GEMA news

Press release: Women still under-represented in decision-making bodies in traditionally male South Eastern Europe countries

Women are under-represented in many aspects of decision-making in the economy. This is especially evident at the level of top management teams and boards where, as a new research shows, the majority of companies especially in the South Eastern Europe (SEE), still have no or few women in leadership positions. This is not only a social concern but also a serious matter for businesses and their competitiveness since research has shown how gender diversity on boards can positively impact company performance. 

SEE still has predominantly male boards

In the last decades, we have witnessed much progress in improving gender equality in the European Union. Female employment rates have increased from 54.8% in 2003 to 58.8% in 2013, and almost 60% of university graduates are female. Yet, women continue to be under-represented in leadership positions. This is especially evident in boardrooms where, on average in large listed companies, women hold only about 20% of board positions 

New GEMA survey results show the under-representation of women on boards of directors in SEE countries. 35% of responding companies had male-only boards (13% female-only boards). Only 19% of responding companies would currently meet the European Commission’s recommendation to have at least 40% representation of each gender on their boards. As far as top management teams are concerned, the data show more gender diversity at this level of decision-making team.  14% of responding companies had male-only TMTs (11% female-only TMTs), and 35% had a female CEO.  

Trapped under the glass ceiling or in the glass labyrinth?

GEMA research disclosed that main barriers to achieve gender balance are organisational cultures and practices, women`s views of themselves, lack of importance attached to the topic, gender stereotypes, multiple roles and work-life balance and also patriarchal social norms. 

Respondents agreed that barriers to gender diversity in boards and top management teams are complex and multi-faceted, ranging from deeply ingrained social norms, to individuals’ attitudes and behaviors, to gender-biased organisational cultures and practices. 

Glass Labyrinth is a metaphor proposed by Alice Eagly and Linda Carli in 2007. They argue that the existing Glass Ceiling  description of an invisible barrier on woman`s climbing up the corporate ladder can be mis-leading because it implies a single obstacle at one point in women’s career paths while the metaphor of a Glass Labyrinth symbolises the complexity of barriers to succeed, in GEMA research findings evidented as: (1) A high-level theme that emerged from the GEMA research data was that traditional social norms and values create a powerful impediment to women progressing to leadership positions. Even though equal opportunity legislation exists in all the countries, these deep-seated traditions about gender roles shape the discourse and behavior in both public and private domains. 

(2) A second high-level theme from our data is how women view themselves and their career paths. Strongly linked with wider socialisation into gender roles, our respondents noted that many women may not wish to put themselves in the limelight, under-estimate their own abilities or simply do not have enough role models to follow.

(3) These views are reinforced through discourses that stereotype female leaders, which are often associated with their perceived femininity, or lack of feminine qualities. Several respondents noted that this form of stereotyping creates a Catch 22 scenario that serves as a barrier to women putting themselves forward for high profile positions.

(4) Finally, there are also barriers at the organisational level. First and foremost, respondents stressed that gender diversity in decision-making teams is not on the agenda of many companies, and if it is, it tends to have a low priority compared to other initiatives. 

Why can balanced teams work better?

Based on the evidence from surveys, interviews and good practice case studies, results show that: 

(1) more gender-diverse boards are strongly associated with strategic task performance, and a higher proportion of females on board is associated with higher levels of service task performance, 

(2) talented staff can and do progress, 

(3) women constitute an important consumer group thus there`s a need to capture their voice in top decision-teams, 

(4) improving gender diversity is important for social justice reasons, but there is also a persuasive business case. Gender diversity in boardrooms and management teams is associated with better team dynamics and team outcomes which ultimately affect companies’ financial and social performance.

Awareness raising events in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Slovenia

At the International Women`s Day 2016 awareness raising events are organised in research countries Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Macedonia.

SLOVENIA.

Conference on the benefits of balanced teams in leadership positions “JIN AND YANG OF A SUCCESSFUL TEAM” will be held on 8th of March in Ljubljana. The conference will host dr. Sonja Robnik from the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Sonja Šmuc, executive director of the Association of Managers and representatives of successful Slovenian companies. All present at the conference will be addressed by National Assembly Vice-President, MSc. Bojana Muršič, MSc. Tanja Fajon, MEP and Jože Smole, ZDS Secretary General. Five representatives of recognized Slovenian companies will speak at the round table about the benefits of balanced teams on leadership positions. 

BULGARIA.

On 7 March, in Sofia, the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) together with the Association of women entrepreneurs in Bulgaria (Selena) hold a special discussion meeting entitled "Gender balance in business - let's break the Glass Ceiling" dedicated to the International Women's Day and within the promotional campaign of the European GEMA project (Gender-Equal Management Approach, funded by the EU Progress programme). Stakeholders invited to the discussion are representatives of the Ministry of labor and social policy, Ministry of Economy, a member of the European Parliament, Confederation of independent trade unions in Bulgaria, Gender Project Foundation, Council of Women in Business, companies and media.

MACEDONIA.

Celebrating International Woman’s Day, Business Confederation of Macedonia and the Association of Business Women will organize the discussion on 'Gender balance in BUSINESS – let’s tear down the GLASS CEILING' which is scheduled to be held on 8th of March 2016 in the Conference Hall of the Business Confederation of Macedonia.

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GEMA celebrates International Women’s Day in Macedonia with discussion on gender balance in business

Celebrating International Woman’s Day, Business Confederation of Macedonia and the Association of Business Women will organize the discussion on 'Gender balance in BUSINESS – let’s tear down the GLASS CEILING' which is scheduled to be held on 8th of March 2016 in the Conference Hall of the Business Confederation of Macedonia.

Discussion will take place as part of the Operational Plan for the GEMA project, which aims to show that improving gender balance on boards and senior management teams enriches the dynamics of the board and leads to better governance. 

