"Women in politics - for sustainable and long-term oriented changes"

Gender equality is cross cutting issue in all Vesta program interventions and in particularly in the area of the political and decision making structures and processes. The project "Women in politics - for sustainable and long-term oriented changes" that addresses the gender issue in the political sphere is implemented by the Vesta Association , with the generous support of the American people through the United States Embassy in Sarajevo.

Participation of women in the political life is a confirmation of legitimacy of the political process and respect of differences as a paradigm of a modern democratic society. Discouraging data is evident from the BH general elections 2010, according to which women represent 17,35% of elected representatives in House of representatives of the FBiH Parliament, 21,69% in People's assembly Republika Srpska and 19,05% in House of representatives of the BiH Parliamentary assembly. One of the most frequent explanations of the lower representation of women in politics is their alleged lack of interest in politics, as well as their failure to identify themselves with the interest of the prevailing politics. When it comes to the participation of women in the political life, one of the key factors limiting their serious engagement is, according to various researches undertaken in BiH by local and international organisations are; the lack of time women have at their disposal, their traditional family roles, as well as the lack of social networks which are an important prerequisite for success in the electoral processes, which are far better developed amongst men. Women are, further, faced with the pressure from the public and society which places them under scrutiny, placing on them expectations and standards which are much higher than those placed before their male colleagues. It has been observed that men mostly vote for men, while women, due to their personal and collective attitudes and accepted stereotypes that ‘women’s place is not in politics’, as well as possible influence of their husbands, also give their vote to men

The project “Women in politics - for sustainable and long-term oriented changes” aims to contribute to the increased awareness about the importance of women’s participation in the political scene of the FBiH primarily, and promotes equal opportunities in the access to power and decision making processes in the light of the up-coming general elections in October 2014.

The core activities of the project are based on the extensive advocacy campaign which started in July 2014 with messages highlighting equal rights, full resources mobilization and interest-based representation of women.

The PR campaign involves dissemination of the Products at 3 TV, 5 Radio stations and 5 portals, reaching approximately 500.000 citizens/potential voters; and preparation and convening of the topical conference: “Women in politics - for sustainable long-term oriented changes” involving 70-100 relevant participants.

The advocacy campaign is focused at:

• Increased public awareness about importance of the equal opportunities for women participation in the political life as a voluble asset for development of the contributing to the to a democratic and just society,

• Created positive and favourable climate for the upcoming elections and an increase in women’s participation among elected officials through the PR campaign targeting minimum 500.000 citizens of the FBiH and BiH.