Women, peace and security





Research „Women, Peace and Security“ was conducted within the Project „Integration of Gender Equality Principles in Local Communities“ which has been implemented since 2012 and financially supported by UN Women. Association of Citizens „Forum žena“ Bratunac in partnership with Association „HO HORIZONTI“ Tuzla implement this Project in two municipalities in Republika Srpska (Srebrenica and Bratunac) and two municipalities in Federation of BiH (Lukavac and Kalesija). Project aims to support implementation of UNSCR 1325 Action Plan in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2010-2013, its goals and recommendations, more precisely increased participation of women in decision making positions at all levels of authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bearing in mind that the Project points out to identify and respond to the needs of women in rural areas, one of project activities is research on attitudes of women about issues of peace and security. The research comprised 400 women (100 women per each targeted municipality) and shows the real position of women in targeted municipalities regarding peace and security issues. Moreover, it provides insight into the problems of female population from the rural areas related to access to health and psycho-social services, reproductive health and protection from domestic violence, etc. Only adult women were interviewed (46.5% in the age group of 18-35 and 53.5% in the age group of 36-70), out of which 70.75% are married, 13.75% are single, 3% are divorced and 11.75% are widows.

The analysis of the households shows that majority of women in rural areas still lives in multi-member communities, and only one family member is employed in 42% of households. Out of total number of interviewees, 51% reported seasonal jobs as the main way to earn income. This is especially represented in areas of Srebrenica and Bratunac municipalities. Only 20.75% of interviewees stated that they have sufficient funds for living.

We have identified availability of public transportation, drinking water and medical services as basic services for the research purposes. The analyses showed that nearly half of the observed population does not have elementary services available, which are necessary to meet basic living needs.

Given the fact that the research was conducted in rural areas, it is not surprising that 74% of interviewed women live in their own house, but only ¼ of the interviewees actually owns the house.

The research showed that women are poorly informed about decision making methods in their local communities and are mainly inactive in general. Namely, 71.5% of interviewed women do not know who brings decisions on important issues in their local community, and only 6.25% of women have participated in work of local community.

61.25% of interviewees have affirmatively responded to question whether they feel safe in their local community. Among 38.75% women who have responded that they do not feel safe, 17.14% of them stated that economic insecurity is the reason for that. As for other reasons, 15.57% of them stated the reason is large number of pariah dogs, 17.14% stated the lack of street lighting and 36% stated the increase of crime activity.

Women who participated in the research have proposed the following measures for improvement of safety in their community: improved police services (42.31%), improved employment opportunities (23.72%) and improved street lighting (19.87%).

According to women interviewed, for the majority of them (43.75%) peace means provision of elementary living needs. As the term of security concerns, 62.5% women means economic security, while 26% of women have stated it means freedom of movement and speech for them, and 11.5% stated that it means safety.

Although Bosnia and Herzegovina is predominantly rural country with almost half of population lives in rural areas and women are vital factor of demographic revival of rural areas, our analyses evidently points out that these women still live in very poor conditions, thus they are informatively and economically very isolated with almost no possibilities to create local policies. All of these facts are very demoralizing and if realistic needs of this population are not considered, there is no strategy and/or action plan to be implemented to full extent.

All of the above illustrate necessity to primarily improve standard and conditions of living in rural areas, that can be achieved through more active participation of rural population in decision making processes.