Empowering Women? An Assessment of International Gender Policies in Bosnia

Authored by: Vanessa Pupavac

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Economic Recovery, Human Development, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2005
Citation: Pupavac, Vanessa. "Empowering Women? An Assessment of International Gender Policies in Bosnia." International Peacekeeping 12, no. 3 (2005): 395-401. Accessed January 8, 2017.

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International policy-making promises to empower women in Bosnia through encouraging their participation in the political process, giving
them a voice in civil society and providing enhanced opportunities for economic independence. This essay challenges these claims, suggesting that while a narrow echelon of young middle-class urban professionals have benefited from international gender approaches, the prospects for ordinary Bosnian women have not improved. First, the essay considers international attempts to promote the political empowerment of women through quota mechanisms and support for women’s organizations operating in civil society. Secondly, it considers international policies intended to further the economic empowerment of women and how these relate to broader neo-liberal prescriptions for the post-war state. It concludes that international policies, in both the political and economic realms, contain fundamental limitations which look likely to frustrate the long-term advancement of women in Bosnia.