November 2011

Active Labor Measures promoted in the Federal Parliament

TPO Foundation's publication entitled Development of Measures for Active Labor Market with Specific Focus on Women Returnees by Besima Borić, chairperson of the Labor and Social Policy Board was promoted in the Federal Parliament at a special session of three parliamentary boards: Gender Equality, Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons, and Labor and Social Policy. Besima Borić presented the publication and Mrs. Velida Draško from the Federal Employment Bureau shared the most recent data on employment rates of women in the Federation. The chairpersons of the other two boards, Mrs. Slavica Josipović and Mrs. Katica Čerkez also stressed the importance of this issue and the necessity to work on the implementation of the proposed measures. Parliamentary representatives actively participated in the discussion and agreed on the importance of legislative amendments, lobbying in political parties, promoting the recommendations, and networking

to accelerate their implementation. Emina Abrahamsdotter opened the session and then gave the floor to Zilka Spahić-Šiljak, representing TPO Foundation, for her introductory remarks. The presentation Development of Measures for Active Labor Market with Specific Focus on Women Returnees followed and gave a brief overview of the state of affairs, measures that the publication proposes and recommendations for their implementation. The second presentation - Women's Employment in the Federation BiH tackled the most recent statistical data on women's employment in the Federation, special employment programs and the Social Inclusion of Women 40+ project, as well as problems generally encountered. When presentations ended, the floor was opened for discussion. The chairperson of the Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons Board, Slavica Josipović

stressed the importance of implementing the measures in practice and promoting wider participation of women in both private and public sectors. She also shared the idea of providing scholarships for young women returnees. Parliamentary representative Mira Grgić underlined the need to develop more manifold and subtle approaches in solving problems of women returnees as their situation is affected by a number of intertwined problems. She also said that more measures should be defined. The chairperson of the Gender Equality Board, Katica Čerkez, thanked the presenters and stated that the presentations provided a good overview and shared some good projects, and said that the message came through and there are numerous issues we now need to work on. She stressed the significance of legislative amendments, particularly their implementation. Other representatives actively participated in the discussion on topics such as state motivation in

solving these matters, insufficient awareness of women returnees about the existing projects and programs, and other features of their status. Hafeza Sabljaković proposed to form a parliamentary club to work together with the ministry on drafting women's employment strategy. Katica Čerkez stated that it might be a good idea to amend the law in order to include women above certain age in the pension system. Jasmina Zubić stressed that it is difficult to see any changes unless the accountability institute is introduced that would punish all those who fail to implement regulations. The representatives discussed the necessity of solving these problems and the lack of political will to do so. In the end, the recommendation was shared that all representatives should lobby their political parties to put these themes on the agenda so that solutions can finally be found. The media were present at the session.