BULGARIA
NATIONAL ACTION PLAN

(In implementation of the commitments of the Republic of
Bulgaria undertaken at the UN Fourth World Conference on 
Women, Beijing, 1995)

     The final documents (Declaration and Platform for Action)
adopted with consensus at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women
(September 1995, Beijing), denote a culmination of the noble
efforts of the UN and the multitude of women's nongovernmental
organizations dedicated to the cause of women's rights. This
stage in the process of strengthening gender equality has been
preceded by long years of efforts on behalf of the international
community for recognition and achievement of legal and actual
equality of women and men, dated back since the founding of the
UN fifty years ago.

     The UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995
outlined the need for recognition of women's rights as an
integral pad of the complex of universal human rights and the
related freedoms, such as:
democratic state system, political pluralism, free and democratic
elections, division of power, market economy, role and
contribution of nongovernmental organizations, empowerment of
women in all domains of life, in particular in the process of
decision making in the political, economic and social spheres of
life. Last but not least comes the importance assigned to the
sexual and reproductive rights of women.

     The National Action Plan has been designed for
implementation of the moral and political commitments undertaken
by the Republic of Bulgaria at the UN Fourth World Conference on
Women, September 1995, Beijing, China.

The National Action Plan is based on:

. Strategic objectives and measures set forth in the final
documents adopted by the Conference - the Declaration and the
Platform for Action;

. The Government policy for social and economic development of
this country, the Government current plans and priorities for
legislative initiatives;

. Traditions and specific characteristics of the status of
women in society, the new situation and problems related to the
transition from one to another social formation, different in
principle;

. The progress on problems pertaining to gender equality and
equitable treatment of women in Bulgaria, in the legislative and
other regulative acts currently in force in this  country, on the
one hand, and on the other hand - the actual status of women in
the various spheres of social life;

. Development of the international cooperation and the national
policy for active participation in the European and international
organizations and structures;

. The proposals of various women's NGOs in this country.

     The objectives, the tasks and the concrete measures are in
conformity also with the international commitments of this
country and documents adopted by the UN, the Council of Europe,
and others such as:

. The Charter of the United Nations (pursuant to Article 56 the
member-countries undertake the obligation to take measures on
national and international levels, inclusive of such pertaining
to gender equality);

. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights;

. The Convention on Political Rights of Women;

. The Convention on Citizenship of Married Women;

. The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons
and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others;

. The ILO Convention (No. 100) on Gender Equality in the Sphere
of Labour;

. The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women, etc.;

. The final documents adopted at the UN World Conferences on
Women in Mexico City (1975), Copenhagen (1980) and Nairobi
(1985);

. The final documents adopted at the UN Conference in Copenhagen
(1995) on social development, etc.

     The preparation of the National Action Plan, and the
long-term objectives and strategies in particular, have taken in
consideration the trends and practices in developed industrial
countries for solving problems related to equitable treatment and
the achievement of legal as well as actual equality of women and
men.


     THE MAIN GOAL OF THE MEASURES IS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF REAL
EQUALITY AND DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN IN ALL SPHERES OF SOCIAL LIFE
ON THE BASIS OF SUSTAINABLE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND
REAFFIRMATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC CIVIL SOCIETY.

     According to the final documents adopted by the World
Conference on Women, the basic strategic objectives and
priorities, set forth therein are as follows:

. Ensuring and protection of the rights of women as an integral
part of human rights. Achievement of equality of men and women.

. Ensuring the rights of women in the spheres of labour, social
security and social assistance, as well as adherence to actions
for Implementation of such rights.

. Ensuring equal access of women to economic and political power
through their integration in the decision making processes at all
levels of economic, political and social life.

. Reduction of unemployment rates and increasing the employment
of women.

. Reduction and eradication of poverty and improvement of the
social assistance and welfare.

. Integration of women in activities related to protection of the
environment.

. Ensuring equal access of women to education and upgrading the
vocational training and qualifications of women and girls.

. Ensuring equal access of women to health and medical services.

. Prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against
women.

. Professional realization of women working in the sphere of
culture.

. Improving the role of the mass media for achievement of full
and true equality of women.

. Development of cooperation and interaction with
non-governmental organizations of women.



I.   ACTIVITIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGIC

OBJECTIVES

A. Protection of women's rights and their equality in society
1. Long-term tasks

1.1 Adoption of National Action Plan tor protection of human
rights and fundamental freedoms, inclusive of in respect of
women, in conformity with the recommendation of the World
Conference on Human Rights.

