Official speech of Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia

Global Women Leaders’ Forum

Official closing and adoption of Declaration of Sofia 

Grand Hotel Sofia

May 20, 2016

Sofia, Bulgaria

Official speech of Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia

Dear guests,

“The Global Women Leaders’ Forum was held for the first time in Bulgaria and I am honored that the host is Sofia. I congratulate UNESCO and the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria for organizing this event, indicating that the equal participation of women in politics, business, education, science and the media actually creates better living conditions, ensuring progress and more security.

Personally I am convinced that without education there can be no equality. Education is the foundation on which to build full participation in public life. This means access to good education and also longer participation in the educational system – because we must admit that in Bulgaria there are living areas in which girls leave school early without graduating”.

The state, the municipalities and the local communities have a responsibility to create good conditions for personal and professional development of young people. We create programs for internships and scholarships in order to support the work of young academics. Sofia Municipality gives Young Scientist of Sofia University Award and from 2007 until now 3 women teachers were awarded.

We developed a postgraduate program for managers in culture. Its objective is to enrich the knowledge and skills of managers in culture by municipal and independent cultural institutions and organizations. So far 73 participants have taken part in it and 55 of them are women.

In the recent years, more and more women in Bulgaria occupy managerial positions and achieve real results. More female names are synonymous of professionalism and expertise and this is the best model and guarantee that more young women seek fulfillment with their knowledge and skills.

The Leadership Academy, which we organize together with the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria supports actively women to develop their managerial skills. So far, over 80 women have undergone training at the Academy.  70% of them are part of the business of Sofia.

In the municipal company that manages the most modern waste treatment plant in the Balkans, the female managers are 50%, in the “Metropolitan” – they are 1/3 and in one of the largest municipal hospitals – First City Hospital – 60% of the doctors are women.

In the past year, Sofia entered the top 30 fastest growing cities in the world and is among the 10 best places to start a business. The unemployment rate is three times lower than the national average (2.7% out of 9) and is one of the lowest in Europe. These are the results we have achieved in the recent years with the participation of women at all levels of the economy, politics and public life.

Equality means equal opportunity to obtain the knowledge and skills regardless of gender. So the formula “education – more education” remains essential.

In conclusion, I will paraphrase a famous maxim – women do not ask what society can give them but know what they can give it – sustainable growth and more security”.

May 18, 2016
Sofia, Bulgaria

Yordanka Fandakova
Mayor of Sofia

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