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.