1.2. Establishment of a system for reporting on equality of women
and entering the respective information on this aspect of human
rights in all periodic reports on implementation of international
agreements on human rights, to which the Republic of Bulgaria is
a party.

1.3. Support to the process of elaboration and legal recognition.
within the Council of Europe, of the right of women and men to
equality.

1.4. Improving the availability of information and legal
education in respect of human rights, taking in consideration the
aspect of gender equality in the Government administration,
mostly in the law enforcement bodies. the penitentiaries. the
health establishments personnel, etc.

1.5. Review of the national legislation from the perspective of
ensuring equality of men and women.

1.6. Strict implementation of international commitments
undertaken by the Republic of Bulgaria in respect of gender
equality in society.

1.7. Establishment of an institution (committee, sub-committee)
on problems of gender equality with the National Assembly.

2. Mid-term tasks


2.1. Preparation and submission to the Committee for the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women of periodic reports
by the Republic of Bulgaria on implementation of the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
in compliance with the instructions of the Committee.


2.2. Support to the proposals of the Committee for the
elimination of discrimination against women, pertaining to
improving the performance and efficiency within its mandate at
the UN General Assembly and at meetings of the Convention
member-countries, including the amendment to Article 20,
paragraph (1), of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women.

2.3. Support to the initiative of the UN Commission on the Status
of Women for elaboration of Facultative Protocol to the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women, with regards to the authority of the Committee to
receive and consider appeals and statements by individuals and
nongovernmental organizations about violations of women's rights.

2.4. Confirmation of the statement for need of universalization
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and timely
preparation and submission of the periodic reports of the
Republic of Bulgaria on implementation of the above Convention.

B. Ensuring the rights of women in the sphere of labour, social
security and social assistance

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Gradual equalization of the rights of men and women in
Bulgaria in the field of insurance legislation.

1 2. Improving the access of women to the labour market.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.1. Submission to the National Assembly of a Bill on health
insurance, governing the right to provision of medical service
and cash compensations in the event of temporary work disability
(inclusive of the events of pregnancy and childbirth).

2.2. Establishment of "Ailment and Maternity" Fund with the
National Insurance Institute.

2.3. Submission to the National Assembly of a Bill on support
to families and children, governing the universalization and
uniform state financing of family allowances for all women,
regardless of their insurance status.

2.4. Establishment of centralized "Family Assistance* Fund,
financed by the state budget.

2.5. Submission to the National Assembly of a new Bill on
pensions, designed to reduce (eliminate) the difference in
retirement ages for men and women.

2.6. Stimulation of families by introducing tax reliefs for
children and unemployed through amendments to the Personal Income
Tax Act. 

2.7. Improvement of statistics on labour accidents by addition
of data about women.

C. Equal access of women to the political, economic and social
life in Bulgaria

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Elaboration of Programme for ensuring equal access of
women to economic and political power, for the purpose of initial
attainment of the 30 % threshold of women's participation in
senior positions, which shall enable them to take part in
economic and political decision making and to influence the
nature of the key decisions adopted.

1.2. Exercising of systematic control and evaluation of the
implementation of the Programme for ensuring equal access of
women to economic and political power. 

1.3. Establishment of regulative bodies and mechanisms for
practical implementation of such control.

1.4. Creating conditions for partnership and equal opportunities
for both spouses in providing the family income and in bringing
up and education of children as well, in view of support for more
active participation of women in social life and government.

1.5. Adoption of measures for selection of women from all over
the country, who have the necessary qualifications for senior
positions. The relevant information should be maintained and
updated in a specialized data base.

1.6. Elaboration of programmes for career development of women
of all ages, including career planning, tutorship, instructions,
vocational training and retraining.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.1. Conducting systematic research, studies and analyses of
public opinion, for the purpose of evaluating the relationship
between high work load of women on the one hand, and their
patterns of behaviour in respect of fertility and their role as
mentors of the young generation on the other hand, in order to
provide conditions for women to choose on their own the periods
and forms of their professional engagements and their development
as full members of a modern civil society.

2.2. Introduction of rules for providing a quota for
participation of women on delegations to fora of the UN and other
international organizations.

D. Increase of employment and reduction of unemployment among
women

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Providing Incentives to employers to assign women to
appropriate Jobs, through tax reliefs, introduction of quota
principles for hiring new employees, etc. 

