Photos: Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
Promoting women’s participation in the IT sector, decreasing the gender pay gap, improving the work-life balance were some of the topics discussed by the High Level Group on Gender Mainstreaming. The event, which was organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social policy in cooperation with the European Commission, took place in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia.
“The professional participation of women in the IT sector has its specific challenges, but it is undeniable that participating in this predominantly male sector women actually contribute to the development of modern society,” said Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Rositsa Dimitrova at the opening of the meeting.
“The subject of equality between women and men is very important in the context of our common endeavour to modernise the European social model and to attain the objectives of Europe 2020. Realising the right to work, ensuring equal access to employment and empowering women are among Bulgaria’s priorities in the changing world of work,” said Deputy Minister Dimitrova.
The focus in the agenda of the forum was the presentation of a study on “Equality between women and men in the digital world” conducted by the European Institute for Gender Equality. The research data indicate that, in the EU, only 16.7% of the specialist in the IT sector are women. Bulgaria tops the ranking with 30%, followed by Romania (26%), Latvia and Lithuania (25% each). At the bottom are Slovakia and the Czech Republic were women in the sector are 9% and 11%, accordingly.
Another conclusion from the study is that women in the ICT sector are better paid compared to women in the other economic sectors. They are paid 13% lower salaries than men which is a lower pay gap compared to other professional spheres. Experts also discussed an EU Action Plan 2017-2019 on addressing the gender pay gap.
The High Level Group on Gender Mainstreaming was set up in 2001. Its members include representatives of the bodies responsible for the implementation of the gender equality policies at the national level in the EU Member States. The group is led by the European Commission and meets twice a year in the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU.