Women in Bosnia's labour market are discriminated against primarily for being women, often being sexually harassed, prevented from being promoted and sacked for being pregnant, Lejla Gracanica wrote in her research on gender-based discrimination in the country's labour market, which was presented on Friday in Sarajevo, Radiosarajevo.ba reported.
“Employers are hiring workers who won't get pregnant, won't take sick-leave and who'll be able to work for 12 hours,” said Gacanica who conducted the research with the help of EU and the regional initiative for solving labour discrimination in the region.
The overall results are devastating, but the situation is no better in other countries, she pointed out, adding that despite having good laws, Bosnia's institutions “need to start doing their job.”
“This primarily refers to labour inspections which often say they are incompetent to deal with issues of discrimination and the Agency for Peaceful Resolution of Disputes in the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska who also claim they are not in charge of discrimination disputes,” Gacanica noted, adding that only then will it be possible to talk about harsher penalties.
Gianluca Vannini from the EU Delegation to Bosnia said the situation regarding the number of women in the labour market in the country is bad and that the EU's sand is that women should be engaged in all segments of the society – which is engraved in all the EU regulations.
“Of the total number of unemployed in Bosnia, 60 percent are women, which is a really high percentage and we need to work harder in strengthening women in the labour market,” Vannini said.
He noted that the EU also believes women should be better paid and that the situation regarding their salaries is bad in the entire region.
Nives Jukic from the Office of the Ombudsman in Bosnia said men generally file more complaints than women and last year the Office received over 3,000 complaints.
“Unfortunately, we still lack real progress in gender equality in the labour market, which is reflected in all the complaints we received. These are the problems of the grey economy, unequal pay, night shifts and terminations of contracts for pregnant women in the private sector,” Jukic said.
She noted that Bosnia passed a Law against Discrimination in 2009 and the Gender Equality Law in 2010, adding that citizens can file their complaints on any ground.
The Ombudsman also said the worst discrimination cases are often never reported out of fear of what might happen afterwards, stressing the need for working on building the awareness and advocating the respect for equality.