1 2. Introduction of measures for combining the labour activity
of women with maternity, inclusive of more comprehensive use of
flexible forms of employment, including also elaboration of
National Programme for part-time (hour-based) employment of women

1.3. Development of a network of services providing additional
vocational training for reintroduction of women to the labour
market.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.l. Submission to the National Assembly of a Bill on insurance
against unemployment, promotion of employment and vocational
training.

2.2. Establishment of mechanisms for stimulating the application
of "flexible forms of employment", which will enable both women
and men to combine their productive and family obligations:
reduced working hours, hour-based employment, employment at home,
etc.

2.3. Introduction of active measures on the labour market,
taking In consideration the problems of unemployment among women;
stimulation of entrepreneurship and self-employment, especially
for young women; training and retraining of young mothers, etc.

2.4. Introduction of measures for enhancing the access of women
to vocational training and to means for self-employment. 

E. Reducing the poverty among women and improvement of social
assistance and social welfare

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Development of Programme for curbing the poverty among
women, inclusive of through the socio-economic policies on income
and a National Programme for part-time (hour-based) employment of
women.

1.2. Expansion of the range of services for rehabilitation and
social integration of physically disabled women, elimination of
transport and architectural obstacles, access to services in the
sphere of culture, etc.

1.3. Introduction with priority of alternative forms of social
services and reintegration of various dependent groups of women,
inclusive of elderly women.

1.4. Improvement of the material base and stimulating of new,
more flexible forms of social services.

2.   Mid-term tasks

2.1. Conducting a representative survey of poverty In Bulgaria,
inclusive of poverty among women (rates, reasons,
characteristics), as well as monitoring of poverty on regional
level.

2.2. Submission to the National Assembly of a Bill on social
welfare designed to guarantee the right to social assistance and
services to the benefit of risk groups with persistent social
problems, inclusive of such of women.

2.3. Updating the regulative provisions on target and additional
benefits for families exposed to social risks.

2.4. Development of a pilot programme for centralized settlement
of payments with the National Energy Company in regions with
compact Romany population.

2.5. Updating of regulative provisions pertaining to support
for obtaining of medicines and foods with curative properties.

2.6. Preparation of mechanisms for tax reliefs and Government
procurement orders for employers of the physically disabled and
for specialized enterprises which employ physically disabled
women as well.

2.7. Granting of universal allowance for integration, designated
to cover all additional expenses for transport, communications
and rehabilitation services to more than 100 000 physically
disabled women.

2.8. Balanced distribution of social welfare establishments
according to the needs for social services by regions and
centralized financing of establishments with inter-municipal
functions.

2.9. Stimulation for development of the network of establishments
for children and women counselling.

2.10. Amendment to the Tariff of Local Fees under the Local
Taxes and Fees Act, intended to stimulate the establishment and
attendance of various forms of daycare for handicapped children.



F. Upgrading the vocational training and qualifications of
women and girls In Bulgaria. Ensuring equal access of women to
education

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Elaboration of a Programme for upgrading the legal
education of girls and women, as well as a programme for family
education.

1.2. Training of girls and women in the specifics of government
operations, public statements, conducting of political campaigns,
etc.

1.3. Establishment of quotas for girls by professions, mostly
assumed as professions for men, such as: information technology,
precision mechanical and optical engineering, entrepreneurship,
management, construction, mechanical engineering, chemical
industry, etc.

1.4. Providing extensive Information to women and girls about
their rights, by enrollment to classes in human rights within the
curricula of high schools and higher education establishments.

1.5. Development of a network of Youth Information and
Counselling Offices (YICO), which covers also problems of women.

1.6. Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and its introduction for study in high schools.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.1. Development and stabilization of the education system,
including an Act on Amendments to the People's Education Act.

2.2. Elaboration of Concept for the development of secondary
education, as well as:

. Programme for application of the Concept for the development
of secondary education;

. Methodology for elaboration of State educational
requirements;

. Guidelines for organization of extra-curricular and
extra-school activities of pupils, inclusive of such of girls;

. Guidelines for the contents and organization of activities of
class/course tutors in Bulgarian schools, designed to revive the
traditions of our schools in developing amateur art activities,
mass pupil sports and tourism; education of citizens-patriots.

2.3. Incorporation in the List of professions for training
mostly of women business-secretaries, seamstresses - professions
in the sphere of services, hotel administration, etc., in view of
expansion of the opportunities for enrolment of more girls in the
training process and also considering the transition to market
economy.

2.4. Development of pre-vocational training at secondary
general schools and development of programmes for professional
fields enabling most of the girls to acquire general modern
economic literacy; formation of skills for economical and
efficient management of the family budget; skills for proper
economic choice, etc.

