Women’s Silicon Valley of Europe

Women’s Silicon Valley of Europe

By Rositsa Dorovska

In my home country – Bulgaria, we used to celebrate International Women‘s day, before it was officially adopted by the United Nations in 1975, due to our communist past. The Soviet Union doctrine was about fast industrialization and women were treated and paid, equally as men. For that reason, 8th of march was popular as the special  female workmate day…It‘s been, sort of, obligatory for the men, to buy flowers for their women colleagues, on the occasion. In the evenings, women usually would have thrown parties, the so called banquets to cherish their feast.

Nowadays, the banquets and the flowers are still on the agenda, but the significance and the meaning of the International Women‘s day is often disputed. Many people, including women, sensitive on the communism topic, are denying 8th of March as a Soviet Union relic and are openly refusing to celebrate it. Others, from the younger generation, prefer to celebrate the femininity or the motherhood, on this day, which is totally wrong. As we all know, the history behind the International Women‘s day, leads back to massive strikes and demonstrations of women, demanding for their rights – the suffrage right and at its foundation is a civil awarness against any discrimination.

Despite the controversies around the socialistic roots of the feast, women in Bulgaria have a great advantage comparing to the other European countries in one specific field – the IT sector. According to the Euro state statistics, Bulgaria has the most women in Tech in the EU, and the merit goes ironically, to the communism. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or the STEM disciplines were not kept only for men, under the communist regime. Women were pursuing careers in STEM for the needs of the Soviet economy and obviously, that tradition is somehow hereditary. Today around 30% of Bulgarian women are in the high tech industry, including coding and artificial intelligence (compared to the EU average of 16% ). Some of them are even running their own companies in the field or /and educating young girls to code, through a variety of courses and tech conferences.

Mariya Gabrial – EU Commissioner for digital economy and society

The EU Commissioner for digital economy and society is a Bulgarian woman, as well – Mariya Gabriel. But her name is only one amongst the many names of women, getting well known for their expertise in the ICT sector. Tech jobs are usually with flexible working hours, so women can easily manage the work-life balance, which is another advantage, apart from the good profit. Still, there is much to be done, to overcome the gender pay gap, even in the Technology, but the Bulgarian capital – Sofia, has already been named as the European Silicon Valley for women and that is promising enough.

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