Women in Defence System – Bosnia and Herzegovina – 2022

National Action Plan 1325:

Bosnia and Herzegovina was the first country in the region to adopt the local action plan on 1325, which made it one of the pioneers in translating the UN women, peace and security agenda to the local level. The country has taken a proactive approach in developing action plans and is the only one that already has the third action plan for the period 2018-2022. The BiH local action plan has a strong human security dimension and attaches great
importance to regional and international networking.

Participation of women in the MoDs and the Armed Forces:

The number of women among the civil servants and employees in the MoD is currently 111, out of 235 (47.23%),
while the number of women among the professional military personnel is 601, out of 8,639 (6.96%). Although the
percentage of women civilians has increased, the share of women in the armed forces has remained
 almost unchanged in the last five years.¹ When it comes to the share of uniformed women among officers,
non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and soldiers, Bosnia and Herzegovina has 98 female officers, 121 NCOs and 328 soldiers. Progress is difficult to track because the available data are inconsistent. For example, NATO Headquarters Sarajevo reported in 2020 that the percentage of women serving in the MoD and the AF BiH is 8.1%.² However, using a different methodology, UNDP/SEESAC reported that the percentage of women in uniform in the MoD in 2019 was in fact 5.2%, and in Armed Forces BiH – 6.5%, whereas the share of uniformed women among the officers was 4.5%, the NCOs – 4.2%, and soldiers – 8.6 %.³

Representation of women in command and leadership positions:

There are currently 96 women in commanding positions, which is 1% of the total number of employees in the MoD and AF (9,425). The highest rank held by women in the Armed Forces BiH is still that of Colonel, while a woman headed the Ministry of Defence from 2015 to 2019.

Participation of women in peacekeeping operations:

In 2019, Bosnia and Herzegovina had 8.6% of women among its military personnel engaged in peacekeeping missions.4 Data from other reports show that 8 female police officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina took part in the UN police, and that 24% of the female personnel took part in the OSCE field operations.5 According to the latest data of the MoD, from 2022, a total of 8 officers are currently engaged in three missions: MINUSMA (2 officers), MONUSCO (3) and EUTM RCA (3). However, the share of women in peacekeeping missions is not known because the Ministry failed to present gender-segregated data.

      1. See 3.1.2 Participation of women in the army, police and peacekeeping missions in the UNSCR 1325 Implementation
        Action Plan “Women, Peace and Security” in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2018-2022, October 2017, https://arsbih.gov.ba/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/180718_Prijedlog-AP-UNSCR-1325_2018-2022-u-BiH.pdf
      2. https://jfcnaples.nato.int/hqsarajevo/jezici-bosne-i-hercegovine/vijesti-iz-nato-staba-sarajevo/2020/11092020
      3. United Nations in Serbia, The Position of Women in the Armed Forces in the Western Balkans. UNDP SEESAC, 23
        December 2021, https://serbia.un.org/en/166414-position-women-armed-forces-western-balkans
      4. Ibid, p. 29
      5. SIRPI, Women in Multinational Peace Operations in 2021: What is the State of Play? https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2021-10/women_in_multilateral_peace_operations_in_2021-what_is_the_state_of_play.pdf

2022 – Balkan Defence Monitor
Women In Defence System –
Bosnia and Herzegovina

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