For more information see the invitation attached.

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GEMA campaign on gender balance in business - Let's break the Glass Ceiling

On 7 March, in Sofia, the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) together with the Association of women entrepreneurs in Bulgaria (Selena) will hold a special discussion meeting entitled "Gender balance in business - let's break the Glass Ceiling" dedicated to the International Women's Day and within the promotional campaign of the European GEMA project (Gender-Equal Management Approach, funded by the EU Progress programme)

Stakeholders invited to the discussion are representatives of the Ministry of labor and social policy, Ministry of Economy, a member of the European Parliament, Confederation of independent trade unions in Bulgaria, Gender Project Foundation, Council of Women in Business, companies and media.

For more information please visit: http://www.bia-bg.com/event/view/21714/

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New GEMA newsletter: Developing leadership talent in Croatia

In 2014, under the sponsorship of Ms Claudia Nemat, a board member of DT Group, an international educational programme called "Supervisory Board Readiness Programme" was launched. The programme aims to improve the representation of women in the management of the company, and especially in Supervisory Boards of the companies within the DT Group. The programme has been designed and organised in cooperation with the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT). 29 women managers from different business areas were selected by the boards in the DT Group and attended the programme. 

 

 

You are warmly invited to read more in the newsletter, available in English, Slovenian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonian language.

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GEMA Conference on the benefits of balanced teams in leadership positions “JIN AND YANG OF A SUCCESSFUL TEAM”

At the International Women's Day, the Association of Employers of Slovenia ZDS organizes GEMA Conference on the benefits of balanced teams in leadership positions:

 

JIN AND YANG OF A SUCCESSFUL TEAM

8th of March 2016, 9:00 to 13:00

Blue Hall, Hotel Union, Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

Have you ever wondered how and to what extent the gender balance influences the success of your business?

The question is of strategic importance. Within the framework of the conference we will demonstrate how gender balance on boards and senior management positions may lead to better performance of the team and enterprise, better governance and greater involvement of stakeholders. 

The program of the conference consists of three parts. In the first part the subject will be presented trough lectures, in the second part round table "The importance of a balanced team" will take place, and in the third part open discussion with the participants of the conference in an attractive format of World Café will be performed.

 

Lecturers and participants

The conference will host dr. Sonja Robnik from the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Sonja Šmuc, executive director of the Association of Managers and representatives of successful Slovenian companies. All present at the conference will be addressed by National Assembly Vice-President, MSc. Bojana Muršič, MSc. Tanja Fajon, MEP and Jože Smole, ZDS Secretary General.

 

Who is the conference for?

Doors of the conference are widely open for all representatives of enterprises, social partners and interested public who wish to acquire new knowledge and ideas for the regulation of the subject in their company or organization, and to listen to excellent examples of good practices in the field of gender equality, already implemented in Slovenia. 

 

Programme and registration

Attendance at the conference is free of charge. 

The number of places is limited, therefore your registration will be accepted until Friday, 4th of March 2016 to the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PROGRAMME (SI) 

PROGRAMME (EN)

 

We look forward to seeing you! 

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Bulgarian Fund for Women recruits participants in the Academy of women’s rights FEMPOWER

Academy of women’s rights “Fempower” is a week-long training program, in which employees and volunteers of non-governmental organizations will receive theoretical knowledge on the topics of gender equality, history of women’s movement and feminism, gender and media stereotyping and discrimination, as well as practical skills fundraising, events, lobbying, leadership and others.

After completion of the Academy each participant in it will be able to develop its organization project related to gender equality and women’s rights. Bulgarian Fund for Women will support the realization of one of the proposals with 5000 Lev.

For more information please visit: http://bgfundforwomen.org/

Deadline: February 28, 2016

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Bulgaria: National scholarship program “For Women in Science” of L’Oreal and UNESCO

In the scholarship program for 2015 – 2016 women from across Bulgaria to the age of 35 years who study in doctoral programs or already have a doctorate and dealing with research in the field of natural sciences may be involved.

Three scholarships of € 5000 each will be awarded to women scientists in order to support their research in Bulgaria and encourage them to continue their academic.

For more information, please visit: http://www.zajenitevnaukata.bg/

Deadline: 15.02.2016 

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From the latest GEMA newsletter: Macedonian good practice

In Macedonia, according to current research and information available from the field work with companies, the situation with the number of women in management positions is becoming better and better. More women receive inspiration and desire to stand on top of the hierarchy in certain companies and thus to be good at their work, to show their qualities, even sometimes to overcome the qualities of the already outdated positions of managers who are leading towards the traditional and stereotypical placement. 

 

 

You are warmly invited to read more in the newsletter, available in English, Slovenian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonian language.

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How the gender pay gap differs in countries across Europe

Women across the world have effectively been working for free since 9th of November every year, because of pervasive gender pay gap. According to the article, published in the Independent, in many countries, the situation is even worse for ethnic minority women: in the US, for example, women as a whole earn 74 cents for every dollar a man earns, but the figure for black women is just 60 cents, and Latina women, 56.

In the EU, the situation is generally better, but not one member country has achieved gender parity in the workplace yet.

See the data regarding gender gap pay form Eurostat explained in The Independent article on the link bellow:

http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/how-the-gender-pay-gap-differs-in-countries-across-europe--bJ0md0zkox

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New GEMA newsletter: Bulgarian good practice

The Leadership Academy has been launched in Bulgaria in 2014 and continuated in 2015 by one of the powerful business gender equality supporting women’s organisations. The academy fosters the personal and professional development of women in mid-level management positions.  

 

 

You are warmly invited to read more about the Leadership Academy in the newsletter, available in English, Slovenian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Macedonian language.

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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