Why this story matters:
On March 8, International Womens' Day, Naša Stranka ("Our Party") announced it would start initiatives against sexual harassment in all regional assemblies where it holds seats. The party is following up on its promise -- and getting results to boot.
Stari Grad, one of the municipalities in the Sarajevo Canton, has recently introduced an explicit ban on sexual harassment in its council's code of ethics.
"It is very important to have an article which clearly defines what sexual harassment is and what will be treated as such. There were many occasions when both I and many of my female colleagues, regardless of party affiliation, have suffered what can be considered sexual harassment.", said Jasmina Mršo, one of the initiators of the code change.
The municipality was the first legislative body on any level to adopt an explicit prohibition of "unwanted verbal or non-verbal behaviour of sexual nature that could hurt the dignity of a person or create an intimidating, hostile or degrading environment".
Details from the story:
- The municipal council of Stari Grad (Old town) accepted the party's initiative and amended its code on April 26.
- It now bans any unwanted comments, advances or other behavior of sexual nature, and includes a protection "clause" for those who report sexual harassment.
- A similar initiative is under way in another municipality in the country's capital, Novo Sarajevo, where it was accepted and awaits official adoption.
- Four more initiatives have also been filed in the municipal council of Ilidža, Sarajevo's Cantonal Assembly and the city councils of Zenica and Goražde.