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Digital Divide аnd Social Inequalities: Levels, Actors аnd Interplay

Digital Divide аnd Social Inequalities: Levels, Actors аnd Interplay

Project Duration 2021-2024 , financial support under National Science Fund

Principal Investigator: Prof. Rumiana Stoilova, DSc
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (IPhS-BAS)
, , 0897 807 770
Bulgaria, Sofia 1000, Serdika Str. 4,


Team members:
1. Prof. Dr. Petya Kabakchieva, Sofia University (SU)
2. Assoc. Prof. Dr.Rumiana Zheleva, (IPS-BAS)
3. Assoc. Prof. Dr.KaloyanHaralampiev, (SU)
4. Assist. Prof. Dr.KameliaPetkova, (IPS-BAS)
5. Assist. Prof. Dr. Stefan Markov, (IPS-BAS)
6. Assist. Prof. Dr.TsochoZlatkov, (IPS-BAS)
7. Assist. Prof. Dr.Marieta Hristova, University of National and
World Economy, Sofia (UNWE)
8. Assist. Prof. Dr.SvetlomirZdravkov, (IPS-BAS)
9. Dr. Martin Konstantinov, (IPS-BAS)
10. Dr.Vilyana Ruseva, Bourgas Free University (BFU)
11. Vladimir Vladov, (IPS-BAS)


This project aims to study the possibility of establishing and expanding the actually derived
offline benefits from the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in Bulgaria in order to improve the life chances of various categories of users and reduce socio-economic and socio demographic inequalities. We investigate within the project the interrelation between digital divide (inequalities in the access, abilities and use) and welfare policies for reducing social inequalities especially concerning women in STEM disciplines and working in ICT sector, older people living in small settlements and villages, for low service class, where women predominate, unskilled workers and small owners facing difficulties in introducing digital technologies in their work. Gender segregation and inequalities between occupations with different men-women integration, the underrepresentation of women in STEM (Van der Vleuten, Steinmetz, van de Werfhorst 2018) are important part of the project with a focus on the digital domain. Bulgaria has a leading position in the indicators for women participation among students and employed women in ICT sector, following the Digital Economy and Society Index; however recent trends show decrease of young girls studying STEM disciplines.

Regional inequalities and imbalances are also serious social problem for Bulgaria. This is why this project has near interest on two selected regions for the investigation of the horizontal aspects of the digital connectivity: South Eastern and South Central regions.

At micro-level, we apply intersectional approach, defined as the interaction between different categories of inequality with main focus on class-ethnicity-gender. The project applies a “multi-dimensional stratification approach” (Max Weber), and investigates socio-digital inequalities (Helsper 2021,Ragnedda 2017). The quantitative comparative research is based on the classification of social groups (Oesh 2023, Erikson, Goldthorpe 1992; Goldthorpe 2000), adopted by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) and European Social Survey (ESS) that use quantitative micro-data. In addition we apply quantitative methods – in-dept interviews and focus group discussions for more precise account of the social context in both regions included in the project. Media monitoring is focused on the most actual topics discussed in relation to digital inequalities, barriers and risks for vulnerable groups in the society.


Prof. Rumiana Stoilova
Mobile : +359 89 7807 770


Articles/Book chapters

Stoilova, R.2023. Gender Inequalities in the Digital Domain. Bulgaria in a Comparative Perspective, In: Jeleva,R. (Ed.) Young Generation and Next Europe,  Publisher: Marin Drinov, 73-89, ISBN 978-619-245-325-1.

Стоилова,Р.,Илиева-Тричкова,П. 2023. Социално-икономически неравенства при онлайн комуникацията, Социологически проблеми, кн. 2, Институт по философия и социология, БАН,БСА,583-604,

Markov. S. 2023. Bridging the Digital Divide: A Comparative Analysis of Media Literacy in Europe and Bulgaria during the Pandemic.  In: Jeleva,R. (Ed.) Young Generation and Next Europe,  Publisher: Marin Drinov, 89-102, ISBN 978-619-245-325-1.

Katsarska,K. 2023. An Intersectional Approach To Digital Inequalities In Bulgaria In A Post-Communist Context. The Importance Of Gender And Ethnicity, In: Rahimova,S., Kaur,K. (Ed.) The Proceedings Book, World Women Conference-VI September 17-19, 2023 / Ankara, Türkiye, IKSAD Publications,p.226-238, ISBN: 978-625-8254-25-9.

Konstantinov. M.2023. The digital divide and e-government development in the 2023 election programs of Bulgarian political parties: promises and realities in the wider EU context. In: Jeleva,R. (Ed.)  Young Generation and Next Europe,  Publisher: Marin Drinov, 102-117, ISBN 978-619-245-325-1.

Petkova. K. 2023. Digital Skills: A Necessity or a Possibility for the Professional Realization of Youths in Bulgaria. In: Jeleva,R. (Ed.) Young Generation and Next Europe,  Publisher: Marin Drinov, 144-158, ISBN 978-619-245-325-1.

Pеtkova К. 2022. Digital Technologies: A Field of New Opportunities or an Obstacle for the Personal and Professional Realization of Persons from the Roma CommunityInternational Journal Knowledge. Scientific Papers, Vol. 55.5, Institute of Knowledge Management, Skopje, 2022, ISSN:1857-923Х, pp.973-979. Global Impact and Quality Factor: 1.822 (2017).

Петкова, К. 2022. (приета за печат). Достьп, умения и ползи от дигитализацията в условията на COVID епидемия и променящия се пазар на труда“ В: сборник „Икономическо развитие и политики: реалности и перспективи. Предизвикателства и рискове в условията на наслагващи се кризи, – София 21-22 ноември