“Over the years BCCI has worked in favour of female entrepreneurship by taking part in European, regional and national projects to promote the broad participation of women in business”, said Radka Stamenova, Member of the Executive Council of BCCI, Chair of the Bulgarian Association of Women Entrepreneurs and President of Business and Professional Women at a national round table discussion dedicated to “European and national policies to secure the promotion of women in entrepreneurship and the labour market”. BCCI assists the Bulgarian Information Office of the European Parliament in cooperation with “Manager” magazine.
Women are still too modestly represented in Bulgarian institutions, Mrs. Stamenova noted. Only 23% of the members of parliament are women, 6.7% - mayors, 26% municipal counselors and 19% are board members of various institutions.
The second representative of BCCI that took part in the event was Mrs. Olga Sandova – Krasteva, Executive Director of Automotor Corporation AD and member of the Board of Directors of BCCI.
According to data of the National Statistical Institute in 2010 men received an average annual salary of BGN 8 614 as compared to BGN 6 953 earned by women, the difference amounting to BGN 1 661, said Mrs. Violeta Staninich of the European Parliament, Sofia Office. According to her, even in the field of medicine and social works where more women are usually employed, the difference in salaries between the two sexes is BGN 3 370 or 31.7%. Even in public governance women are paid BGN 1 495 less than men. According to Mrs. Staninich, the gloomier news is that in market economy and the conditions of competition and crisis the proportion stays permanently high and the gap remains hard to bridge. It is troubling that in past years the difference in payment between sexes in Bulgaria has increased: in 2008 it amounted to BGN 1 277, in 2009 – BGN 1 541, and in 2010 it reached BGN 1 661, Mrs. Staninich added.
Gender discrimination is felt most by women in the age group between 35 and 44, who are paid 21% on average less than men. The reason for this is that women bear the family burden, take low paid or unpaid maternity leaves, work part time and very often are employees rather than executives, the Information Office of the European Parliament in our country said.
Similar tendency is noted in Portugal, France, Latvia and Romania. The round table was organized by the Bulgarian Information Office of the European Parliament, in cooperation with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and “Manager” Magazine. The national Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev, the ambassadors of UK, Denmark, Norway, as well as the European MPs Antonia Parvanova and Maria Nedelcheva were among the participants.
According to data of the European Commission only 13.7% of the board members at Europe's top firms are women, as compared to 2010 when their number was 11.8%. According to European Commissioner Viviane Reding, at this rate of “inclusion” of women in the highest levels, it would take Europe more than 40 years to reach a significant gender balance (at least 40% of women).