Network G Reconciling family and professional life, as well as the reintegration of men and women who have left the labour market, by developing more flexible and effective forms of work organisation and support services.
Project name Gender Index
Project number G0387

Project description

The Development Partnership's activities have been designed in response to discrimination faced by women on the labour market. The objective of the Project is to create permanent mechanisms for efficient company management that will consider equal gender opportunities policy. A model of woman-friendly enterprise will be developed under the Project.

The discrimination of women in Poland, documented by quantitative and qualitative surveys, has several aspects. Women face difficult access to higher management positions, women's wages are lower comparing to their male counterparts, they are rarely promoted and those taking a break in professional career for maternity or parental leave face serious problems when attempting to reenter the labour market.

As a result of Activity 1 the Partnership decided that its activities aimed at an improvement in women's labour market status will be primarily targeted at employers so that they are involved in the activities supporting women at the labour market. A lasting change in the status of women will require a wider cooperation between women empowerment experts, employers' and women's organisations. Furthermore, it is necessary to establish a positive social climate for starting a debate on gender discrimination.

In an attempt to work out instruments promoting employment of women based on gender equality, the Partnership focused on the following areas of activity: (a) to establish Gender Index; (b) to increase employers' awareness of women discrimination issues; (c) to enhance employers' knowledge and skills associated with support to and promotion of women at work; (d) to improve public awareness of women discrimination at work.

The Gender Index is a tool for analyzing and monitoring the situation of women at work, making it possible to provide a real and unbiased diagnosis of employer's policy in terms of compliance with the principles of equal opportunities. When included into regular benchmarking of enterprises across Poland, the index will become a part of the long-term process helping to promote the idea of equal opportunities at workplace, in combination with the ethics of a responsible and efficient business. The key component of the Project is the procedure of "enfranchising" the index and its inclusion into existing system of awarding the best entrepreneurs and businesses. In this way a precision analytical tool designed by a group of academic experts will be incorporated into business and private ownership sector.

Employers' awareness of women discrimination issues will be further stimulated by the contest for the business which is "most friendly to female workers". A survey made under the contest and a procedure for identification of good corporate practice of support to female workers will serve as a basis for the development of a handbook of equal opportunities at work. This will be the core of a training module designed specifically for employers.

A team of trainers, professionally prepared for delivery of training in equal opportunities to the employers, will be trained to deliver pilot training events to a group of selected participants. An awareness campaign, involving four large awareness meetings and 16 regional debates (attended by local mass media and non-government organisations' representatives), is intended to bring the focus of various regional communities on discrimination of women.

As a result of activities delivered under the Project, employers will have an opportunity to get an insight into labour law provisions on equal opportunities of men and women at work. Moreover, they will learn about benefits from equal treatment of the two genders and how to introduce corporate and HR management standards based on equal opportunities, as well as activities intended to support women at workplace.

Following Project completion, Partnership's products will be available to all interested parties from each partner organisation.

Project outcomes will be disseminated by: interactive Project website providing on-line reciprocate contact with users; all-Poland billboard campaign; regional debates with the participation of local authorities, media and business people; discussion panels attended by experts and general public; conferences, meetings, training events and publications. New knowledge and experience from the Project are to be included into the canon of HR management teaching.