BULGARIAN GENDER EQUALITY COALITION

Aim for creation:

The legislation, civil society and institutions in Bulgaria to start working in compliance with the European gender equality standards.

The Bulgarian Gender Equality Coalition (BGEC) is an informal group uniting representatives of civil society, institutions, political parties and the media in Bulgaria, which works for achieving de facto equal opportunities for women and men in Bulgaria.

The initiator of its creation is Stanimira Hadjimitova - the Gender Task Force Stability Pact NGO Focal Point for Bulgaria.

The women's movement in Bulgaria has made a great success in the years after the IV-th World Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995. Many NGOs have been set up both in the capital and the country. National Plan for Action (1996-1997) has been designed with the joint efforts of the governmental institutions and NGOs and a lot of information materials about the key documents of the Conference in Beijing issued.

Especially active were the women who worked on violence against women issue and on political and economical women's empowerment. As a result of the efforts made, today Bulgaria have more women elected in the local authorities and the Parliament. After the last Parliamentary Elections 2001 there are 26.5% women MPs. In September 2003 the Bill on Prevention against Discrimination was adopted covering the gender equality issue as well; draft law on Prevention against Domestic Violence was designed and entered the Parliament.

At the National Equality Workshop held on 20 February 2004 in Sofia, 93 participants found unanimously that despite the successes achieved so far, the moment was critical and further joint efforts and activities were needed to guarantee the irreversibility of the process.

The following document became basis for the common work:

BULGARIAN GENDER EQUALITY COALITION

"Legislation, Civil Society and Institutions in Bulgaria Working in Compliance with the Gender Equality European Standards"

The Bulgarian Gender Equality Coalition (BGEC) is an informal group uniting representatives of civil society, institutions, political parties and media in Bulgaria, which works for achieving de facto equal opportunities for women and men in Bulgaria. It is an open structure, set up on 3 April 2000 as a network of "Gender Task Force - Bulgaria" organisations to the Stability Pact.

Objectives (2004 - 2005)

  • Achieving a broader representativeness of women in legislative and executive power in the year 2005 - minimum 30% women in the Parliament and 40% women in leading positions - ministers, deputy ministers and district governors;
  • Assisting in the implementation of Bill on Prevention against Discrimination implementation;
  • Adoption of the Bill about Prevention against Domestic Violence.

For achieving its objectives, the Bulgarian Gender Equality Coalition created three Working groups with the task till end of May, 2004 three Project Proposals on the respective a.m. topics to be prepared. It was also planned in June a Donors Conference to be called for their financing.

Follow up activities of the Bulgarian Gender Equality Coalition:

  1. On March 1st the newly established Network of Women Social democrats became a member of the Coalition;
  2. On March 4th St. Hadjimitova met the Chair of the newly formally established Network of Women Liberals to present the Coalition and to invite them to join. Within 10 days their answer is expected;
  3. On March 8th the Coalition was launched by Press conference;
  4. On March 10th the official Letter to the Spiker of the Parliament for appointment of Deputy Ombuds on Gender Equality was sent by St Hadjimitova. The text with arguments was written by Prof. Nora Anannieva from Solidarity Foundation;
  5. The three project proposals were elaborated and presented by Pavlina Filipova (WAD), Iliana Stoycheva (BGRF) and Stanimira Hadjimitova (GPF) at the Donors Conference on June 14th, 2004. Five donors came out of 25 invited. The Information Center to the Council of Europe in Sofia suggested to provide premises for free for the future Coalition meetings.
  6. On October 27th, 2004 the Coalition had its next meeting in hotel "Rila", Adakta Hall on the topic "Preparation for participation in Beijing+10 process". The meeting was supported by Gender Task Force and its Chair Sonja Lokar took part in it. The decision was made a Letter to be send to the Government with the suggestion 3 women from NGO sector to be included in the official delegation for the UNECE Regional Preparatory Meeting in Geneva for the 10-year Review of Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, 12-15 December 2004. The Letter was written by Genoveva Tisheva, the Director of BGRF, signed by Stanimira Hadjimitova too and sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. No answer was received till November 22nd.