Instead of a flower, Be a Man Club Sarajevo devoted to women and girls in Bosnia and Herzegovina the song that affirms young men and women to oppose rigid social norms that are predisposers of inequality.
In cooperation with CARE International Balkans, Perpetuum Mobile and Youth Power, and with the support of the Swiss government, the OAK Foundation and CARE Germany-Luxembourg, the Association XY organized a two-day conference which was held on 7 and 8 March in Sarajevo, and was intended to the most active young people who fight every day and advocate for gender-equal society, free from all forms of stigma, discrimination and violence.
The conference, entitles “Be a Man – Change the Rules” brought together young men and women from Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka, with the aim to openly talk about what motivates them to be agents of social change, to oppose the established and harmful stereotypes and to encourage, by their own example, wider social changes that all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will benefit from.
“Be a Man Conference is organized on the occasion of celebrating the International Women’s Day, because I think this is a great opportunity to draw attention to the status of women in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the world. In addition, members of Be a Man clubs from Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka presented their activities from local communities and shared their experiences”, said the coordinator of the Be a Man Club Amer Dzekman.
According to the leader of the program area Health and healthy lifestyles from the Association XY Feđa Mehmedovic, fight for gender equality should not be reserved for one or two days in a year.
“Often, we hear/read about efforts of individuals to make this society better and more equitable on the occasion of celebrating important international dates such as 8 March, 16 Days of Activism and the like, but the fact is that this is an everyday fight and that there are people who daily contribute to the development of a society that respects and practices the principles of gender equality”, said Mehmedovic, adding “it is important to emphasize that young people gathered here are volunteers and activists who use their free time for the benefit of all. In so doing, none of them is paid for what they do, but it is a purely voluntary contribution. These are young people who oppose the negative social trends (use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and violence) and motivate their peers to live a healthy and productive life. These are young people who devote three out of seven days a week to social issues and the development of a better society”.
Coordinator of the Be a Man Club Adna Kalajdzisalihovic says that events like this conference represent an important step in returning to the love as a basic emotion that prevails in a man.
“Be a Man Conference is a sort of dedication to all the strong women and equally strong men who daily take off the shackles that limit their individuality, creativity and openness, but also allows endless possibilities of meeting, acclimatizing and belonging”, said Kalajdzisalihovic.
The Conference was organized within the project “Promoting Healthier Lifestyles among Youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Challenging Gender Stereotypes – Young Men Initiative”, which Association XY implements in cooperation with partners from Banja Luka and Mostar, as well as other cities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.