2.5. Programmes for acquiring professional qualifications after
secondary education within the system of vocational education,
such that offer qualifications according to the demand on the
labour market and the needs of the person, in the fields of
clothes making, housekeeping; chambermaids, waitresses, cooks,
salespersons, etc.

2.6. Conducting of sociological survey "Bulgarian youth in the
environment of transition".

2.7. Organization of training in carpet making, weaving,
knitting, sewing, family tourism, etc., in view of meeting the
needs for education and as response to the demand of the labour
market, as well as preservation of old-time Bulgarian crafts for
girls and women in small and mountain community systems.

2.8. Organization of the elaboration of special textbooks and
teaching facilities for teaching of Bulgarian language in primary
education of Romany children.

2.9. Bringing the wages of pedagogical staff in compliance with
their work and the social importance of their professions.

G. Ensuring full and adequate participation of women in
environment protection and reduction of ecological risks to their
health

     1.   Long-term tasks

1 .1. Ensuring full access of women to management of the
environment.

1.1.1. Preparation of Regulation for participation of the
public in the process of decision making pertaining to the
environment and for access to ecological information. A
work group shall be established for that purpose, with
participation of non-governmental organizations.

1.2. Expansion and improving the efficiency of ecological
training and education.

     1.2.1.    Elaboration of National Strategy for ecological
training and education by an interdepartmental advisory group.
One of the major emphases of this strategy should be the
ecological training of women and the promotion of their educative
role in respect of environment protection.

     1.2.2.    Elaboration of training and supporting written
materials for ecological training of pupils in primary and
secondary schools.

     1.2.3.    Enhancing the role and improving the quality of
ecological training in higher education schools.

     1.2.4.     Conducting of large-scale public campaigns on
environment issues under the auspices of the Ministry of
Environment. The first campaign is expected to be on "Ecology In
Bulgarian homes", elucidating issues such as: safe use of
household chemical preparations; eventual hazards related to the
use of dyes, varnishes, glues, etc., and their prevention or
neutralization; economical use of electrical power; ionizing and
non-ionizing types of radiation in the home and their effect on
human health; methods for filtration of potable water; the role
of green plants in the home, etc.


1.3. Study of the expertise of JICA - the Japanese International
Cooperation Agency, with which the Ministry of Environment keeps
close relations. This Agency has launched the programme
"Participation of Women in the Process of Environment
Protection", applied with success in Japan. JICA could eventually
finance the development and implementation of similar programme
in Bulgaria.

2. Mid-term tasks

     2.1. Conducting sociological surveys, focused on the
attitude of women towards environmental problems.

     2.2. Promoting the participation of women in activities
related to environment protection, through elaboration of
programmes and projects for Involvement of women in protection of
nature, ecological tourism, planting, ecologically-oriented
agriculture, etc.

          2.2.1. The project "Women in Defence of Biological
Diversity" (in their capacity of educators and keepers of
traditional knowledge), which could be integrated in the
Bulgarian-Swiss programme "Biological Diversity" launched by the
Ministry of Environment, as well as the project "Protection of
the Biological Diversity in the Central Balkan Mountain and the
Rila Mountain", funded by the GEF.

          2.2.2 International project of the Ministry of
Environment "Agro-ecology water quality in the basin of Yantra
River", financed by the USAID, including training of women from
rural areas for proper composting of green waste, household waste
and manure. This could result in the prevention of additionally
introduced pollution from agricultural activities, i.e. it could
provide a basis for development of ecologically-oriented
agriculture in Bulgaria.

          2.2.3. Development of a project "lnvolvement of
unemployed women in ecological activities" together with the
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, aimed at providing
opportunities for seasonal employment of unemployed women in
planting and cleaning activities, gathering of mushrooms or
curative plants, activities related to ecological tourism, etc.


2.3. Provision of healthy environment.

          2.3.1.    Alleviation of hazardous environmental
impacts on the health of children and the health and fertility of
women through the introduction of integrated measures tor
Improvement of the ecological situation in this country.

          2.3.2.    Preparation and integration of a project
entitled "Children's Ecology" in the National Action Plan
"Environment and Health", in two major stages: Stage 1 -
development of a system of ecological parameters pertaining to
the health of children, and Stage 2 - application of developed
system for making complex evaluation of the health of children in
various selected regions in the country, exposed to ecological
hazards.

