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.
Zlatan Hrnčić is a Senior Advisor at the Gender Centre of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their contact person for ending violence against women. He was an important part of the group responsible for establishing the first database of services to deal with cases of domestic violence in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This father of two is also very serious about his role as a parent.
What does your work on combating gender based violence consist of?
The Gender Centre of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a professional service of the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is designated as the coordinator for monitoring and implementing strategic documents in the area of domestic violence. Within this service, I work on coordination and implementation of the Strategy for Prevention and Combating Domestic Violence (2013-2017), which aims to reduce domestic violence, such as by establishing and assuring equal access to the justice system and protection in cases of domestic violence. The job is diverse and consists of carrying out analysis, organizing meetings, conferences and trainings, collecting data and reporting and preparing action plans for the future. In order to create such a document, constant cooperation with competent institutions, facilities and non-governmental organizations involved in this issue at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina is needed.
What is the role of the Gender Centre of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in achieving gender equality?
The Gender Centre of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina monitors the implementation of the Law on Gender Equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the areas aimed at achieving gender equality established by this Law, and in the territory of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this respect, we monitor the implementation of the law regarding the provisions within international and local documents for achieving full equality. Also, through the implementation of the Gender Action Plan, we provide support to other institutions, facilities and non-governmental organizations in the implementation of activities for achieving the goals of this document. We are a reference point for examining violations of this law. The Gender Centre supports the establishment and operation of institutional gender mechanisms, and has special significance for achieving equality and increased involvement of women in political and public life, and providing equal opportunities in decision-making.
What do you see as the key priorities for women to gain the same opportunities as men?
I think it is necessary to create conditions for women and men to realize their ideas and contribute to the development of society. Of course, this sounds complicated but our role is not to determine what everyone will do and whether someone will engage in a certain business. It is necessary to introduce the existing opportunities to everybody and to provide a basis for the realization of these opportunities. Also, institutional obstacles for the realization of the given opportunities need to be removed. Education is therefore a priority, and the simplest mechanism for the realization of equal opportunities. The education system has the potential to foster a self society of equal opportunities in a relatively short period of time. This right will be naturally and socially granted.
In your opinion, what’s the role of men in creating a society that supports equal rights for all?
I’m not sure that it is necessary to single out either men or women when it comes to this area. I think the cause, but also the possibility of resolving all forms of the problem lies in education. The way one is raised, together with the behaviour patterns one adopts, largely determines one’s life. That is why the behaviour patterns we learn are maintained through transferal to the next generation. Considering that both men and women participate in this process, both are responsible for shaping the society we live in. On one side, our upbringings define our life courses, and on the other side, we are responsible if we don’t participate in this process equally and if we don’t respond to this life mission.
In order to simplify my answer to your question, I think it is necessary that both men and women participate in educating their children and creating a healthy family environment that will form the basis for a better society for us to live in. Because only together can we provide an environment for children that will later give back equally to the community.
Where do you find the most inspiration for work?
I love to work and have a fulfilled day. That way, the moments of free time are worth more. Since a large part of my work is mostly related to preventing and combating domestic violence, the idea of creating a healthy society that meets the challenges of the time to come is what inspires me. Considering that the cause of domestic violence lies in the patterns of behaviour we learn, in our continuous upbringing which is made up of educational, sociological, economical, health and other factors, it can be concluded that domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour integrated in the construction of individual identity and eventually in a society in which such behaviour is considered acceptable. However, when we talk about domestic violence, both in appearance, recognition or its prevention in society, it is not enough just to look at the family and marriage, we need to look at the entire social context, to determine the direction in which society should develop and to define strategic courses of action.
The laws governing this area are usually repressive and are unable to create significant results in the long term. Causes of domestic violence and solutions to violence lie in education and breaking the cycle of trans-generational transferal of violent behaviour patterns. Legal regulations should include prevention, clear forms of protection and linked mechanisms for prevention through repressive measures.
I am aware that creating a healthy family environment can create conditions for society to independently respond to all future challenges, and this makes me feel that what I do is good. Clearly defined problems and a clear vision of solutions are both sufficient inspiration for work.