GEMA news

Final GEMA newsletter: GEMA Network

During GEMA project we have developed knowledge transfer activities that equip organisations to set up or adopt effective policy, strategies and services for gender-balanced boards. Thus warmly invited to become part of GEMA network to facilitate collaboration, be a joined-up voice in this field and assist in the further sharing, development and enhancement of knowledge and expertise.



Please, read more in the newsletter, available in English, Slovenian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonian language.


Together we are creating strong GEMA NETWORK for further improvements in the field of gender balance Featured

Equality between men and women is one of the founding principles and values of the European Union. Yet, women continue to be under-represented in boards and top management teams of companies. This gender imbalance in the highest decision-making teams in companies is not only a social but also an economic concern. Data we collected in this project show that improving gender balance in boards and top management teams improves board dynamics and leads to better governance, strengthens stakeholder relations and CSR, and ultimately reflects in improved company performance. Promoting gender balance is therefore as much a matter for competitiveness of companies as it is for social justice.


During GEMA project we have developed knowledge transfer activities that equip organisations to set up or adopt effective policies, strategies and services for gender-balanced boards. Thus, you are warmly invited to become part of GEMA network to facilitate collaboration, be a joined-up voice in this field and assist in the further sharing, development and enhancement of knowledge and expertise.


You are welcome to subscribe to the FREE Voluntary code of conduct to secure a gender-equal approach to your management team and on boards and use the GEMA label on your webpage/social profiles, signalling to other companies that you are a gender-equality friendly company.  The EU has financed the project thus your membership is FREE of charge.


Please find the documents below:

GEMA Voluntary Code of Conduct


GEMA Label


Together, we will create gender-balanced working environments!


GEMA Country Report: MACEDONIA Featured

In Macedonia, the GEMA project brought successful results beyond what was expected. The era of talking loudly and prominently about the problems with the gender balance in  management has started and the topic is becoming very popular lately. For generations, the corporate world has largely adopted a male definition of leadership. Women can be just as ambitious and career-driven as men, but they tend to have a different perspective on life.  Thus they need to have an opportunity to say: “I am a woman, a mother, and a wife. And I am an executive director.”

To succeed in developing a more diverse and gender-balanced workforce, corporate leaders must be prepared to stand up to:

  • their executive committees, driving commitment and ensuring accountability even if the initial perceptions are negative;
  • they have to do what they believe is right not just to improve an organisation’s performance but to create a better world.

As a conclusion of all these activities, we can proudly say that the movement for gender balance in decision-making positions in Macedonia has started. We have made historical changes, now we can speak openly about the need for a change and more involvement of women on decision-making positions. We need to keep actively working in this field, in order to increase our visibility and gather better results, and change the mentality about the capacity of women to deal with big challenges.


GEMA Country Report: CROATIA Featured

The Croatian Employers’ Association represents more than 6,000 companies and has made considerable efforts to encourage companies to hire more women in management positions, executive directors, members or presidents of management boards, as they are still significantly underrepresented in comparison to men. GEMA project involved more than 40 companies through individual project meetings, 2 of the strongest trade unions and many participants in workshops with social partners. With regard to the project's Code of Conduct, it has been noted that most of companies already have gender policies embedded in their HR or other internal policies. Social partners have implemented the Code of Conduct, which is a very positive step to promote it further within the companies.

Although women in Croatia represent the majority of the total population, they remain in a minority with regard to their impact in economic, political and social life, therefore:

-it is of great interest and importance to encourage women to better integrate into the national economy and encourage their growth and development. Croatian initiatives should help reduce the unemployment rate of women by encouraging self-employment and growth of employment in the segment of women entrepreneurship;

- increased involvement of women in economic terms will contribute to strengthening the national economy and the long-term impact on the change in social values and society as a whole;

- any initiative for joint work, networking and sharing of experiences that will provide women with the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and skills for success in business and entrepreneurship, is considered to be of national interest.


GEMA Country Report: SLOVENIA

In Slovenia, the GEMA campaign on gender balance in decision-making was being implemented between December 2015 and August 2016, namely among companies’ and social partners’ representatives on national and international levels, as well as among other relevant stakeholders. Participants from more than 40 companies and more than 10 social partner organisations received GEMA materials and were acquainted with GEMA research and key findings on how and why gender balance in economic decision-making can add value to organisation. Meetings were held with representatives of different national and international institutions (such as Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Science, The Managers’ Association of Slovenia, University of Wolverhampton Brussels, BUSINESSEUROPE, European Parliament) and information on project findings exchanged.

During the meetings, workshops and presentations among different stakeholders the following were identified:

  • according to companies’ experiences gender diverse boards are more efficient, because the needs and expectations of both male and female stakeholders in the organisation are taken into account and thus more comprehensive decisions are taken;
  • while some companies are aware of the importance of advantages of gender balanced boards and top management teams, the majority still lacks awareness on this topic or faces the challenge on how to implement adequate measures in practice;
  • activities for awareness raising will affect corporate governance and appointment to the board and will encourage women to apply for management positions;
  • the creation and use of social networks, mentorship and recruitment methods and processes (focused on talent management) is needed as well.





