Traditionally, for the third year in a row, the University of Mostar participates in the “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” campaign, which aims to raise awareness and prevent violence against women for the benefit of society as a whole.

The campaign started at the Faculty of Agriculture, with a lecture on Eating disorders and feminism. The students of the Nutrition department discussed beauty standards that are imposed on women and can result in eating disorders, among which anorexia and bulimia are the most common.

The devastating data is that every fifth adult woman, during her lifetime, is a victim of physical violence at least once, while every tenth woman is a victim of sexual violence. Therefore, through the campaign “16 days of activism against gender-based violence”, students, professors and staff of the University of Mostar have the opportunity to exchange experiences, encourage changes and support gender equality at the University of Mostar, said Prof. Davorka Topić Stipić, Ph.D, coordinator of the UNIGEM project at the University of Mostar.

This year’s campaign included activities and lectures such as: “Deactivation of gender stereotypes in selection situations”, “Glass ceiling in the career world?”, “Sexist humor or “just kidding”, “Gender norms in romantic relationships”, “One purple day – photoframe and purple ribbons”, “Workshop – gender stereotypes” and many others.

Also, the University of Mostar has established the Council for Gender Equality and the Advisory Council for Gender Equality, which are available to all students, professors and employees who experience any type of violence.

In the lobby of the Faculty of Philosophy, an information stand called “Purple Day” was organized as a sign of support for women who are victims of violence. Purple ribbons, information on violence against women and promotional material could be found at the stand.

At the Faculty of Law, Department of Criminology, the lecture “Deactivation of gender stereotypes in selection situations” was held, where they looked at gender stereotypes that are often activated when it comes to typically female or typically male occupations and how to remove the prejudices we have towards them.

The workshop “Gender Norms in Romantic Relationships” was held at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy, where the students worked on the popular issue of who should take the first step in a romantic relationship. The students found the workshop interesting because it is a topic that is close to them and with which they can identify firsthand, but on the other hand, they were able to learn about the concepts of gender norms and stereotypes.

At the Faculty of Economics, a lecture was held on the “Glass ceiling in the career world”, considering that the essence of the glass ceiling is discrimination against women in management. The glass ceiling affects women regardless of their level of education, experience and skills and is viewed in such a way that women’s career progression should be considered.

In order to maintain the students’ interest in the many activities that were carried out, a Film Day was also organized where they had the opportunity to watch the film Alice Darling, a psychological thriller about a woman who escapes from an abusive relationship and struggles with her independence.

The “Gaslighting” workshop was held at the Faculty of Philosophy. The participants of the workshop were introduced to the basic concept and ways in which gaslighting appears. They also had the opportunity to learn about the concept of violent and non-violent communication and through interaction with the lecturers to practice the use of non-violent communication.

With the cooperation of a student from the Faculty of Law, a lecture was held on the topic of “Femicide” in the legal framework, that is, it was explained how femicide is viewed in the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and where there are areas for improvement of current practices.

A workshop called “Sexist humor or just kidding” was held at the Faculty of Natural, Mathematical and Educational Sciences, together with students of Kinesiology. The goal was to introduce young students to the concepts of sexism and sexist humor and to provide guidelines on how to avoid and prevent this type of humor.

The campaign was closed at the Faculty of Philosophy, where the last topic was “(Not) justifying violence against women in Christianity and Islam”. The historical aspect of violence against women through two different religions was discussed, as well as a comparison with the 21st century and recent events.

The students’ response to all the activities was excellent. Defending against gender stereotypes by maintaining some strict rules and regulations against unprofessional actions in organizations is a good start in the fight against gender stereotypes.