The business case for addressing sexual harassment through the business and human rights framework: Bulgaria case study
The objective of this master thesis is to focus on gender-inclusive policies/laws adopted by the Bulgarian state and companies, and how building on these practices the business and human rights framework can be advanced. Different methods are used in answering the main research question: literature review to establish a theoretical framework; legal research on existing legislation and practices of gender equality in Bulgaria; content analysis of human rights, and gender-inclusive policies and practices adopted by global and local companies. Although there is a call to adopt the UNGPs from a gender lens, the theory does not provide much guidance on how this can be achieved. Bulgaria, like other states, has focused on developing CSR and sustainable business practices for the last 10 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need for better collaboration between state and businesses in the process of recovery. Arguably, seeking implementation of the business and human rights agenda may not be a priority. In addition, COVID-19 has exacerbated gender inequality and urgent measures have to be taken to address the growing ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women.1This thesis recommends that businesses can improve their gender-inclusive practices when addressing sexual harassment and gender-based violence through the implementation of the business and human rights framework from a gender lens. Key words: Gender-inclusive policies, Bulgaria, Business and Human rights, UNGPs from gender lens, gender inequality, sexual harassment and gender-based violence.