GEMA Country Report: BULGARIA

Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) held in the period from December 2015 till July 2016 over 40 meetings with representatives of the social partners and companies on the issues of gender equality and the participation of women in management teams. The results of the research conducted within the GEMA project, the legal framework, the real situation regarding the issue in Bulgaria, and the Code of Conduct were presented and discussed during the meetings.

The results of the meetings can be summarized as follows:

  • representatives of the trade unions are mainly concerned about the unequal pay for women in Bulgaria, the higher risk of unemployment, the difficulty of reconciling work and private and family life;
  • with representatives of the employers’ branch organizations, as well as in meetings with companies an opinion affirmed that women in Bulgaria are more educated nowadays. However, it is harder for them to find a job. The biggest challenge for women is to move from the middle to the higher management level and this mostly happens only if no male candidate is available.

As a result of the meetings and cooperation established within the project, BIA together with representatives of women's associations are drafting a training programme to be possibly included in the new curricula of the New Bulgarian University for women leaders to boost the career development of Bulgarian women.

The Ministry of Economy also invited BIA to participate in an inter-institutional group to develop a strategy for promoting women entrepreneurship in Bulgaria. In addition to BIA, the group includes representatives from different ministries and gender organizations.


GEMA newsletter: Detecting progress in the field of gender balance

GEMA consortium from Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and UK is detecting progress in awareness of the significance of genderbalanced business leadership, but they also find that still many more steps are necessary for effective realisation of good practices. The level of gender-balanced representation and also the measures concerning this issue differ from one country to another. 


Please, read more in the 11th GEMA newsletter, available in English, Slovenian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonian language.


International GLOW initiative in Bulgaria for young women leaders

Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) is seven-day experience that is aimed at helping 75 young Bulgarian girls between 14 and 18 reach and explore their potential as future leaders. The Academy aides in their development by engaging them in various topics, such as identity, teamwork, self-esteem, decision making, civic responsibility, European citizenship, business skills and many others in ways that allow the young women to form their own knowledge.


The international initiative was established as a Camp by Peace Corps volunteers in Romania in 1995, when three volunteers and four Romanian teachers took 80 young women to a mountain campsite for a weeklong leadership camp to help the young women improve their self-esteem and develop life skills. Since 1995, Peace Corps volunteers in more than 60 countries have established similar programs to promote the empowerment of women. 


Leadership Academy for women on management positions in Bulgaria

The Leadership Academy has been launched in Bulgaria in 2014 and continued in 2015 by one of the powerful business gender equality supporting women’s organizations. The academy fosters the personal and professional development of women in mid-level management positions. It represents a one-year training in the form of several consecutive one-day sessions, organized once per month, dedicated to the development of personal and professional “soft skills” of the participants in a work environment. The Academy is entirely funded by the member companies of the business women’s organisation and is completely free for the candidates taken in.


GEMA event in Croatia: Women in the digital and creative industries

GEMA national event in Croatia was held on 14th of June 2016. The conference entitled "Women in the digital and creative industries" was organized with around 40 participants.  The aim of the event was to stimulate the debate on position of women in business, particularly in the ICT sector and creative industries, and to promote gender-equality in general, as well as creative and STEM occupations as a good choice of future career for young girls in the ICT sector. 


President of the the Croatian Employers' Association, Ms. Gordana Deranja, emphasized in her introductory speech: „The continued underrepresentation of women in management positions needs to be changed by cooperation of business, government and non-government sector. It is not the interest only for women, but also the companies as well as the whole society. All barriers, either mental or physical ones that stand in the way of achieving full equality between women and men, need to be removed as quickly as possible.” 


The Croatian Employers’ Association represents more than 6,000 companies and has made considerable efforts to encourage companies to hire more women in management positions, executive directors, members or presidents of management boards, as they are still significantly underrepresented in comparison to men.



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Association of Employers of Slovenia  - COORDINATOR

    • Dimičeva 9
    • 1000 Ljubljana
    • SI - Slovenia

EUROCOOP - Institute for European Research and Development

    • Vodovodna cesta 99a
    • 1000 Ljubljana
    • SI - Slovenia

Business Confederation of Macedonia

    • Vasil Gorgov 11
    • 1000 Skopje
    • MK - Macedonia

Bulgarian Industrial Association - Union of the Bulgarian Business

    • Alabin street 16-20
    • 1000 Sofia
    • BG - Bulgaria

Croatian Employers` Association

    • Radnička cesta 52/1 floor
    • 10000 Zagreb
    • HR - Croatia

University of Wolverhampton

    • Wulfruna St, Wolverhampton
    • West Midlands WV1 1LY
    • UK - United Kingdom