Press Release: The Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv adopted its Gender Equality Plan 2021-2024

Our partner project, the Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv (PU) in Bulgaria, adopted its Plan for Equality between Women and Men for the period 2021-2024 with a decision from its Academic Council on June 7, 2021, then signed by the University Rector, Professor Rumen Mladenov, on July 1.

The PU Gender Equality Plan (GEP) aims to establish a framework for promoting gender equality in education, research, employment, and social relations among the university community. This Plan aligns with the University's integral institutional policy and commitment to provide equal learning opportunities and job conditions and avoid discrimination within the institution. It also addresses Goal 5, "Achieve gender equality and empower all woman and girls" of the 17th UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the priorities set out by the European Commission in its Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 and the new European Research Area (ERA), which aims to strengthen the focus on the participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields and foster entrepreneurship.

University of Plovdiv’s GEP focuses on three key ERA’s objectives: a) removing barriers for women’s career progression; b) addressing gender imbalance in decision-making processes; and c) strengthening the gender dimension in research. Within this frame of reference, the Plan’s primary goal is to set the basis for promoting, boosting, providing, ensuring, and preserving equal access for university students and employees to all activities and opportunities related to education and research regardless of their gender.

More specifically, the three main objectives of the PU GEP are:

1. Integrating gender equality considerations into official university policies and practices that reflect the needs and interests of both men and women while also providing an effective mechanism for monitoring and reporting specific mainstreaming outcomes.

To achieve this goal, PU reaffirms its commitment to designing and implementing institutional changes and sustainable support towards gender equality.

2. Raising awareness on gender equality issues and promoting the appropriate capacity and collective culture with zero tolerance to gender-based harassment and violence.

To this end, the University will strengthen its gender capacity and encourage a more gender-sensitive culture among its students and faculty members.

3. Introducing gender dimension in university educational or research activities and in management of work-life balance and of supportive work or study environment.

Academic staff and students often do not take advantage of the privileges and rights provided by PU to reconcile work/study and private life. The University will therefore develop new strategies to popularize these measures, promote further flexibility in managing time and work-life balance and increase academics and students satisfaction.

The University of Plovdiv has developed its GEP within the framework of the SPEAR project, and with the support of its Community of Learning (CoL) and Community of Practice (CoP) which enabled PU to participate in joint discussions, debates and other forms of learning activities with their SPEAR partners and gave them an opportunity for peer reflection, all of which contributed to a sucessfull journey towards the final version of PU GEP.

As we celebrate this important milestone for the SPEAR Project, we also note that this Gender Equality Plan is the first attempt at explicit institutionalization of gender equality not only for the University of Plovdiv itself but for all scientific and academic institutions in Bulgaria.

You can read the Gender Equality Plan here (under the Gender Equality Plans tab).

For further information about the GEP, you can contact:

Professor Rositsa Doneva