Student Stories

10 reasons why women in BiH should be more empowered

September 30th, 2021

All over the world, fighting for women's rights has been centuries long fight, in some countries more advanced in the other. In the light of living in the 21 century, some women around the globe still have not achieved the goal of having basic human rights, which is concerning.

Empowering women of the world should be an ultimate goal for achieving equity. Women of Bosnia and Herzegovina through time have managed to break the barriers and succeed in what they pursued, even when terms like feminism and suffragette were not words in our languages. In this article, we will meet women of B&H that changed the course of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina by doing something that has never been done before. Here are 10 reasons why women of B&H, and all the women in the world should be more empowered.


Razija Mujanović

People who know anything about sport in Bosnia, know her name. Razija Mujanović is considered one of the best female basketball players in the world and is the second BiH's basketball player to become a member of FIBA’s House of Basketball in 2017.

Razija collected a lot of medals during 27 years of her career, including Olympic silver, silver from the World cup in 1990, as well as two silver medals from
EuroBasket. She was a club champion of Europe 4 times and was named best player of Europe 3 times by La Gazetta. Because of all these achievements, and many more, Razija is a sports legend of our country, and a true inspiration for women of Bosnia and Herzegovina in basketball, and other sports.


Vera Šnajder

Women of BiH need to remember that they can be brilliant in any field, and when it comes to science, it is hard not to mention Vera Šnajder.

Vera Šnajder was the first female mathematician in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After achieving good results while studying math and physics, she was given a stipend from the French government, and while studied there, she wrote an article in a famous academic magazine, which made her became a first person in Bosnia to professionally pursue math. She was one of the founders of the Faculty of Philosophy and Department of Math in Sarajevo University, and the first female dean in former Yugoslavia.


Mirsada Hukić

Another stunning example of Bosnian women in science is also Mirsada Hukić, a specialist in microbiology, who discovered different types of viruses in mice that made soldiers sick during the war in Bosnia. This discovery helped to understand different types of this disease and enhanced therapy and diagnostics. Mirsada is a professor at 2 universities in BiH, and during the last 2 years, she focused her research on the genetics of the SARS-COV 2 virus and disease COVID19 which is caused by it.

The dedicated work of our female scientists is a perfect example of how amazing discoveries and groundbreaking inventions can be achieved during the hardest of times.


Rifka Riki Levi

Rifka Riki Levi was Bosnia’s first professional ballet dancer and prima ballerina of the National theatre in Belgrade. Rifka was 5th daughter of a modest Jewish family and she fell in love with dancing very young. Soon her talent and hard work sent her to Zagreb in a ballet school, and throughout life she played in numerous ballets, even though her career path was very frowned upon by the public at that time.

When she had a bad injury, she continued dancing and had to finish her career early, but she will always be remembered as our ballet icon, who pursued her passions at a time when it was hard, and very brave for women to step out of generally expected life norms.


Radojka Lakić

Radojka Lakić dedicated most of her life to revolution, believing in antifascism and a country without oppression. She was a member of NOB – National liberation movement in former Yugoslavia, spending her time on the run while working for the communist party of Yugoslavia. She was on the target of fascists and had to change her place of living, carried fake IDs, trying to help her country during World war 2. She was arrested and tortured by fascists but refused to tell any information that would compromise her country. After fascists realized she would not give them any information, they brutally murdered her. Radojka will always be remembered for her amazing contribution to NOB. She was announced the national hero of Yugoslavia in1945.


Staka Skenderova


Staka Skenderova was the first woman to work as a teacher in BiH. Since her early childhood, she wanted to get the best education possible, but at that time, women were not allowed to go to school. Her father found teachers to teach her out of school, and her brothers also taught her everything they learned. In 1858 she opened the first female school in Sarajevo and marked the beginning of women’s education in Bosnia. Her school taught some of the first female intellectuals of BiH and started a revolution in our country’s education system. Today when we have as many women as men in schools and universities, it is easy to forget how hard it was back then to become an educated woman, but Staka Skenderova gave us enormous opportunity and progress, as well as a huge inspiration for all women to choose the path of knowledge and sharing.


Jasmila Žbanić

A true inspiration to every woman interested in the film industry, Jasmila Žbanić is an amazing movie director. famous for her feministic and political activism, widely represented throughout her movies. Jasmila’s movie ‘Grbavica’ was the first movie after the war in BiH to open a theme about crimes of rape during the war from a woman’s perspective. She is awarded many prizes in the film industry, as well as being nominated for Academy Award for her last movie, ‘Quo vadis, Aida’. Jasmila is an amazing example of the success of women in the movie industry in our country that does not have a lot of opportunities to make high-budget movies. Although facing so many obstacles throughout this process, Jasmila’s movies always make the audience breathless.


Fatima Musić Manojlović

Fatima Musić Manojlović was the first female pilot of Bosnia and Herzegovina to fly a motor airplane. She first tried to fly a light aircraft in Sarajevo Aeroclub, and when she was flying the aircraft on the ground, accidentally pulled the handle which made the aircraft take off. After that, she went to a pilot course. Although there were other women who went to an aircraft flying course, Fatima was the first to learn and fly a motor plane. Today there are still not a lot of women pursuing being pilots, but Fatima’s example stands to show how women can succeed even in mostly man-dominated areas of work.


Ševala Zildžić Iblizović

 Ševala Zildžić Iblizović was the first Muslim woman in BiH to become a doctor. Ševala’s fight for education began when she wanted to go to another high school, rather than a female school for teachers. Her family went out of the way to find a possibility for her further education, and after a long time of convincing and seeking approval of school’s administration, she was accepted in a male high school, as the first woman to ever attend it. She suffered men’s in school and her neighbor’s offenses and hits because she was not considered welcome to school, and even her family received numerous threats. Ševala did not let this pull her down, she attended medical higher education in Zagreb and went back to Sarajevo to work as a pediatric doctor. Ševala is a true example of a strong and determined woman who did not let anything stand in her way of becoming a doctor and being a true icon for many generations that came after.


Bergman sisters

Berta Bergman and Marija Kon were the first highly educated women of BiH.

Bergman sisters as well were very keen on education, who faced discrimination based on gender. Their parents paid private tutors for them because they were not allowed in school, and they pursued higher education in Vienna, where they found more opportunities. Marija wrote a doctor’s dissertation and became the first woman with Ph.D. in Bosnia, and Berta got a degree in medicine. Sisters Bergman were Jewish and faced a lot of dangers throughout their lives. Berta was killed in a Jewish camp, and for a time period, Marija was in a camp too. Marija was one of the founders of the Department of the German language at the University of Sarajevo and continued her career as a professor and translator. Marija and Berta will always be remembered as true examples of perseverance and determination for seeking knowledge, and are a true inspiration to all the women.


Nađa Čelik

Student of Faculty of Traffic and Communication  of University in Sarajevo

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