Women are leading the way in Bulgaria’s buoyant tech sector – making up nearly half of the country’s workforce.
The technology sector in Bulgaria has been impressive for a while, with its history as the former Soviet Union’s IT hub giving it a kickstart.
Now, women make up 44.6 per cent of the work force in this sector, the Financial Times reports.
That’s the second-highest proportion in the EU after Lithuania.
And it’s not just Bulgaria that is impressive – the women are shining in the whole region.
The FT further reporter that Eastern European countries have the highest number of women working in tech, putting Western Europe to shame.
This is because under communism, female engineers and accountants belonged to a professional elite, Rumyana Trencheva, the managing director for south-east Europe at SAP, a German software company, told the FT.
“They’re self-confident and don’t have doubts about whether they can make it to top positions,” she said.
These fields of work still have prestige, she added.
There are also a growing number of women leading startups, Sasha Bezuhanova, the first Bulgarian to hold a senior management position at a global IT company – Hewlett-Packard – said.
“We now have lots of female C-level managers in the digital industry. They’re very visible in the tech community and in society,” she said in the article.
One startup which has excelled, last year winning the ‘Best AI Startup’ category in the Central European Startup awards, is Majio, which uses machine learning to match applicants with jobs.
Set up by two women, Svetla Simidchieva and Ekaterina Mihaylova, the startup is one recent success story to come from the country.
The two told the FT that “there’s a subtle kind of bias in Bulgaria against women running tech companies” – but added that it was fading.
With the number of startups in the Baltic nation being founded by women growing – now standing between 10 and 12 per cent – it won’t be long before the bias completely disappears.