Research into the status, needs and possibilities for improvement of the position of a rural woman

VESTA Association from Tuzla presented the research on the status, needs and possibilities for improvement of the position of a rural woman. This research was carried out within the project „Socio-economic strengthening of the position of a rural woman through active participation in the local development plans''. Results of the research are based on the surveys and workshops conducted with 450 women from 17 municipalities and in 37 rural communities in Federation BiH.

Surveys and workshops in the target areas were conducted in cooperation with representatives of civil society organisations, whose actions are directed toward strengthening of the socio-economic position of women. Based on the obtained research results, rural women demonstrated a high degree of dissatisfaction with how their role is valued. As many as 80% of respondents gave a negative reply. This research confirmed that a considerable percentage of 85% thought that starting up small business initiatives could greatly or significantly contribute to an improved economic position of a rural woman, which points to an encouraging recognition of opportunities for economic empowerment. Therefore, educational support and financial incentives to development of small farming and service-based businesses could be one of key generators of improved economic position of rural women.

The conclusion of workshops that were held within this reserarch was that a rural woman is still considerably isolated and discriminated against when it comes to exercising of her rights. Although little progress was noted, the present traditional values and stereotypes, in both urban and particularly rural communities, are preventing women from playing the role in the society that belongs to them. During the research, respondents demonstrated a degree of hope that, by means of this research, their voices will be heard, and that at least the smaller problems and their proposals will be taken into account by decision makers and policy creators. It is certain that no serious progress was made toward strengthening the position of rural women without the recognition of problems by all relevant development stakeholders, and comprehensive support to ensure more equality in rural women's participation in all socio-economic processes.