IUS: The First Higher Education Institution with Gender Policy

On July 4, 2019, at the premises of the International University of Sarajevo, all the activities and results of the three-year EU project Systematic Measures For Gender Equality were presented, conducted under the auspices of the Horizon2020 project and financed by the European Commission.

Gender equality is a ubiquitous issue within Horizon 2020, and its importance has been proposed by the Council of the European Union in its Conclusions of 1 December 2015 on the improvement of gender equality in the European Research Area (ERA). Horizon 2020 is so far the largest EU research and innovation framework program, with a budget of almost 80 billion Euros for the period 2014-2020. For the recently published 2018-2020 program, 30 billion Euros have been allocated.

The objectives of the project were improving decision-making, and increasing the capacity and quality of research; the inclusion of gender-sensitive practices, processes and procedures in research, and the improving  the balance of men and women in institutional decision-making. In the first phase of the SAGE project, the project team designed a Gender Equality Plan (the first one in BiH for higher education), where measures were set that were implemented in the following period, which included among other things:

  • organizing lectures and educational programs by eminent guests in order to increase the visibility of women in higher education as well as the accessibility to female role models in higher education,
  • setting up Baby rooms for all employees as well as students of IUS,
  • gender-based procedures, such as maternity and paternity leave procedures, IUS Induction Policy, questionnaire when leaving the workplace (when leaving the institution), as well as Procedures for protection against sexual harassment or hatred (i.e. Sexual Harassment Policy),
  • work with public institutions and mentoring in the implementation of gender policy at public BH universities,
  • presentations of the Gender Equality Charter, which will be signed soon by the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth of the Sarajevo Canton with the International University of Sarajevo.

Over 30 state and non-governmental organizations got familiar with the work and activities of the project, which was confirmed at this event, where among others were representatives of the Ombudsman Institution for Human Rights in BiH, University of Sarajevo, Anatolia Balkan agency, representatives Sarajevo Canton primary and secondary schools, Sarajevo Open Center, as well as the CURE Foundation.

IUS, as the leader in gender policy in higher education, has the duty, but also the pleasure of being a mentor to all the institutions that decide to take that step, which is among the most important steps on the path to the EU membership.