          2.3.3.    Encouraging the production of clean and
ecologically-compliant products by elaboration of Regulation tor
labelling of ecologically clean goods fin compliance with the
requirements of Article 14 and Article 24, sub-paragraph 7  of
the EPA), and to regulate in particular (as initial stage) the
certification, for example, of child foods, cosmetics and
chemical preparations used in the home.

     H.   Ensuring equal access of women to health care and
medical services

     1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Preservation of the reproductive health of women, increase
of birth rates.

1.2. Reduction of morbidity rates in respect of widely spread
diseases: cardiovascular and malignant diseases.

1.3. Development of health care structures.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.1. Dissemination of health knowledge in the field of family
planning, inclusive of providing contraceptives and measures
against too early pregnancy.

2.2. Improving the operation of women counselling establishments.

2.3. Development of genetic screening.

2.4. Providing conditions for quality obstetric care.

2.5. Development of screening methods for early detection of
diseases.

2.6. Improvement of the quality of life through reduction of
hazardous habits, rational feeding and optimum motory behaviour.

2.7. Providing affordable and qualified medical care.

1. Prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against
women and by women

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Elaboration of National Programme Against Crime, with
special focus on women as subjects and objects of criminal acts.

1.2. Conducting of large-scale sociological survey of crimes
against women.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.1. Submission to the National Assembly of a Bill on
Amendments to the Ministry of Interior Act.

2.2. Condemnation of all forms of violence against women,
inclusive of such in the family, as violation of their rights and
fundamental freedoms.

2.3. Providing better information availability to the specialized
units of the MI, by means of subscriptions for Western
publications, providing printed materials and films in the
language of the original for the purpose of upgrading the
qualifications of the personnel, etc.

2.4. Reinstatement of traditions in shooting practice for female
employees within the system of the Ministry of Interior.

J. Solving the problems of women related to gender equality in
society, with the peaceful means of culture and cultural
interaction

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Rendering assistance for peaceful settlement of conflicts
and for establishment of peace, as well as for fostering
tolerance with the support of education, programmes for cultural
exchange between young people and between young women in
particular.

1.2. Providing incentives for research on issues of peace, as
well as the participation of women in national, regional and
International peace movements

1.3. Influence on peace processes through work in the sphere of
mutual knowledge of foreign cultures.

1.4. Formation of unconventional mechanisms (mostly cultural) for
prevention of violence and settlement of conflicts.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.1. Organization and dissemination of studies of the
disastrous consequences of armed conflicts in respect of women.

2.2. Examination of opportunities for elaboration of curricula
for children aimed at popularization of world culture, In order
to rear a spirit of tolerance at the youngest age.

2.3. Promotion of inter-cultural contacts in line with bilateral
and multilateral cooperation, as the most efficient way to
organize encounters between different value systems, designed to
overcome xenophobia, racism and religious bigotry, which are
major threats to peace.

K. Improving the role of the mass media for achievement of full
and true gender equality

1. Elaboration of Strategy in the field of communications and the
mass media for comprehensive discussion on the new relationships
between men and women in society and in the family.

L. Cooperation and interaction with non-governmental women's and
other organizations for solving the problems of women

1. Long-term tasks

1.1. Adoption of legislative measures against all forms of
violence against women, with the active participation of women's
NGOs, etc.

1.2. Establishment of a contact group, comprising representatives
of the Government, the NGOs and the representative missions of
international inter-governmental organizations to Bulgaria.

1.3. Preparation of a Regulation together with non-governmental
ecological organizations, governing the participation of the
public in the process of decision making relevant to the
environment and the access to ecological information.

2. Mid-term tasks

2.1. Conducting of national and regional discussions on the
problems of:

.  sexual and reproductive health of women;

. employment, unemployment and professional realization;

.  rights of women and the problems of equality of men and
women.

2.2. Development and implementation of National Programme for
Action as a follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action.

2.3. The process of elaboration of reports by the Republic of
Bulgaria on implementation of the Convention on the Elimination
of Ail Forms of Discrimination against Women should account for,
to the maximum degree possible, the opinions and proposals of
NGOs and should utilize data provided by them.

2.4. Construction of shelters for temporary admission of women
subjected to violence, inclusive of women of Romany origin.

2.5. Participation in joint projects of the UNDP, The PHARE
Programme, activities in the CE, etc.

2.6. Implementation of tripartite project "Against all forms of
violence against women" (under "LIEN" Programme of the EU).

2.7. Participation in the European Union Programme "Youth of
Europe", covering youth exchange and mobility, inclusive of these
of girls.

