Bosnia and Herzegovina

Photo: Imrana Kapetanovic
Photo: Imrana Kapetanovic

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a middle income country with an estimated 3.8 million inhabitants. The 1992-1995 war devastated the country. Enormous post-war changes – reconstruction, economic and social recovery and a shift to a market economy – upset gender relations and decreased women’s access to employment and resources. To this day, the needs of the survivors of sexual violence in the 1992-1995 war have not been satisfactorily addressed. 

Today, women in Bosnia and Herzegovina have one of the region’s lowest economic activity rates, and live a precarious reality: Disproportionately subject to violence, they have limited access to employment and face deep-rooted patriarchal stereotypes that marginalise them and exclude them from political and decision-making processes. Roma women, in particular, are severely disadvantaged and marginalised. 

UN Women has been in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2008 when it set up a project office that was strengthened to a Country Office with a resident representative in 2013. Our work for gender equality and women’s empowerment focuses on three main areas:

UN Women supports Bosnia and Herzegovina as it adopts global standards to achieve gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services to implement these standards. 

In addition, we work closely with our UN, NGO and civil society partners to develop future interventions. UN Women launched an International Gender Working Group, a platform where embassies and international organizations exchange information about their work on gender equality and the empowerment of women and their activities in the country. 

UN Women also chairs the UN Country Team’s UN Results Group on the empowerment of women, which coordinates joint UN efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina on economic and political empowerment and preventing violence against women and girls.

Featured publication

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Prevalence and characteristics of violence against women in BiHThe first of its kind, this study explores the prevalence of private and community forms of violence against women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where partner and domestic violence cases have long been viewed as a private family matter and many times remain unreported. More

See more publications from Bosnia and Herzegovina here.

In Bosnia, story-tellers prized for their empowering prose

“When you are self-confident, you know that those demeaning you because of your gender are ignorant and then they cannot get to you. If you believe in yourself and you are independent you can deal with such people. It is easier for you to fight for your rights if they are being violated. …” - the winner of a UN Women short-story competition. Read excerpts from other competition winners. Read more »

See more news from Bosnia and Herzegovina here.