UNIGEM research promoted at the University of Banja Luka

At the University of Banja Luka (UNBL) on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, the promotion of the publication “Challenges of integrating gender equality in the university community: Against gender-based violence”, edited by Zilka Spahić Šiljak, Jasna Kovačević, and Jasmina Husanović, was held. The publication brings the results of a regional survey, the first one in the field of gender equality at universities, which included partner institutions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Serbia of the “University and Gender Mainstreaming – UNIGEM” project, which is carried out by the TPO Foundation and is supported by the United Kingdom Government.

The UNIGEM project aims to introduce gender equality in higher education through the development of gender-conscious policies and the sensitization of teaching and administrative staff and the student population regarding the topics of gender-based violence and sexual harassment.

As a basis for the implementation of the UNIGEM research, a series of questionnaires and interviews were conducted at partner universities and included 4,754 respondents, including teaching and administrative staff, and students of various scientific fields. The research was designed by a team consisting of: Zilka Spahić Šiljak, Jasna Kovačević, Jasmina Husanović, Ajla Demiragić, Milena Karapetrović, Mirjana Dokmanović, Merima Jašarević, Lana Bobić and Marija Tatar.

The promoters of research in Banja Luka were prof. Ph.D.. Zorana Kovačević, professor at the Faculty of Philology UNBL, prof. Ph.D. Dalibor Kesić, vice-rector for human and material resources, and Dario Stanković, senior expert associate for public relations at UNIBL,  who was in charge of moderating and presenting the research chapters. During the promotion, the basic results of the research and the importance of changing the culture towards gender (in)equality in the academic community were presented, with a special focus on the chapter on the gender mainstreaming of curricula by authors Dženana Radončić and Karolina Lendak-Kabok.

The promotion was also attended by research editors prof. Ph.D. Zilka Spahić Šiljak and prof. Ph.D. Jasna Kovačević, and the author of the chapter on the importance of institutionalizing gender policy, Prof. Ph.D. Milena Karapetrović, professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, UNBL. Looking back at the research process itself, the editors highlighted the challenges they encountered while conducting the interviews, among which the most prominent phenomenon was that more information was shared in the informal part of the conversation compared to the formal recorded part, which indicates to us that there is a culture of silence about gender-based violence in the academic community.