Economics and Rural Development, Volume 5, Number 2

THE POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE RURAL LABOUR MARKET IN BULGARIA – MANY CHALLENGES AND SOME SOLUTIONS

Bozhura Fidanska
Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Abstract

The greatest problems facing rural women in Bulgaria are: unemployment; declining or low incomes; economic problems caused
by social changes; the heavy workload both in paid employment and at home; lack of free time and inequality in free time compared
to men; low level of education; and depopulation of the rural areas, especially the migration of young rural women. In this paper an
assessment of the position of women relative to men in the rural labour market is made, based on gender disaggregated data from a
range of official documents and reports prepared by Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF) of Bulgaria and others. It confirms the
results of earlier studies that women occupy a generally disadvantaged position in agriculture and rural areas in Bulgaria. EU-cofunding
programmes potentially provide a way of redressing this imbalance. Using the results from a mail survey conducted amongst
beneficiaries, the extent to which women have benefited from some of the measures in the SAPARD programme is assessed, and also
the ways in which gender issues have been mainstreamed into the Rural Development Programme 2007–2013 are reviewed. It can be
concluded that Bulgaria is making significant progress in the development of rural areas, and especially in involving women as an active
force in the labour market.

Keyword(s): women, agriculture, rural areas, employment, SAPARD, Rural Development Programme


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This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Responsible editors: Prof. Dr Vilija Alekneviciene, Dr Gunita Mazure.