When it comes to gender equality, BiH has set up the legislative and policy frameworks for gender equality and has become a regional leader in that area. Important legal steps have been taken with Conventions, Laws and Gender Action Plans promoting gender equality, strategies adopted to reduce domestic violence, and institutional mechanisms set up to mainstream gender.
There are close to 3.2 million registered voters in BiH (2.04 million in FBiH and 1.24 million in RS) out of which 50,8% are women. Yet, women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political and public life. During the last general elections in 2014- in line with the standard praxis - the political parties abided by the Elections Law in terms of quota compliance when it comes to the candidate lists, but not with the mandates allocated to women. To illustrate, out of more than 300 women candidates enlisted for the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, only 10 were assigned with the mandates. Out of total 152 ministerial positions in BiH at all levels, there are only 23 women, while less than 20% women are represented in parliaments. Out of 183 registered political parties in BiH, not a single one is headed by a woman. The results of previous elections show a disparity between the women’s representation in the electoral lists and the number of women who actually got elected. This discrepancy between the lists and mandates, and the praxis of side-lining women by the political parties in which they should become visible and responsible in political life has caused much damage and discouraged women from engaging actively in politics. At the community level gender equality issues are even more closely related to development, and every aspect of community life is necessarily gendered, but this is still not recognized in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the less developed and rural areas. In 2016 local elections, out of 417 candidates only 26 (or 6.8%) were women, which represents a decrease comparing to the last local elections in 2012. Only seven have become municipality mayors. Therefore, mobilising the next generation of leaders locally, and activating women as social agents in communities can be the most effective strategy to promote transformational change towards more developed and inclusive society. Electing a woman also often results in a "double dividend" in terms of not only advancing women's rights, but also those of children and wellbeing of community at large.