Within the campaign ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence’ and HeForShe campaign, UN Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina will publish interviews with men who advocate gender equality in their community on the campaign website www.16dana.ba. The views expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the views of UN Women or any other agency of the United Nations.
On the occasion of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Đurica Štula talks about the good and the bad sides of life in our country through gender perspective. Đurica aka Grof Đuraz is a guitar player and bassist of Sopot project. He and his wife together initiated a children’s clothes brand Bubsi Beba. Their store in Banja Luka is the first and the only one which has a special corner for breastfeeding and changing babies. Mothers love to use it.
He says that our society’s main issue lays in lack of work and tolerance towards other and different. From the holes in the roads, the holes in the laws, the holes in the heads – in his opinion, everyday life in Bosnia and Herzegovina seeks maximum resourcefulness, understanding and tolerance.
Tell us about the impact your work has had on the progress of women in BiH.
If we talk about my work, positive influence reflects in starting the first Banja Luka brand “Bubsi Beba”, which we jointly launched, my wife and I. Most of the employees of our company are women. Besides, based on my wife’s initiative, we made the corner for breastfeeding and changing babies. Unique in Banja Luka, and probably in BiH, it works successfully for two years now. My wife came up with the idea because we were ourselves a couple of times in a need to feed or change a baby, and we were wondering how and where to do it if we are outside. After we found an adequate space for the store, room intended for an office was sacrificed in the higher purpose and became a corner for feeding and changing babies. Here parents communicate and exchange experiences. When it comes to my music experience with women, Vanja Mišić, Sanja Zelić and I started a band “Vanja The Frog”. Women have special sensibility for music and I enjoyed aforementioned collaboration – while it lasted.
What do you see as the key priorities for women to gain the same opportunities as men?
I know wages are an issue – men have better salaries, but our society’s perspective shows man acts as the head of the family but woman keeps everything together. In general, I think women deserve more space and more positions in management because women proved to be more conscious, functional and responsible. World would be better place if it was ran by women, that is my opinion for a long time.
What harmful stereotypes about women you are aware of, and how do you think society should deal with them?
Main harmful stereotype I am aware of from before is men being seen different from women when it comes to not being in a relationship. Men are considered to live by their own rules, and women are called insulting names. It is a big problem in the very basis of human relations because society reinforces such attitudes. There are many stereotypes. Another hypocritical stereotype I could never understand is women being considered as “hysterical and blood sucking”. I believe every individual is responsible of building a personal relationship with partner, but also of investing in own views, interests and expectations. This has to be harmonized.
What are the major challenges of our society with regard to the problem of violence against women and girls?
The law concerning violence against women and girls in our society is not very handy for those who suffer violence. For instance, witness reporting violence are expected to participate in the process in court and most of the people doesn’t want to involve in other people’s lives. I am well-informed about relations between safe houses and victims of violence. Problem is, due to poverty, women go back to the environment in which they were violated at. Great efforts must be invested in society, and that costs time and money. I think our society is not capable of providing long term financial and institutional solution for the problem. Only raising the general societal standards can lead to improvement of women’s rights.
In your opinion, what’s the role of men in creating a society that supports equal rights for all?
Men have to show more tolerance and confidence in women. Women’s capabilities should be far more acknowledged. I don’t know the steps to incorporating true values into foundations of society, and I’m not paid to know that, but I’m starting from my family where we respect the postulates of justice and equality. Kids need good examples daily because kids learn observing their parents.
Tell us about a women who inspired you in work or life?
It is definitely my wife. We are practical example of two people who positively affected each other. We decided to go from dating to marriage and kids in a relatively short period of time, and now we have a business together. We spend a lot of time together at work and with the kids, and that’s where all kinds of situations occur.