Lazar Lazarov is a Bulgarian politician actively promoting equal opportunities between women and men – both in law and in everyday life.
In his current role as deputy minister responsible for gender equality in Bulgaria, Lazarov adopted an Action Plan to implement the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In 2013, after the Committee called upon Bulgaria to adopt a Gender Equality Act, Lazarov formally listed the implementation of CEDAW principles as one of government’s economic and social priorities, creating a sense of urgency among Bulgarian lawmakers.
Although the adoption of the Gender Equality Act in Bulgaria is not yet complete, Lazarov firmly believes that it will strengthen the institutional mechanisms that support gender equality and, by extension, contribute to more gender equality in society.
Between 2010 and 2013, Lazarov was Advisor for the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Social Policy. During that time, his top achievement in fostering gender equality was defining and introducing gender-neutral criteria for pension schemes in Bulgaria, thereby narrowing the gender pay gap in pensions.
Another victory for gender equality in Bulgaria was the introduction of an amendment to the nation’s Labour Code. The amendment introduced temporary agency work that allows innovative and flexible working arrangements, which are very important for ensuring work-life balance.
Lazarov finds that work-life balance is a powerful tool for the advancement of women in Bulgaria. This is one of the reasons that he has shown full support for a media campaign encouraging fathers to assume responsibilities which are too often delegated to women. The campaign created a high level of reluctance among fathers, but nonetheless contributed to a public debate on the issue – ultimately changing stereotypes related to men’s role within the family.