Gender Equality in Poland
GENDER EQUALITY IN POLAND
January, 2010 Antalya, TURKEY
List of Pictures and Tables.??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦…??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦ii Abbreviations??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦…iii INTRODUCTION??¦…??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.1 1. BRIEF HISTORY OF POLAND??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..2 2. GENDER EQUALITY PIONEERS??¦…??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..2 3. POLITICAL AND SOCIAL DIFFERENCES??¦…??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..2 3.1 Religious Traditions??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦…??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦…??¦??¦??¦..2 3.1.1 Toward Re-Familization??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.3 3.2 Education and Sexuality ??¦??¦…??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦…??¦??¦…4 3.2.1 Abortion??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..4 3.2.2 Contraception??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.4 3.3 Communist Ideological Legacy??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..5 3.4 After EU Accession??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦…??¦??¦.5 3.4.1 Political Parties and Parliament??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..7 4. CONCLUSIONS??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦…7 REFERENCES??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..9 APPENDIXES??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦10
LIST OF PICTURES AND TABLES Page Picture 1 Picture 2 A statue of Jesus??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦..3 Pope Benedict XVI and Polish President Lech Kaczynski??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.6
Table 1 Table 2
The Global Gender Gap Index 2010 Rankings??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦??¦.10 Some Statistics According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2010??¦??¦??¦??¦.11
CEE CoF DWFD EC ECJ EEC EFTA EU HIV MSs NATO OECD Rev. TEU TFEU USSR
the Central and Eastern Europe the Council of Europe the Department for Women, Family and Prevention of Discrimination the European Community the European Court of Justice the European Economic Community the European Free Trade Association the European Union Human Immunodeficiency Virus the Member States the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Reverend the Treaty on European Union the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Rebuclics
I N T R O D U C T I ON
There were some famous women such as Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher in history. One of their characteristics of which made them famous was that they had no dilemma using power in conflicts. ???This led some to say that the only difference between men and women is that women are so rarely on power; if they are, they behave like men??? (Baylis J. & Smith S., 2005, p.671). According to numerous stories, men are brave soldier, protectors and women are conversely passive people who need to be protected, who are responsible for caring of children and also who have more sons for killing. Nowadays, women are stil banned from combating or military services which need to use power in many states. Especially, more then this, many conservative policies can still be observed in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries including Poland. Even though these ten CEE countries joined the European Union in May 2004 (eight of them eight are post-communist states), this conservatism did not completely change. The policy- makers in the CEE countries such as Poland have put all all their energy into adopting the European Union??™s (EU) social ???Acquis Communautaire???; however, women are not often given preference in politics and economics in these countries. Women??™s labor is seen to be temporary, filling vacancies before getting married, or supplementing the spouse??™s income. Before mentioning the gender policies and roles, primarily, some terms should be defined. Because to understand the differences between sex and gender is important in this context. Sex was seen as biology, people are born either male or female. And gender means the social construction of difference between ???men??? and ???women???, too. Additionally, the term of gender mainstreaming should also be defined. Gender mainstreaming is a strategic attempt for achieveing gender equality. It challenges people to increase their knowledge about the advantages of gender equality. According to the Council of Europe (CoF): ???Gender mainstreaming is the (re)organization, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that the gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels and at all stages, by the actors normally involved in policy-making???. It usually means the ???policy of gender equality??? in Poland. Unfortunately, to have the advantages of gender equality is not so possible in this country. In this article, after mentioning the near past of Poland, it will be mentioned politica and socil differences in Poland, some Polish gender policies, the role of Catholic Church, communis legacy, her situatuon after the EU??™s membership and education in the country. It will be stated the notions about gender equality of Poland and Scandinavian countries which are different from each other, and also, be compared their notions and be analyzied sociologically. While comparing them, it will be mentioned the countries of ???Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark???2 as a base by using some statictics of the Global Gender Gap Report 2010 by the World Economic Forum.
