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bulgarian women in tech

BULGARIA – A LEADER IN GENDER EQUALITY IN THE TECH INDUSTRY IN EU

 

One of the fastest growing industries, the IT sector, seems to be the slowest in the new environment for gender equality. According to a report by the National Center for Women & Technology (NCWIT) in 2017, only 25 percent of all US workers in the technology sector are women. One reason: the low interest of teenage girls to learn in this field. But this tendency does not seem to apply to women in Bulgaria who, besides being very adaptive to change, are heirs of a good educational system and have an affinity for engineering professions. “Initially, I was a linguist with a philological education from Bulgaria,” says Steliana Ivanova, who works as a private contractor for Facebook. When she came to the United States, she continued her studies at the University of Indiana. “At that time, I found a new computer linguistics program that I found interesting, and I started taking classes,” she says. So, a few years later she graduated from a computer linguistics mastership and became one of the few women specialists in this field. According to her, the number of women in technology companies in the US is apparently lower, but that’s no surprise. “While I was studying at university and taking classes in computer linguistics, I was actually the only white woman. There were women from India or China, but the Americans somehow do not engage in such professions, which was shocking to me, “says Steliana Ivanova.

 

Steliana Ivanova works as an independent contractor for Facebook

Similar is the story of Lyudmila Veleva, who is Microsoft’s programming manager. “If I say I have not dreamed of working in the technology sector, I would be lying, but if I say I have enough knowledge, I would also be lying,” says Lyudmila Veleva, who defines herself as a late bloomer. She explains the success of the Bulgarians as a whole in the IT sector is a result of the great quality of education in the Motherland. Bulgaria is a leader in Europe in terms of the number of women employed in the technology sector. The country also had the highest % of female students in Information Technology and Communications studies – 33% of the total number of students in this field, which is double the average for the EU 16.7 %. According to many, this trend in Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries is a legacy of socialism when there was a peak in engineering professions. For Silvia Tashev, who works as a software engineer at Amazon, the culture is changing but yet there is a lot to wish for. “I think there aren’t as many women as I wish for, but more and more and getting interested in the profession. The culture in many companies is also changing to become a nicer place for women to be software engineers. ” 47% of women in the IT sector in the United States don’t think they have an equal chance for a career compared to their male counterparts, so a huge percentage of these women leave the job. As the young face of this problem, Silvia Tashev is hopeful that this will change very soon. “I, as a woman, didn’t think that I am in any way less capable of the men in my profession,” says Steliana Ivanova. The successes of women like the three Bulgarians can break the stereotypes and change the face of the industry.

47% of women in the IT sector in the United States don’t think they have an equal chance for career compared to their male counterparts, so a huge percentage of these women leave the job. As the young face of this problem, Silvia Tashev is hopeful that this will change very soon.

 

Lyudmila Veleva, program manager at Microsoft

“I, as a woman, didn’t think that I am in any way less capable of the men in my profession,” says Steliana Ivanova. The successes of women like the three Bulgarians can break the stereotypes and change the face of the industry.

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