On 16th June 2014, the President of the Economic and Social Council (ESC) Prof. Lalko Dulevski received a delegation of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), led by the Director of the EIGE Virginija Langbakk, within their official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The delegation was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Lazar Lazarov.

Prof. Dulevski stressed that the ESC has expressed in two opinions its position on the issues of gender equality by making very specific recommendations to the executive and legislative powers. The ESC President expressed the council’s willingness to organise a major international conference on these issues and invited Mrs. Langbakk for partnership in the implementation of such an event in Bulgaria.

Within the followed discussion on the issues related to gender equality Mrs. Langbakk and the delegation members presented the activity and subject of the EIGE and the online platform EuroGender. In his speech Mr. Lyuben Tomev, ESC Group II member – trade unions, stressed that in 2007 the ESC developed and adopted its first opinion on this issue entitled “Family, good parenting and equal gender opportunities”. It proposed development and implementation of a concept of paternity leave, parental leave, gender equality in family, which to include sharing of household responsibilities and childcare. Another ESC proposal is associated with the adoption of an Equal Opportunities Law and of a relevant strategy in the area. The ESC continued to develop the topic in its opinion “Possibilities for reconciling work and family life” adopted in 2012.

The challenges that Member States face in terms of gender equality, the discrimination, the European gender equality index, which helps Member States to assess the progress towards achieving equality were discussed. Also, the public awareness and attitude towards genders, areas, in which most commonly inequality is met, the role of women in development, violence against women and reconciling work and family responsibilities were a subject of debate.

In the discussion took participation the Deputy Minister Lazar Lazarov, ESC members, representatives of the National Representation of Students Councils, the National Youth Forum, the Democratic Union of Women, Public Women’s Parliament - 21st Century, NGOs, lecturers from the University of National and World Economy, students, etc.



is the “bridge” between citizens and the national government. Its mission is to support such “bridging” so as to facilitate the communication between the society and the national government. It is the new and modern institution of the civil dialogue.

The ESC's mission is to promote civil society organisations access to and involvement in the process of decision-making on strategic economic and social issues.

The main goal of ESC's operation is to enable different representatives of organised civil society to feel free to state their views whereas unanimity on matters of common interest is encouraged. The Council expresses and protects civil society interests by communicating agreed statements and proposals submitted by its members to the executive and legislative authorities.

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