Cross-posted from UN Women
At a winery at the end of a town in rural Herzegovina, a 32-year-old woman stands amid barrels of wine, staring across the vineyards.
Her name is Sanja Juričić-Franić. Together with two more women, her sister and her mother, she leads the “Gangaš” winery in Čitluk, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sanja holds a Masters’ Degree in agronomy and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in economy. A wife, mother and successful entrepreneur, she is an enologist who has had to combat prejudice and stereotypes in this male-dominated profession.
“As a woman, gender equality means having the freedom to make my own choices when it comes to life decisions, without being affected by social prejudices.”
She says her road to becoming a wine expert was natural, given her long family tradition of wine production. After the tragic death of her father in 2002, the three women in her family continued on with the business, and expanded it, by producing and offering wine all over Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond.
Sanja says that being a “woman enologist” is not something that should surprise people, although it is still quite unusual in this region to see a woman doing it.
In spite of the challenges she has faced, Sanja confidently says to all women: “Feel free to start the wine business because wine production is now far from pure cellarer’s work; today it combines wine-making and science and art”, and all that, Sanja says, “is particularly inherent to women.”
Sanja adds: “It is very important that both women and men realize that women are equal members of the society. It is important that we learn and listen, that we believe in ourselves.”