A special declaration called the Declaration of Sofia, dedicated to the promotion of gender equality in every aspect of social, political and economic life was accepted by the participants from four continents in the Global Women Leaders’ Forum, Sofia 2016.
The forum is organized by the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria and UNESCO, under the patronage of the Director-General of the organization and official candidate of our country for Secretary General of UN Irina Bokova.
The declaration was adopted at the official closing ceremony today. It was handed symbolically by Boryana Manolova, Chairwoman of the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria and CEO of Siemens Bulgaria to the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova, Irina Bokova and Aminata Toure, former Prime Minister of Senegal.
The document aims to confirm the commitment of the participants to promoting leadership among women and overcoming the obstacles to their professional and personal development.
“The issue of equality cannot be a task only of the governments but also of the whole society, the business, of the entire international community. We know where the problems are, we know what must be done, now we must act. Personally, I’m leaving the Global Woman Leaders’ Forum in Bulgaria with great enthusiasm and many ideas”, Irina Bokova said at the closing session of the Global Woman Leaders’ Forum.
“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. 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, ” Yordanka Fandakova said.
“If it is possible to make a brief summary of the topics and discussions at the forum, I believe it would sound like this: There is no turning back. Business, politics, media, civil society has changed irrevocably and women increasingly take the place they deserve. The concerted efforts of organizations such as UNESCO and also the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria and the example and the contribution of experienced professionals and inspiring leaders like all of you help for this,” Boryana Manolova addressed the participants in the forum.
According to her the Declaration Women Leaders and Gender Equality, which was formally adopted in Sofia today is another step in that direction. It summarizes the basic principles behind which UNESCO and the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria stand, namely the provision of equal opportunities for personal and professional development of both sexes.
“I sincerely believe that the Global Women Leaders’ Forum and the Declaration of Sofia will become a starting point for further discussions and measures to promote equality between men and women worldwide“, Boryana Manolova concluded.
With the declaration the participants in the forum call on governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to take measures to promote equal participation of women in politics and the labor market to achieve gender balance in governmental bodies and public administration, managements of companies, etc.
It calls on them to make the necessary legislative and administrative reforms to provide equal rights and equal access of women to economic resources, education and training opportunities, technology. The adoption of regulatory mechanisms to promote balanced representation of women in the media is also encouraged.
The Declaration focuses on women’s education as a means for their career advancement and empowerment. In this connection, it provides for the deployment of systems for mentoring and training of leadership skills, and providing access to scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical education of young girls, and a system for the development and retention of women in areas related to science, technology and innovation.
Gold sponsors of the event are Siemens Bulgaria and Prestige-96, silver sponsors are – EY Bulgaria and SAP. Media partners – Nova TV and Manager Magazine. Among the companies, which supported the event are BMW Bulgaria, Katarzyna Estate Ltd, Coca-Cola, Generally Bulgaria, Lidl and Grand Hotel Sofia.