2.8. Implementation of project "Actions for survival, protection
and development of underage and minor girls in the environment of
social transition" (Union for protection of children).

2.9. Development of criteria and rules for quality of social
activities, both for Government and non-governmental structures
in the field of social services.

2.10. Establishment of centralized fund with the MLSW, which
shall provide financial support to the activities of
non-governmental organizations.

     The Republic of Bulgaria needs Institutional mechanisms
for providing equal opportunities to women and men, not only
because the above ensues from the commitments of this country by
virtue of the Regional and Global Platform for Action and its
capacity of associated member of the European Union, but because
many years of practice of formal equality could not eradicate the
various forms of gender discrimination in labour relations,
social security and access of women to economic resources. This
is a major problem concerning more than half of the population,
and the first step towards its solution should be its clear
formulation and recognition. In this respect the Government is
called to take steps for making the following amendments to the
laws of this country:

1. Reinstatement of the text deleted from the Labour Code, which
guaranteed the basic principle of equal payment for equal work in
terms of value.

2. Ban on competitions for jobs, etc., on employment or dismissal
from jobs, which set up representatives of any gender on unequal
grounds.

3. Introduction of practices applied by other countries, which
put the burden of proof on the employer, in order to provide
guarantees for the ban on discrimination.

4. Establishment of swift and flexible system for compensation of
victims of gender based discrimination.

5. Recognition of the importance of unpaid labour of mothers and
housewives for survival of the nation, by introduction of
allowance to pensions for child care, care for sick or elderly
member of the family, and by making amendments to the Regulation
on leaves for such activities.

6. Incorporation of all forms of violence in the family as sexual
harassment under the Penal Code, revision of penalties for
"lewdness" and "rape".

In long-term perspective, the following actions should be
undertaken:

1. Preparation of long-term strategic plan for achievement of
equal opportunities for women and men in Bulgaria.

2. Formation of Commission on gender equality, comprising the
social partners and the women. The Commission should have the
appropriate authority for supervision, arbitration and education
activities.

3. Adoption of measures by the Government with the active
participation of NGOs against all forms of violence against
women.

4. Formation of a contact group comprising representatives of the
Government, the NGOs and the representative missions of
international inter-governmental organizations to Bulgaria.

5. Preparation of legislative provisions together with
non-governmental ecological organizations, regulating the
participation of the public in the process of decision making
relevant to the environment and the access to ecological
information.

In short-term perspective, the activities should be addressed
to:

1. Establishment and financial provision for a separate structure
for promotion of equal opportunities tor both genders, with the
National Council on Social and Demographic Issues. The newly
formed institution should work for:

- extensive education campaign for equal opportunities in support
of active measures against violence in or out of the home;

- adoption of measures against sexual harassment at the
workplace;

- participation of women in decision making;

- development of criteria for evaluating the actual opportunities
to both genders in the various spheres of life;

- close cooperation with women's organizations, inclusive of
political and other non-governmental organizations.

2. Establishments of structures tor promotion of gender equality
in the state administration.

3. Introduction of a minimum quota of 30% for participation of
representatives of each gender in assignment to state-controlled
jobs, career promotions and above all in taking senior positions.

4. Encouraging the introduction of flexible working hours and
other measures for combination of employment and family
obligations.

5. Development of a modern system for relief support to women and
children - victims of violence, and for therapeutic help to men -
violators. Conducting of educational campaign, inclusive of in
schools and government departments.

6. Improvement of the quality of child day-care establishments,
encouraging flexible forms of hour-based care for children of
pre-school age and establishment of daycare centers for children
with health problems.

7. Expansion of the scope of family planning and sexual health
education.

8. Introduction of tax reliefs for employers who hire pregnant
women or young mothers.

9. Providing incentives for women's entrepreneurship.

10. Strengthening the links between central and regional
structures of administration, as well as relations with local
NGOs.

11. Conducting a national discussion on problems of sexual and
reproductive health of women.

12. Taking in consideration the proposals of women's NGOs in
implementation of the National Programme for Action in
implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

13. The process of elaboration of reports by the Republic of
Bulgaria on implementation of the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women should account for,
to the maximum degree possible, the opinions and proposals of
NGOs and should utilize data provided by them.

14. Construction of shelters for temporary admission of women
subjected to violence, inclusive of women of Romany origin.

15. Participation in joint projects of the UNDP, the PHARE
Programme, activities in the CE, etc.

16. Development of criteria and rules for the quality of social
activities, both for state controlled and non-governmental
structures, which provide social services and reliefs to the
benefit of children and the family.

