FACT SHEET: Empowering Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fully including women across society is critical to U.S. foreign policy objectives and imperative for the economic growth and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Women are important as agents of peace, reconciliation, economic development, and stability. Although BiH has made progress in promoting gender equality through legal and institutional frameworks, many BiH women still face numerous challenges to achieving full political, economic, and social participation for themselves and their families. The economic status of BiH women remains low, and women are largely absent from national and local decision-making bodies.
 
USAID addresses gender equality in BiH through its democracy and governance and economic growth programs. Some of these programs are described below.
 
Women’s Political Participation 
 
• The Political Processes Support program will increase women’s political participation at the local and national level to develop a cadre of women leaders in the community by providing training on how to run for office and engage in politics.  
• The Strengthening Accountability of Women and Young Political Leaders project encourages women to take a more active role in public and political life in BiH by participating in the elections as a voter or candidate and being politically active in the communities in which they live. 
 
Gender Equality in the Rule of Law
 
• The Justice Sector Development Project develops transparent merit- and performance-based criteria in the procedures for appointing judges and prosecutors, which is expected to increase the number of female appointees in judicial positions.   
 
Women’s Entrepreneurship and Other Employment Opportunities 
• The Growth-Oriented Local Development project promotes economic opportunities for women through activities that include gender sensitivity training programs for municipal offices and target women municipal staff and women-owned enterprises in capacity building programs. 
• The Fostering Interventions for Rapid Market Advancement project promotes increased employ-ment and labor participation rates for women in the wood, metal, and tourism sectors. More than 25% of the project’s company beneficiaries are led by women.
• The Student Entrepreneurship program encourages young women and men to build their futures in BiH by helping university students develop ideas for their own companies with a cash award and other assistance to those with the best business plans.
 
Women’s Role in Agriculture 
 
• The Fostering Agricultural Markets Activity project improves the competitiveness of women in the BiH agricultural sector through a series of trainings specifically targeting women entrepreneurs and women-led agricultural groups.
• The USAID-supported Women’s Business Network helps BiH women improve the management of their enterprises. 
 
For more information:
Ela Challenger, Deputy Director
USAID/BiH Program Office 
Tel: +387 (0) 33 704 211
 

Last updated: January 22, 2014

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