Young Women Challenging Stereotypes

From 4 March to 10 March, we hosted 28 people from 11 different countries, including Bulgaria who came to Karlovo, Bulgaria to take part in a Youth in Action training course on the theme “Young Women Challenging Stereotypes”. There were people from as far away as Finland and England and as close as Turkey, Romania and Sofia, Bulgaria. Over the course of the week, the participants learned about and discussed the different challenges that European women face and they discussed what could be done to improve the situations in Europe as well as in their own countries. These discussion, where the participants exchanged how the situations were in their own countries, often times proved to be the most exciting as what is true for some countries often proved to be opposite of what it is in others.
Among the different topics that were discussed, were women in leadership roles, gender roles, and domestic violence. In addition, to the discussions, we visited different sites in Karlovo and went on a day trip to Plovdiv to see the historical sites there.
One of the many advantages of hosting people from many different countries is that Intercultural Night can have much variety and this proved to be the case this time. Intercultural night was very exciting and we enjoyed a wide variety of treats from Porto wine to a combination invented that night – generic pretzel sticks dipped in lemon curd from England. This delicious treat became known as “magic sticks”.
Another highlight was 8th March, International Women’s Day. On this day we passed out flowers, cards, and leaflets to the women that we saw in the center. Well, the men did. As it was Women’s Day, the men on the project had to hand out the flowers. Although it was a cold day, it proved to be great fun and there were not a few laughs.
The training course ended with a short series of discussions led by Tatyana Kmetova from the Center for Women’s Studies. She highlighted the situation for women in leadership and decision making roles on the European level as well as in Bulgaria.
The 10th of March came far too fast and before we knew it we were saying “good-bye” however we look forward to seeing many of them again on a future follow up project.