17. Development of a programme for religious education of women,
implemented in partnership with women's NGOs and the Bulgarian
Orthodox Church, as a most efficient way to overcome religious
bigotry, racism and xenophobia.

18. Establishment of Center for non-governmental women's
organizations - "House of Women".

19. Establishment of centralized Fund with the MLSW for financial
support to the activities of non-governmental organizations.



II. Projects pertaining to the rights and problems of women,
currently developed together with non-governmental organizations
and International organizations

1. Project "Initiatives for implementation of the Beijing
Platform for Action in Bulgaria" providing for the issue of 10
information brochures on the individual topics of
the Platform.

2. Project "New perspectives to women", aimed at promotion of
women's entrepreneurship against unemployment.

3. Project for investigation and restriction of violence against
women in Bulgaria. This projects provides for cooperation with
all concerned institutions and persons, exchange of information,
training of specialists.

4. Project for review and proposals for amendments to the
legislation, in view of the more comprehensive application of the
international instruments on v omen's rights in Bulgaria.

5. "Women in transition" (PHARE project for Bulgaria and the
Czech Republic).

6. Project "Unemployment among women" (LIEN Programme).

7. "Participation of women in social and political life" (PHARE
Programme).

8. "Women on the Balkan Peninsula and Creativity" (Programme
"Thessalonike - Cultural Center of Europe").

9. Establishment in Bulgaria of an Information Center about
participation of women in business and tourism.

10. UNDP Project "Gender in development".

     The above projects are being implemented by the Bulgarian
Association of Women of the Legal Profession, the Women's
Democratic Union, the Bulgarian Union of Women, in close
cooperation with the Bulgarian Government (the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the
Ministry of Justice), international women's organizations, the
PHARE Programme - UEN, the "Development of Civil Society"
Foundation, the American Law Enforcement Organization, etc.

III. Institutions and mechanisms for implementation and control

     The implementation of the National Action Plan requires
that both Government organizations and non-governmental
organizations and other institutions in this country operate
jointly and separately.

     The major institutions playing key roles in the
implementation of the strategic objectives and priorities are:

1. The National Assembly - for adoption of the relevant Acts and
the ratification of various international conventions, for
compliance of adopted Acts and other decisions with gender
equality.

2. The Government - for development and implementation of: the
National Action Plan, inclusive of strategies, bills and other
regulative acts, programmes and projects.

3. The judicial branch - for struggle against violence, crime,
discrimination.

4. The non-governmental organizations - for preparation, control
of implementation and realization of the National Plan.

5. Trade-union organizations, inclusive of Commissions with them
for protection of the rights and interests of working women and
young people, and the National Council for Tripartite
Cooperation.

6. Expert-advisory board on problems of women, with the NCSDI.



     IV.  RESOURCES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF ADOPTED MEASURES

1. National resources

1.1. Human and other resources (Inclusive of financial
resources) of state Institutions

     The economy of this country was marked in 1995 by the
appearance of positive trends. There was noted recovery of
production (production in terms of comparable prices on 1994 was
up by 7%; the growth rate of industrial output on 1994 was up by
5%). Sales of goods on the domestic market increased by 3%
compared to 1994. The foreign trade balances in 1995 were
Improved. The GDP growth rate in 1995 was 2.6% compared to 1.8%
in 1994. Unemployment gradually decreased. The projected GDP
growth rate for 1996 was 3%. In 1996 however economic decline is
expected, and this trend will continue in the following years.
The inflation rate in late 1995 was 32.9% (121.9% in 1994). The
annual average inflation rate for 1996 is expected to be 75%. The
results for all parameters in 1996 are expected to deteriorate.
The trends in the evolution of macroeconomic indices and the real
economy are major prerequisites for reduction of poverty,
improvement of environment protection, improvement of health
care, expansion of the range of state-provided services, growth
of employment improvement of the quality of life for all,
inclusive of women.

     Women in Bulgaria have a guaranteed equitable access to
all state resources, and in particular those in the sphere of
health care, culture, education and social security. Funds are
assigned by activities according to the needs, and not by gender
characteristics. For example, monies from the "VTU" Fund are used
for payment of cash compensations and social benefits for
unemployment to all those in need, regardless of gender. Inasmuch
as according to statistical data the relative share of unemployed
women is bigger in the total number of unemployed (55.7%), they
receive more cash from the Fund. The monies provided by the Fund
for training and retraining are used more actively by women.
Unemployed women who have completed training courses account for
77.7% of the total number of persons who have completed such
courses.

