The Election system of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be characterized as a system of average harmonization in regard to enhancement of women’s participation. The applicable quota is ensuring that women are placed in candidate lists and it envisages the rule on ranging and percentage that is now 40%. However, the quota does not guarantee real equality especially in a sense of ensuring opportunities for women to make good election result. Data on local elections in 2008 and 2012 are pointing out that women were only in 10% of cases the first names on the lists and they constituted 85% of names for the mandates assigned for less represented gender. There is still lack of understanding of this concept, the statutes of political parties are containing provisions on combating discrimination or general promotion of gender equality, and the implementation of provisions in reality remains poor. There is a need in supporting the implementation of public policies in the area of gender equality and to analyze the influence of social development on women in political life of BiH as well as to exterminate specific forms of discrimination based on gender. Having in mind that influence of women elected in legislative bodies is important precondition for achieving aims on gender equality and empowerment of women, the BiH Agency for Gender Equality ) in co-operation with the OSCE Mission to BiH has started with implementation of the Project Party Allegiance to Gender Equality through the period of 15 March to 15 October 2014.
The main aim of the Project is promotion of women’s participation in political and public life by ensuring: i) increased visibility of 400 women candidates in the 2014 elections within their political parties and during the election campaign, and ii) ensuring public support by BiH parliamentarians, politicians, leaders and ambassadors for women's participation in political and public life. The Project will include 8 workshops for 50 women – candidates from 8 election units in BiH (5 from the Federation of BiH and 3 from the Republika Srpska) and the workshops will include some of 400 women – candidates. Wwomen – candidates will be addressed by trainers from the Agency, representatives of Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and respected ambassadors in BiH. The Project will support women – candidates in the 2014 electoral campaign and it will empower the role of women in their political parties. Earlier in May 2014 the Agency has sent out the Pledge on Party Allegiance to Gender Equality that provides signatories to promote gender equality in the election campaigns i.e. to respect the principles of gender equality and balanced participation of women and men on the election lists. According to the Pledge it will be expected that the parties – signatories during the campaign and especially after the elections, nominate and define the priorities, policies in respect to the principles that they have previously determined.
The Project aims to point out that political parties need to work consistently on empowering and promoting the active women’s participation in political activities in the parties in order to achieve equal representation in the top of hierarchy of political decision making and with this to encourage women to take over social roles of equal importance in political and public life.