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Elena Marinova: Women in Bulgaria are successful in all walks of life

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Elena Marinova is president and partner in one of the largest software companies in Bulgaria. She is currently member of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Association of Information Technology (BAIT) and of the Advisory Council in Information & Communication Technology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). She also sits on the board of the American University in Bulgaria and is a European Commission #e-skills ambassador. Besides, Marinova is mentor in Eleven and LAUNCHub risk investment funds.

On March 8 International Women's Day one of the most influential and successful Bulgarian business ladies contends that there is no gender discrimination in this country.

Снимка“Women in Bulgaria work and have tremendous success in all walks of life. There is zero discrimination of women in the IT sector where I have first-hand experience. Well, discrimination in that sector is impossible given the shortage of tens of thousands of specialists in Bulgaria alone, close to one million in Europe, and 4.5 million across the world. In this sense every IT person is invaluable: we cannot possibly afford any discrimination, all the more so that the IT sector is the source of an increasing number of jobs in other sectors too. In Bulgaria for example, it is key for the real estate business - I mean not only business and office buildings but also private housing. Besides, IT contributes seriously into tourism, entertainment, healthcare and education, because the sector employs young, intelligent and well-paid individuals with high living standards. I strongly advise any parent who should like to direct their child to an occupation with a future to give more attention to the child's skills in mathematics, foreign languages and above all, programming, with a view to the IT sector. This should not take place at any cost of course: every child has a special talent that deserves effort. However, investing effort in IT is an investment that pays off generously”.

Looking into the different ways in which men and women approach management, here is what Elena Marinova's experience shows:

“Women count more on intuition. Men are more given to logic, data and facts. Well, ideally, these two mindsets should combine. I would not say though that there is any significant imbalance. For the time being, men still prevail in the IT sector. On the other hand, there are countries were women prevail in IT and this is due to certain cultural factors”.

Elena Marinova has never felt any special attitude in her job for being a woman. She says age discrimination is much worse than the gender one. Here is her definition for a good leader:

“He or she should be able to uphold their ideas and positions, to make decisions based on incomplete information; to be able to inspire people and motivate them; to admit his or her mistakes and to make the necessary corrections when needed. This is hard to achieve but for sure it is the key to great results”.

How would an increase in the number of women in top executive positions generate positive results, and do successful women sacrifice their families for the sake of their careers?

“The keyword is balance. We try not to have fully female or fully male teams, because men and women complement each other. We do not have any quotas though. I am far from this idea; in fact I think it is baneful. Competition is very important for a healthy corporate environment. Balance of men and women in management is a good way to build a healthier organization in the long term. As to the balance between family and career, some people have reportedly achieved this but I know no such persons. I should like to give more time to both my private and professional lives”.

English Daniela Konstantinova

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