Meet Nasiha Pozder from Bosnia and Herzegovina
How do you survive in the world of politics as a trained architect? What do you do as a woman if male parliamentarians comment more about your looks than on your speeches and the bills you propose? Is it possible to change the narrative in a fractured political system still preoccupied with the traumas of war and the past glories of 70 years ago?
Nasiha Pozder, an urbanist by vocation and a member of the Federal parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Nasa Stranka (meaning “Our party” in Bosnian and Serbo-Croatian) has a lot to say about each of these questions.
Once she made it into high-level politics, however, Nasiha Pozder saw a lot not to envy her about. “I just had a coffee with my colleagues from the faculty and they were saying how discouraged they are to live here and see all the problems we have. And I said – yes, it is even more discouraging when you are inside parliament and there is not much you can actually change,” she says.
One of the most important missions that Pozder’s Nasa Stranka wants to push forward is cutting down the unnecessary and overlapping parts of the administration of the country which consume its already scarce public resources.
“Politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a really good "factory" where you can find a job. Every fourth resident works in the administration. It is a large system where you can make money without working a lot – or at all. Our main goal is to try to dismantle this huge apparatus that we have.”
On top of all that, Pozder also must endure what it is like being a woman in politics in the Balkans. During her first days in Parliament, some of her male colleagues from other parties mostly discussed what she wore rather than what she said from the tribune. “But this lasted only during the beginning – very quickly we became listened to.”
To Pozder, these attitudes come from the traditional, patriarchal culture that dominates Bosnian society. “I was lucky that my father wasn't that kind of person and he supported me even during the war, because he knew what I was working towards. That is actually why I started to raise my voice for the position of women in society, because I understood that my luck is not something that everyone has.”
“My position in the academy and in politics is something that gives me not only opportunity, but also an obligation to repeat that message - that women in society have to raise their voice,” she concludes.