Gender Equality in Bulgaria
Flag of Bulgaria
|Population (in Mil.)||7.35|
|Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB)||53.51|
|Sex Ratio (m/f)||0.92|
|Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m)||1.103|
|Income Ratio (f/m)||0.68|
|Literacy Ratio (f/m)||0.99|
|Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m)||1.16|
|Women in Parliament (in %)||22.1|
|Human Development Index||55/169|
|Social Institutions and Gender Index||- /86|
|Gender Inequality Index||36/138|
|Gender Equity Index||27/157|
|Women’s Economic Opportunity Index||20/113|
|Global Gender Gap Index||50/134|
|More information on variables|
Accession to the European Union in 2007 accelerated Bulgaria's adoption of gender equality legislation in line with the obligation to abide by the 'acquis communautaire' (the body of EU law which acceding countries must implement). Despite a series of new legislation in the past decade, there remains widespread inequality in employment and political participation.
The Constitution and the Labour Code both contain provisions prohibiting discrimination. Discrimination on grounds on gender is also prohibited under the Promotion of Employment Act, the Civil Servants Act, the Social Assistance Act, Defence and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria Act. Protection against Discrimination Act entered into force in 2004. Bulgaria ratified CEDAW in 2006.
The Employment Promotion Act (2002) forbids discriminatory requirements related to gender, age or nationality when posting job vacancies. Further amendments to the Labour Code entered into force in August 2004. Among others it prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, age, political and religious matters in relation to work. Also provides protective rules on pregnant women. In 2005 the first National Action Plan for Gender Equality Promotion was implemented, adopted with a Decision of the Council of Ministers. With the National Plans the institutions and organizations include the subjects of equal treatment in their programmes.
In 2004, the activity rate for women was 45.4% and for men 56.1%. Women’s activity rate has been decreasing for the past
years. In 2004 the unemployment rate was 11.6% for women and 12.4% for men. The salary gap between men and women is 18 percentage points. Women comprised 35 % of total employees in the agricultural sector, 42% in the industrial sector and 53% in service sector in 2001. Women made up 51.7% of total employees in the public sector and 45.5% in the private sector.
Most occupations generally exercised by women - eg teachers, auxiliary medical staff, staff in hotels, catering and services, and auxiliary staff - are widely perceived, based on social stereotypes, as 'female' work. This type of employment does not offer many opportunities from the point of view of pay range, career development and possibilities to participate in the decision-making process. The number of occupations where men are in the majority exceeds almost seven-fold the number of occupations dominated by women. These 'male' profession are also, as a rule, more prestigious. Even when women have administrative or managerial work, most often they are managers at the low or middle level. The key positions in areas such as entrepreneurship, freelance work and politics are taken exclusively by men, with only few exceptions.
The Bulgarian education system does not show discrimination of a certain gender. Enrollement data does not picture a gender gap. In 2001, 61.7% of the university graduates were women. However, the cut backs of the goverment on public spending, especially concearning education, affect the female population more than male, since mostly women are employed as teachers in this country.
In Bulgaria, the life expectancy at birth is 74 years for both sexes, females have a higher life expectancy average rate with 77 years, whereas men can expect an average of 70 years. Thus, men in the Bulgaria both genders have a higher average life expectancy compared to the global average of 66 years for men and 71 years for women. The adult mortality rate (per 1000 adults between 15-59 years) remains fairly high with 146 compared to the global average of 176. The maternal mortality ratio is measured with 13 deaths per 100000 live births, which is low when considering the global average of 260 deaths. The under-5 mortality rate has moderatly decreased from 1990 till today, and is stated as 11 deaths per 1000 live births, which includes both sexes and is below the global average of 60 deaths. Prevalence of HIV occurs in one case per 1000 adultus aged from 15-49 years, which is far below the average of 8 cases globally. The prevalence of tuberculosis is also lower with 51 cases per 100000, than the global average with 201 cases. Tobacco smoking shows some contrast between the genders; 49% of 15+ years old men are regular smokers, but only 38% of women smoke regularly. Very little gender difference is found concearning obisity rates; 20% of the male adult 20+ population and 22,4% of females are considered to suffer from obesity.
Women in Bulgaria won the right to vote in 1944. There are currently two female ministers in the government of Sergey Stanishev, elected in 2005.
- ILO, "Facts and Figures about Gender Equality in Bulgaria", [www.ilo.org/public/english/region/eurpro/budapest/download/gender/bulgaria.pdf]
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.
For detailed information on Bulgaria, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Bulgaria page.