dedicated to empowering women and advancing their socio-economic position in society.

The goal of the high-level policy dialogue, which was organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is to improve the implementation of legislation through a dialogue with experts, decision makers, representatives of civil society organizations, governmental and non-governmental institutions, to discuss concrete measures that can economically empower women and improve their position in entrepreneurship, and issue recommendations for future action.

Steliana Nedera, UNDP Resident Representative in BiH, presented the findings of UNDP's research and the women's empowerment programmes, stressing the need for continuous social dialogue on this topic. Mrs. Nedera also expressed the hope that today's discussion will provide answers about which measures, and policies would most effectively increase the participation of women in the labour market and encourage women entrepreneurship. "Throughout our entire involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the economic and political empowerment of women is at the very top of our priorities. This includes support for the Coalition for Dignified Work of the Forum of Women for Development, creation of concrete opportunities for retraining and employment, mentoring initiatives, as well as work with the BiH Agency for Gender Equality on the Gender Equality Seal, which transforms the culture and practice of companies and public institutions by including gender equality in every aspect of their business and eliminating the gender pay gap. In all these and other activities, UNDP listens to the needs of citizens and continues to work in partnership with everyone," said Nedera. It is important, she added, to work together with all actors of politics, economy and society, but also to improve social support for women.

Steliana Nedera, UNDP Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director of the BiH Agency for Gender Equality of the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, Samra Hadžiabdić-Filipović, considers it very important to work on the economic empowerment of women in BiH. Our laws are very good, she stressed, even among the best, but law enforcement lags behind because the number of women participating in the labour market is very small, and we are last in Europe in this regard.

"Therefore, all together, we need to work more proactively on implementing affirmative measures with view of increasing the number of women on the labour market. First of all, we need to start activities in the care economy, because we know that women are the ones who mainly take care of the family, children and the elderly, and our social services are inadequate. Women have no support to become active in the labour market," said Hadžiabdić-Filipović.

There are a number of measures that can improve the situation on a fast track, she added, and the easiest being the introduction of flexible working hours, part-time work, and measures for self-employment.

Samra Hadžiabdić-Filipović, Director of the BiH Agency for Gender Equality of the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees

Accordingly, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Adnan Delić, said that, considering the fact that there are a large number of women in the bureau who fall into the difficult-to-employ category, it is necessary to adopt measures aimed at economically empowering women.

"We plan to create a "family fund" from which the material and immaterial rights of the family, and therefore of the woman, who is the foundation of our family, will be drawn. We want to equalize the rights of women - with maternity benefits, to ensure adequate payment of alimony, adequate child allowance. These are all measures that affect the empowerment of women in the family and in society," said Minister Delić.

He expressed the hope that he will be able to push for creation of the law and this fund as soon as possible, because the goal is to create adequate programs that will integrate women in society, such as programs for women's employment, retraining, and further education. Another aspect is the birth policy, which refers to the status of women in society and the family.

Adnan Delić, Minister of Labour and Social Policy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Today's meeting of UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina was organized within the framework of their Women's Forum for Development project, and applies the principle of "gender equality in elected positions" in order to contribute to the construction of a stimulating environment for increasing the number of women in all spheres of decision-making and economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.