ICLD

Study says: Obstacles to reach gender equality

05 December 2018

For the last seventeen years, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have been striving to institutionalize gender equity and equality.
This has been achieved by developing legal and policy frameworks, establishing institutional gender mainstreaming mechanisms and engendering national statistical institutions.
“Despite the advanced institutionalization of gender issues, the lives of women have not significantly improved during this period,” says professor Annika Björkdahl and Lejla Somun-Kruoalija, independent researcher, in a recently published study.

The Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) conducted a study on the efforts to turn the global goal SDG#5 into local policies and practice at a municipal level in Bosnia-Herzegovina. SDG#5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The aim of the research was to find answers to the following questions:

1) What supportive policy frameworks exist at the federal, entity, canton and municipal level to support the translation of SDG#5 into local practices at a municipal level?
2) Who are the actors involved in these processes at a municipal level?
3) What tools are available and how are they used to integrate SDG 5 at a municipal level?

Björkdahl and Somun-Kruoalija selected to research the local governments of Visoko Municipality, East Ilidža Municipality and Žepče Municipality to find out more about the impact of SDG#5 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The three municipalities have, over time, shown a political will to empower women and mainstream gender issues through their participation in local, regional, and national campaigns as well as in policy development processes and other activities.

Research shows that the main obstacle to implementing SDG#5 at a local level is that the SDG concept has not been translated from state level to that of local governance.
The study pointed out the most effective tools to implement SDG#5 in the municipalities, namely:
- Local Gender Action Plans
- Disaggregating municipal data by gender
- Municipal Council Committees for Gender Equality

To help municipalities, politicians, council members and other parties, a set of recommendations – a toolbox if you like – to implement SDG#5 is described in ICLD’s Policy Brief #3.
Institutional mechanisms: A guarantee that SDG#5 is integrated into government programs. However, once established they can easily become empty promises if they are not linked to a number of tools that will make them an integral part of legislative and executive bodies.
Change perception and behavior: This can be a challenging change to traditional and patriarchal norms. You must have tools in order to create an ongoing continuous process and a resource for knowledge.
Mainstreaming process: Collect data and information to map the status of access to resources and decisions made by women and men. Monitor and assess progress towards gender equality. Review citizens’ initiatives.
Cooperation: Enable open channels between non-governmental organizations and local authorities. It can be a crucial source of grassroots information. Also sharing experiences between national, regional and international frameworks is vital for sustainable mainstreaming gender equality.

Read more about how to implement SDG#5 on Gender Equality here:

Research shows that the main obstacle to implementing SDG#5 at a local level is that the SDG concept has not been translated from state level to that of local governance. Bild: Emanuel Garnheim, CC-BY-NC-ND