     Apart from the equitable participation of women in the use
of state resources in all spheres of the socio-political and
economic life Of this country, women also receive some specific
benefits pursuant to the Labour Code and the Decree on
Encouraging Births.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Types of Benefits          |Expenses are on the account of
--------------------------------------------------------------
Compensation for pregnancy | Social security, national budget,
and childbirth             | local budgets
                           |
Payments for wage differen-| Social security
ce in transfer of pregnant |
women to appropiate work   |
                           |
Lump sum allowances for    | Social security and budgets
childbirth                 |
                           |
Compensation for child care| National budget, social security,
                           | local budgets
                           |
Monthly child allowances   | National budget, social security,
                           | local budgets
--------------------------------------------------------------

The expenses of local budgets for the above benefits increased
in absolute terms in 1996 compared to 1995.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Expenses of local budgets           1995              1996
--------------------------------------------------------------
Lump sum allowances for              67.8             93.8
childbirth

Compensation for child care         1882.7          2723.8

Monthly child allowances             506.8           543.1
--------------------------------------------------------------

The expenses of the social security budget for the above
benefits also increased in absolute terms in 1996 compared to
1995, and their share in the total of benefits was retained.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Expenses for the social               1995            1996
security (1)
--------------------------------------------------------------
Compensation for pregnancy and         706.7         1014.5
chilbirth

Payments for wage difference in          1.6            2.5
transfer of pregnant women to 
appropiate work

Lump sum allowances for childbirth     136.9           209.4

Compensation for child care           1637.2          2404.0

Monthly child allowances              6721.3          10061.1
--------------------------------------------------------------

(1) State Gazette, No. 68/09.08.1996.


2. Resources from international organizations

1. On the insistence of the countries from the East European
regional group the Beijing Platform comprised paragraphs by
virtue of which assistance and cooperation should be provided for
countries with economies in transition, inclusive of from
international financial institutions, for the purpose of
achievement of the objectives set forth in the Platform. On these
grounds our country turned to individual organizations and
programmes within the UN system, for financing of certain
projects, mostly seminars, dedicated to issues pertaining to
women. Considering the current financial state of the UN,
financing from the funds of the world organization could hardly
be expected in the near future.

Nevertheless, there are possibilities for financing of specific
projects by the UNDP, which has a representative mission in
Sofia, the World Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Europe
(ECE).

2. With respect to the Council of Europe a request has already
been placed for providing funds to finance the holding of a
seminar in Sofia on issues related to violence against women, in
June or September this year. The request has been accepted, but
the funds have not been approved yet.

3. The greatest possibilities for financing of projects on issues
related to women are provided on the side of the European Union
within the PHARE Programme. Furthermore, according to information
from Greece, the European Union intends to allocate a special
fund for support to countries from Central and East Europe for
implementation of projects oriented towards implementation of the
Beijing Platform for Action.

4. The projects pertaining to the introduction of new types of
social services, will need financial investments and counselling
in the course of their organization. Therefore they have been put
forward for financing by international organizations. The UN
Development Programme has stated its willingness to finance
projects with objectives coinciding with the priorities of the
Fourth Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995. In this respect it
has been put forward to develop a project for establishment of
network of shelters tor temporary admission of women.

5. Work is under way on the project "Women in Development", which
is being implemented by the MLSW together with the UNDP. It
provides for organization of a seminar on implementation of the
Beijing Platform, the Government measures undertaken as a
follow-up to the Beijing Conference, as well as the publication
of directory of women's non-governmental organizations in
Bulgaria.

6. On the side of the UNDP work has started on the project
"Gender in Development". A seminar is forthcoming - "The gender
approach - a policy of equal opportunities for women and men and
achievement of sustainable human development". This is a
large-scale project, which will be realized jointly with the
UNDP, the MLSW and local non-governmental organizations. The
realization of the project in turn requires implementation of
pilot projects on the gender approach, such as: Rural tourism and
management of family hotels (Momchilovtsi): Crafts and unique
manufacturing (Levchovo); Establishment of information center in
Smolyan; Manufacturing through Leasing (Dolna Mitropolia);
Technical assistance for small enterprises (Lovech); Providing
employment for youths from risk and ethnic groups in crisis
situation.

 The National Action Plan has been approved at session of the
National Council on Social and Demographic Issues with the
Council of Ministers on 2 July 1996.

 


This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
Copyright 1999 United Nations