Denmark has been a member of the EU since 1973. Although Norway is not a member of the EU, she is a founder member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Finland and Sweden joined the EU in 1995.
1. BRIEF HISTORY OF POLAND
The Polish Constitution, adopted on May 3, 1791 was the first constitution in Europe due to the effects of the French Revolution3. This country was the biggest country in Europe. Although, her territory has been shaped by many countries (such as Russia, Austria, Prussia, Germany etc.) through centuries, she managed to reappear on the map of Europe, for instance, by regaining her freedom with the Treaty Versailles after the the First World War in 1918. Unfortunately, she had the highest number of deaths than ones of the other countries in the Second World War. In 1939, Germany invaded Poland and then the occupying Germans were expelled out of the county by the Soviet armies in 1945. After this time, the communist system began to be imposed in the country. In 1989, the first free elections were held in Poland and after lefting the last Soviet troops the country in 1993 and the collapse of USSR in 1995, Poland underwent rapidly a great change from communist system to capitalist system. Poland, adopting a new constitution in 1997 and starting negotiations with the European Union, first joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 and then joined the EU in 2004.
2. GENDER EQUALITY PIONEERS
The Scandinavian countries have often been the gender equality pioneers with their comprehensive gender equality policies such as governmental action plans for gender equality. These states have implemented the broad political campaigns for gender equality especially from the late 1960s through the 1970s and 1980s. The feminist movements effected both public and political agendas. Not only international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) but also the EU membership have contributed to improve gender equality policies in these countries. Instead of the dominant breadwinner model of men in many countries, the integration of women into the labor force has been recorded in the Scandinavian countries (the statistics will be given while stating the Poland??™s gender equality).
3. POLITICAL AND SOCIAL DIFFERENCES
3.1 Religious Traditions Poland is one of the most Catholic countries in the world. There is a religious and conservative society in this country and the Polish politics in many areas reflects her
The main results of the French Revolution which began in 1789 were socialism, liberalism and nationalism. It caused radical political and social chaos in many countries.
conservatism. With the aim of promoting traditional gender roles, the Catholic Church has influenced policy decision-makers to introduce conservative-familist policies and to implement them effectively for many years. Furthermore, politics in favor of women??™s interests are also prevented by the Church. The Church has managed to promote conservative gender policies in Poland and so, the assessment of the suggestions of the Catholic church by policy-makers has demonstrated the big role of the church in Polish policy-making process. The Church is not only politically dominant but also culturally dominant in this country. The actions of the Church, such as the conflict over abortion, demands of the inclusion of Christian values in the constitution and television and radio broadcasting, the engagement in parliamentary elections, or interference with staffing of some official posts. According to the Church, women??™s mission is to preserve and pass on to younger generations the national language, culture, and religion. Womens??™ interest groups in Poland are divided today in articulating and representing womens??™ interests and pursuing gender equality and equal opportunity ideals. Some of them associates with the Catholic Church or conservative parties. This often causes to deep divide among the views on the ideal gender roles. Religion and patriotism became almost synonymous in this society. An attack on religion could be seen as an attack on the nation. For Poles, the Catholic Church was a body which preserve and perpetuate the national traditions. And Polish society identifies themselves as both Catholic and Polish. The news dated December 11, 2010 titled ???Poland, Bastion of Religion, Sees Rise in Secularism??? displays one of the conservative implementations in Poland. According to the news, a statue of Jesus stands in Swiebodzin which is one of small western towns in Poland and one of the aims of this statue is to remedy for the rising secularization in Poland. Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki stated that: ???I hope it will have a religious mission??¦The Holy Bible holds lots of examples of miracles that brought people back to Christianity again??¦This might happen again???. 3.1.1 Re-familization In Poland, women are getting married earlier than other women in EU Member States (MSs). According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2010 data, mean age of marriage for women is 25 in Poland, 31 in Denmark, 32 in Norway, Finland and Sweden. What??™s more, women??™s participation rate in labor force in Poland is low. It??™s rate is 48% in 2006, 58% in 3
Picture 1: A statue of Jesus Source: www.nytimes.com
