Social situation Inequality of opportunity for women and Roma

The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided strictly along ethnic lines. Jurisdiction, education and the media primarily focus on their own ethnic groups; there is no overarching shared national identity. This leads to discrimination and exclusion.

A saleswoman in a snack bar

A saleswoman in a snack bar

A saleswoman in a snack bar

The situation is particularly difficult for women. Their access to the labour market is poor: with around 27 per cent, Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the lowest female employment rates in Europe. Many women have no health insurance and are particularly vulnerable to poverty.

The Roma community is especially affected by discrimination. Their access to housing, health care, employment and education is poor. Two thirds of the Roma have no health insurance and their language, Romani, is not an optional subject in schools.

Several thousand migrants have been in the country since 2019; most of them are trying to enter the EU via the Croatian border. The available shelters and accommodation are overcrowded and in a dire state. The local authorities, which are often overwhelmed, are receiving EU support to help improve conditions in the short term.