Gender mainstreaming at the University

In the course of May and June 2022, six educational workshops for non-teaching staff titled “Gender Mainstreaming Policies at the Organizational Units of the University of Sarajevo” were organised, as a part of the activities of the UNSA Gender Equality Council and the University Gender Resource Centre (UNIGeRC). These workshops were led by professors of the University of Sarajevo, members of the UNSA Council for Gender Equality. A total of 60 people from almost all UNSA organisational units received training. The 6th education was attended by representatives from the Music Academy, Institute for Research on Crimes against Humanity and International Law and Institute of History and Language Institute. This education was led by Prof. Dr. Ajla Demiragić (Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo), member of the UNSA Council for Gender Equality.

Beside the topics concerning the concept of gender-based violence at universities, participants were presented with the results of the regional UNIGEM survey that involved 18 public and private universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. On this occasion, the results of the survey regarding specifically the situation at UNSA were presented and it was shown how the following questions were answered: What do respondents (students, teachers and administrative staff) at universities know about gender and gender-based violence? How do respondents at universities generally perceive gender-based violence? How do women and men who have been subjected to gender-based violence react to it: do they report, do they seek psychological help, etc.? Do women and men who have been subjected to some form of gender-based violence understand the extent to which it affects their careers, their jobs, their way of dealing with colleagues? What prevention measures and protection mechanisms do they see as necessary and effective? What changes do they consider important in the organizational culture of the university and society in general? Some of the most important findings of the research are: Fairly poor understanding of the basic concepts such as gender and sex, i.e. over 50% of UNSA respondents believe that gender and sex have the same meaning; Fairly poor understanding of the term “sexism”: only 57% of respondents indicated that it was an insult based on gender/sex; Administrative staff frequently encounters a number of unsolicited comments, made directly: by phone, e-mail or SMS (over 40%). These forms of behaviour most often occurred in the faculty space. Also, the three relevant documents were discussed in detail: the UNSA Gender Action Plan, the Protocol on the treatment of sexual and sexually based harassment as a form of violence in the administrative bodies, public companies, public institutions and legal entities founded by Sarajevo Canton, and the Guidelines for the prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment, harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual characteristics at organisational units of the University of Sarajevo.

Education for teaching staff and students about these topics will continue in autumn 2022.

The education is organized as part of the project “The University and Gender Mainstreaming (UNIGEM)”. Project is supported by the UK Government and implemented by the TPO Foundation.