2007, 57% in 2008 and in 2009, and, lastly, 56% in 2010. The Polish men participation rate is conversely 70% in 2010. This rates show that there has not significantly been an increase. In contrast, women??™s participation rate in labor force in Finland is 76%, 77% in Sweden and 76% in Norway and Denmark. The ranks of 134 countries in gender equality are determined with these rates and also other rates concerning gender. The mentioned data show that the 2010 rank of Poland is 43. Some of other post communist countries??™ ranks are, for instance, Lithuania 35, Slovenia 42, Estonia 47. Conversely, the Scandinavian countries??™ ranks are the highest ranks. Norway??™s rank is only 2, Finland??™s one is 3, Sweden??™s one 4 and Denmark??™s one 7 (See Table 1 and Table 2). In the relevant Polish institutions do not give fathers incentives to use their rights such as parental leaves for participating in child-rearing responsibilities. Additionally, women face some incentives to give up working when they have children. When a woman has a child under 3; in case she can not find daycare for her baby, she has to give up working for three years. And also, if she has two children she can give up till as much as six years. This situation, if women choose to have children, can easily cause to reduce the women??™s chance to build a career.
3.2 Education and Sexuality Education about sex in high schools is compulsory in Poland. The issues relating to sex, relationships and family formation are covered under the compulsory topic Preparation for Family Life. Many teachers come from religious training institutions, and the majority of teachers have a conservative and traditional approach to ???sex education???, which either avoids topics such as contraception, sexuality and abortion or presents them in a manner more like religious instruction than effective education about sexual and reproductive health and rights. 3.2.1 Abortion Abortion is one of the most sensitive political issues in Poland, and is only legal in cases of rape, threat to the life or health of the mother or foetal impairment. What??™s more, the Polish government is adopting to amend its constitution to prohibit abortion in all cases compared to the positive amendments of other EU-member Catholic countries such as Portugal. 3.2.2 Contraception As being geographically close to the countries fighting higher infection rates, the Polish authorities pay intensely attention to take control of their epidemics. Almost 95% of all people is Catholic and remarkable percentage of them is religious. In this context, high costs of condoms and the disapproval of condoms by the Catholic Church can seem to be normal by the Polish people in the country. The Church ???discourages artificial contraceptive methods; the larger minority churches (including the Orthodox and Jehovah??™s Witnesses) are less restrictive, and the Protestant churches (including the Lutheran church) even less so (Grollman C.& Ohana Y., 2007, p.15). Conversely, the Church is taking some little steps 4
relating to condom use in recent times. According to the news dated November 21, 2010, titled ???Pope Benedict says that condoms can be used to stop the spread of HIV???, Pope Benedict XVI stated that that the condom use can reduce the risk of the immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in particular cases. His words are a historical shift of the Vatican??™s attitude. Because the Vatican has said for a long time that the use of condoms did not solve the problem of the spread of HIV infection. For instance, he said last year that the condom use could worsen the spread of HIV infection in Africa (www.guardian.co.uk). Now people can talk about human sexuality a little bit more openly. 3.3 Communist Ideological Legacy After the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Rebuclics (USSR), people began to thinh that gender equality is a Communist relic in Poland. ???Even though the communist leaders persecuted feminists and rejected feminist ideas, much of the populace associated the regimes with feminism, since they claimed to support gender equality, which makes it easy for post-communist citizens to associate feminist arguments with the former regime…Not only did the communist regimes give feminism a bad name because citizens began to associate equality with communism, the regimes also gave feminism a bad name, because they themselves harshly criticized and ridiculed it.??? (Haas L., K.Wisensale S., 2006, p.290). Furthermore, this association became stronger when western feminists began to visit the countries of the CEE including Poland after the collapse of the USSR. In this context, it is not surprising that the post-communist regimes implemented re-familization policies (pro-family policies) in CEE countries like Poland. Because in post-communist countries, policy makers did not feel any pressure to pursue de-familization policies. 3.4 After EU Accession Since she has been a EU-member in May 2004, she has required to comply with the EU??™s ???Acquis Communautaire???3 that includes laws concerning equal treatment of women and men. The EU??™s acquis communautaire has been evolved in the field of the social law, with large numbers of legal acts and provisions. For instance, according to the Article 119 of the European Economic Treaty-EEC (141 of the European Community-EC), the principle of equal pay for men and women was obliged and any discrimination regarding employment, remuneration and working conditions was prohibited. ?????¦ the ECJ has played a crucial activist role, turning Article 119 (EEC) and the directives into an extensive set of requirements and prohibitions related to the treatment of female (and occasionally male) workers (Wallace H., Wallace W., A.Pollack M., 2005, p. 248). And also, according to the
It is one of the French terms and refers to the whole body of the EU laws including the EU??™s objectives, substantive rules, policies and also the primary and secondary legislations and case law, all the treaties, regulations and directives passed by the European institutions, decisions by the ECJ. All Member States have to comply with the acquis communautaire to be allowed to join the EU.
Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), ex Article 3(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), it is adopted that: ???In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women???. In brief, the rights concerning gender equality consist of not only legal acts and provisions but also of numerous directives, recommendations, decisions, several action programs and rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for equal treatment and non-discrimination. Gender Equality is one of the main rights and values of the EU. Since the six founders (Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the EU has obliged the all Member States to promote gender equality. All in all, ???the EU (i.e. all its institutions and organs) is required to aim eliminating inequalities, and to promote equality between men and women in all its activities??? (http://europa.eu). Under these conditions, Poland as a member state of the EU since 2004 has made some amendments; for instance, her amendments to the Labour Code. They oblige to provide the equal payments for work and to ban discrimination based on sex. However, the transformation of formal gender equality did not translate into a factual one. Unfortunately, gender equality politics have never been a top political priority in Poland. There has generally been other priorities which are seen as more important than improving women??™s equality with men. ???The conservative EU-member-state governments try to water down progressive objectives and/or implement EU gender-equality policies either hesitantly or halfheartedly??? (Rutkowska, 2008, p.19). In Poland, ???actions of state institutions indicate that they do not understand the equality tools, let alone use them??? (Rutkowska, 2008, p.89). The President of Poland from 2005 to 2010 was Lech Aleksander Kaczynski. Kaczynski prohibited the Warsaw gay parade two times in 2004 and also in 2005. He, willing to justify himself said that the parade organizers??™ application was not properly filled. Furthermore, he states that he did not respect homosexuals??™ right. He was afraid of contributing these parade to promote homosexual lifestyle.
Picture 2: Pope Benedict XVI (on the left) and Polish President Lech Kaczynski (on the right) Source: www.spiegel.de
Department for Women, Family and Prevention of/Counteracting Discrimination (DWFD ) at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy Between 2005 and 2007, the DWFD implemented some projects. These projects aimed to prevent gender discrimination; however, they were only some attempts while implementing gender mainstreaming policies at the governmental level. These projects could not be 6
translated into social and political life. This results from the DWFD??™s low rank in political hierarchy, from the limited competences of the DWFD??™s authorities and from mainly emphasis on re-familization policies rather than on women??™s quality of life.
3.4.1 Political Parties and Parliament The Catholism continue playing a big role in public in the post-communist Poland and the new founded political parties refers to the Christian values ans includes them in their programs in parliament. The elections are still showing that women candidates are placed significantly lower than men on the lists. The percentage of women candidates have not been exceeded approximately 20%. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2010 data, the percentage of women in the Polish Parliament has been 20% from 2006 to 2010. Conversely, the Scandinavian countries have the highest percentages of women in parliament in the world. The Global Gender Gap Report 2010 data shows that the percentage of the women in parliament is 40% in Norway and in Finland, 46 % in Sweden, 38% in Denmark (see Table 2). It can be expected that these numbers for Poland will be similar during the next terms. However, according to the David Mentiply??™s article titled ???How Poland is pushing for gender equality in Parliament??? dated December 12, 2010, the Polish Sejm (parliament) passed a law (the Parytet law) and this law provides radical changes in Poland??™s electoral lists. According to him, ???In a deeply religious and socially conservative country, this could represent a breakthrough in attitudes towards women and their role in civic society???.
