The institutional mechanism implements gender mainstreaming into all policies. It functions at different levels of governance and should take into account and articulate clearly women’s interests and thus represent the civil society groups before Government, Parliament and regional and international bodies.
At the level of the legislative power – the National Assembly, it is the
Human Rights and Religious Affairs Committee with its sub-committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, established In February 2006 that is responsible for gender issues.
The mechanism includes the national equality bodies – the Commission for Protection against Discrimination and the Institution of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The Commission for Protection against Discrimination is an independent specialized state body for prevention from discrimination, protection against discrimination and ensuring of equal opportunities. The Commission exerts control over the implementation and compliance of the Law on Protection against Discrimination and other laws regulating equality of treatment and reports annually to the National Assembly. It is proclaimed to be a legal person on budget support, having its head office in Sofia.
Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria has the task and duty of the to intervene, by the means envisaged in the law, in order to protect citizens’ rights and freedoms when they have been violated by actions or omissions of the state and municipal authorities, administrations or by the person assigned with the provision of public services. Thus in case the violation done is in relation to the right of equal treatment, the affected persons may refer to the Ombudsman.
At the executive level the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is part of the national gender equality machinery, being responsible for formulating the state policy on gender equality in all sectors. The relevant structures are the Demographic Policy, Social Investments and Equal Opportunities Directorate and its Equal Opportunities Department.
The National Council on Equality between Women and Men (NCEWM) was set up by
Government Decree 313/17.11.2004. The Council acts as a consultative body to the Council of Ministers and develops and implements the national policy on gender equality (internal link) in collaboration and coordination between the government authorities and the non-governmental sector.
The NCEWM consults the Council of Ministers and discusses drafts of legislative acts or secondary legislation, and presents positions on them for their relevance with the objectives of the Gender Equality Policy. It supports the implementation of important national and regional projects of the social partners and the NGOs in the sphere of gender equality.
The National Council is chaired by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy and its permanent members are deputy ministers from each Ministry, as well as from the State Agency for Child Protection, the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, the State Refugees Agency, the National Social Security Institute and the National Statistical Institute. Associated members of the NCGE are representatives of other organizations, academic institutes, national organizations of the social partners or NGOs, invited for the purpose form the National Council’ Chair
The National Commission for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings organises and co-ordinates the co-operation between the relevant agencies and organisations for implementation of the Law on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings (internal link). It determines and administers the implementation of the national policy and strategy in the area of combating trafficking in human beings. The work of the National Commission is extremely important for the development of national policy for combating trafficking in human beings and for the good interaction and coordination between the state and municipal authorities, as well as between them and the non-governmental organizations, working in the field.
In February 2003, a Consultative Commission on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and Disadvantaged Groups on the Labour Market was set up to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy in order to consult the process of development of the annual Action Plan for Employment. It aims at improving the coordination in the process of gender and social equalization in Bulgaria and reinforce the administrative capacity of the states institutions and organizations responsible for the policy of equality. The Commission consists of representatives of the state authorities responsible for the elaboration and implementation of gender equality policy, social partners, non-governmental organizations and academia.