In today’s world, it is of crucial importance to create one safe space in which every individual will be respected for their abilities and qualities. Unfortunately, our society doesn’t meet the bare minimum as people are facing discrimination and prejudices just based on their gender.
Gender equality does represent an important issue as it is the root of numerous other problems that foster a toxic environment that enables women and men to coexist and have a healthy collaboration that could be beneficial for the whole society.
Over the last couple of months, the BRAVO team has worked hard to implement numerous networking events across the country as part of the project ”Leadership is for Everyone”. The goal of the networking events was simple but somehow still revolutionary for the community. Through these networking events, the BRAVO team aimed to indulge young people in discussions that go beyond the surface level and also provide them with the opportunity to network with inspiring individuals who are true heroes of our society as they are working towards establishing a more inclusive and accepting society for all.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the series of networking events and internship programs that were implemented in the last couple of months!
Networking events in Zenica
The first LEO networking event was held on the 9th of March in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The networking event brought together 36 young people from diverse backgrounds who were eager to learn more about female leadership, female entrepreneurship, and the overall project ”Leadership is for EveryOne”. The networking event consisted of two parts: a discussion and networking. Over the course of two hours, the speakers provided insight into how society should support women’s empowerment and break the stereotypes that negatively impact both men and women.
The second networking event was held on the 24th of July and it gathered 24 participants and featured two inspiring speakers coming from the fields of STEM and IT. These speakers have embraced the opportunity to delve deeper into discussions surrounding the crucial topics of gender equality and the inclusion of women.
The speakers of the networking event were:
- Nejra Halilović, a distinguished Master of Arts in Security Sciences
- Adi Salčinović, an accomplished STEM educator
Nejra Halilović has shared her story to rise to success in a male-dominated field. She has discussed the barriers she has faced in her career, solely based on her gender. Through her speech, she encouraged both male and female participants to break off the shackles of gender norms and work together towards building a more inclusive and equal marketplace where women will be valued for their labor and skills.
The second speaker was Adi Salčinović, an accomplished STEM educator. As an accomplished STEM educator and activist with over 10 years long experience, Adi has focused on gender equality, its importance, and the ways to achieve it specifically in the STEM field. Through his speech, he expressed the importance of equal access and opportunities in the STEM field. He discussed the importance of including women in the STEM field as that is crucial for making progress and achieving bigger results.
The networking events in Zenica served as a safe space for people to exchange their opinions and previous experience which has lived up to the idea of the ‘’LEO’’ project as a whole. They have showcased that by listening to each other’s stories, acknowledging experiences, and collectively taking action, progress toward gender equality was not just possible, but essential for a better future for all.
Networking event in Tuzla
The third networking event took place in Tuzla, BiH on the 7th of August. The networking event included three female speakers from different areas of work who were determined to participate in this event and contribute to its implementation with their success stories and experiences.
During the two hours, the networking event covered the following topics:
- The impact of stereotypes and societal barriers on mental well-being
- Obstacles women encounter on their journey towards establishing a business
- The important role of activism and mutual support in creating positive change
The event succeeded in fostering a dynamic and inclusive environment, where participants engaged with these important subjects and gained insights that go beyond the surface.
Networking event in Bihać
The fourth networking event was implemented in Bihać on the 22nd of August and it gathered 15 young people. This networking event particularly covered the subject of the position of women in marginalized groups. Unfortunately, we live in a world where equality is just a concept as many people face discrimination and prejudice on a daily basis. The goal of this event was exactly that, to educate young people about ways they can contribute to marginalized groups and thereby build a more inclusive, accepting society. Through this event, young people had an amazing chance to learn about the multiple layers of discrimination that women in marginalized groups face.
By taking part in this activity, participants learned more about the position of women in marginalized groups, as well as the ways to support them and contribute to building a brighter future for all. The event itself presented a great opportunity for participants to expand their horizons and get to know the true heroes of our society who continuously work to create equal opportunities for everyone, providing opportunities for marginalized groups to develop.
Networking event in Sarajevo
The last networking event was implemented in Sarajevo, on the 25th of August where 34 participants took part. The event was organized with a specific focus on significant occurrences in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically related to femicide and violence within romantic relationships. The primary aim of this networking event was to address the pressing issue of violence against women, encouraging discussions about identifying warning signs, providing protection, and seeking help.
The event speaker was Selvira Draganović, a professor of psychology, with 20 years long of experience. Selvira held a presentation through which she aimed to educate participants on the topic of violence in romantic relationships, gender-based violence, and femicide. She has covered all aspects thoroughly, providing participants with relevant experiences so they could fully comprehend the information given.
Even though this networking event covered one serious issue, it was still interactive as it encouraged participants to ask questions and share their experiences. The speaker with her open-mindedness and genuine approach fostered a safe environment that encouraged participants to share their stories. This kind of environment allowed participants to openly discuss their own personal experiences, which were both enlightening and impactful for everyone present.
THE IMPACT WE HAVE LEFT
Over 100 participants from all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina have taken part in the ”Leadership is for EveryOne” networking events. Therefore, it is safe to say that these networking events were more than successful! Most importantly, they were impactful as they covered a range of crucial subjects, including women’s entrepreneurship, the issue of femicide and violence, the challenges faced by women within marginalized communities, the role of women in STEM and IT fields, the significance of mental well-being, and the empowerment that arises from activism while breaking societal barriers within the marketplace.
Talking about the marketplace and breaking societal barriers, through the ”LEO” project, an open call for an internship program was opened. The selection process was not easy as it was our duty to select 5 amazing women. The process lasted long but at the end of the day, we have made the correct decisions. The internship program is currently in the implementation phase in two local companies:
Foundation of Entrepreneurs in BiH
The internship program presents a beneficial opportunity for interns to upgrade their abilities and acquire professional experience. The local companies have shown their commitment to fostering a thriving, inclusive labor market where women will be respected for their expertise. Together with companies, we are all working towards achieving an inclusive labor market that practices gender equality in all of its aspects.
Interns are taking an active role in the labor market and are working hard to improve their leadership abilities and make names for themselves. The journey is far from easy but is certainly rewarding as the true idea of ‘Leadership is for EveryOne’ is being propagated among the wider masses.
The best part is that there are still more activities to be implemented, more people to get included and more awareness to be raised! Just like bees, we are working hard so stay tuned to not miss out on all the amazing LEO opportunities that are about to come!
More about the “LEO” project:
Women’s empowerment is a prerequisite for gender equality, according to the CoE Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023. Even when girls demonstrate leadership abilities or hold positions of power, the world fails to make them feel good because the mind model that we have is gendered “male.” As a result, when girls adopt such a model, claiming that leaders are bold and make difficult decisions, they may experience cognitive Men outnumber women in leadership positions in every sector of the world, including business, nonprofits, government, education, medicine, the military, and religion This gender gap, often referred to with the metaphor “glass ceiling”, represents one of the most critical challenges to achieve gender equity and allow equitable working opportunities to all genders
The project aims to enhance women’s leadership, developing NFE resources for youth workers and young people, promoting men’s involvement in women’s empowerment, and strengthening the synergies between youth work and the labor market.
And specific call’s thematic areas:
- inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities;
- empowerment / engagement / employability of young people;
- anti-discrimination and gender equality;
Overall, the LEO project efficiently contributes to the global effort to achieve gender equity and meets the EU Gender Equality Strategy Key Actions 2020-2025 (challenging gender stereotypes, boosting women’s economic empowerment, and ensuring equal opportunities in the labor market). Moreover, the project addresses many of the general and specific call’s objectives, ensuring its quality and relevance.