Poland, as one of the countries which underwent a great change from communist system to capitalist system and then joined the EU, has not given priority to the concept of gender equality on her agenda. Some of the women??™s organizations, interest groups, activists have pushed the Polish leaders for implementing gender equality policies in the country. Moreover, the EU membership has obliged Poland to comply with the EU??™s acts since 2004. As is known, the EU has consistently developed the gender equality politics. Although, the concept of gender equality has been an item on the agenda of the EC/EU since its establishment, Poland as a member state of the EU ??“ has still conservative family policies and she is still too religious. This conservatism results from the both the communist ideological legacy about gender and the role of the Church. The Catholic Church is one of the oldest religious institutions in the world and the role of Catholic Church is very prominent in the lives of the Catholic Polish people and in promoting traditional family rules in the country. The Polish conservatism become more apparent especially when compared with the Scandinavian social democratic states which are the most gender equal welfare states in Europe. 7
The key element of a society is individuals. The individuals are equal, they have specific rights and all rights should be granted to women equally with men. It is necessary to overcome gender inequality. Even though there are some different conservative implementations in Poland, she is also trying to comply with EU??™s common gender policies. In time, ideas of more equal gender roles can be excepted to increase. She makes some regulations, takes some decisions and implements some action programs but they are not enough and not sometimes the correct actions in favor of gender equality. Nowadays, income and labor market policies made staying out of the labor market extremely difficult for women. Because to survive on only one income is not easy for families, especially for large families with lots of children. It should be thought that how best to promote gender equality in Poland.
Books: Wallace H., Wallace W., A.Pollack M., ???Policy-Making in the European Union???(5th Ed.), Oxford University Press, New York, 2005. Baylis J. & Smith S., ???The Globalization of World Politics???(3rd Ed.), Oxford University Press, New York, 2005. Magnusson L. & Strath B. (eds.), ???A European Social Citizenship: Preconditions for Future Policies from a Historical Perspective???, P.I.E. Peter Lang, Brussels, 2004. Articles: Rutkowska, Ewa (2008), ???Gender Mainstreaming in Poland ??“ A Case Study???, Gender Mainstreaming, How Can We Successfully Use Its Political Potential Heinrich Boll Foundation Regional Office Warsaw Saxonberg, Steven and Sirovatka, Tomas(2006) ???Seeking the Balance Between Work and Family After Communism???, Marriage & Family Review Pascall, Gillian (2008) ???Gender and European Welfare States??? School of Sociology and Social Policy University of Nottingham NG7 2RD Grollman C.& Ohana Y., 2007, ???Young People in Poland: their situation and needs, and the youth policy environment, Independent consultants to UNFPA??? Borchors A., 2009, ???Scandinavian gender equality: Competing discourses and paradoxe??? Feminist Research Center in Aalborg, Department of History, International and Social Studies, Aalborg University Other sources: ???Pope condones condom use in exceptional cases-book??? from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11804398 ???Pope Benedict says that condoms can be used to stop the spread of HIV??? from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/21/pope-benedict-condoms-hiv-infection World Economic Forum-The Global Gender Gap Report 2010 http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.doreference=MEMO/10/430 http://bianet.org/kadin/medya/44654-abnin-yeni-uyelerinde-kadin http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,459791,00.html 9
? Article 2 TEU
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. ? Article 3 TEU
?????¦It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child??¦??? ———————Table 1: The Global Gender Gap Index 2010 Rankings: Comparisons with 2009, 2008
Table 2: Some Statictics According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2010