The main form of our activities are the advocacy for gender equality, women’s rights and social and economic justice. Our aim is to make the policies and legislation in Poland in line with the international standards of equality between women and men, and with the conventions and agreements adopted by Poland. Our initiatives in Poland refers mainly to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
In the past Karat was heavily involved in advocacy at theUnited Nations level (implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW and ILO conventions), the European Union level (especially in the context of the EU enlargement process in 2004-2007 and the neighborhood policy), and in the countries of the Karat’s member organizations (the Region).
Get to know Karat’s latest advocacy activities:
- Advocacy on cross-cutting discrimination – Gender and the vocational education (2015 – 2017)
- Activities aimed at the decision makers in Poland, Czech, Slovakia and Hungary to make them notice the problem of horizontal segregation in vocational schools and on the labor market.
- Activities for implementing the CEDAW Convention.
The starting point for developing the advocacy strategy was Karat’s research of vocational education and labor market for women gratudated from vocational schools, and the analysis of the statistics on employment and pay gap between men and women (see “Vocational training and labor market for women with basic vocational education” and “Disparities between earnings of men and women with basic vocational education”).
In our work we referred to the CEDAW Convention signed by the Polish government. The government is obligated to take action to eliminate discrimination against women in employment and ensure the same employment rights, choice of profession and equal pay. Karat in partnership with the experts form the trade unions, academia, NGOs, educational and labour market’s institutions developed the recommendations for systemic solutions for the government. The main recipients of the recommendations were: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy, Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment, National Labor Inspectorate.
Currently, the advocacy activities are conducted in cooperation with the trade unions: the Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP), the Polish Craft Trade’s Union (ZRP) and the All -Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ). We advocate for introducting the female gramatical forms of the professions. We have sent the letters to the relevant ministries calling for that. Having the female forms of professions would help to break down the barriers to girls’ access to the boys dominated vocational classes and, consequently, to equalize their educational and labor market opportunities. The representatives of the unions have significant functions in the Social Dialogue Council (appointed by the President in October 2015 as the Trilateral Commission).
Karat in cooperation with three organizations from the Visegrad Group countries developed the policy paper for the decision makers presenting the problem of horizontal segregation of girls in vocational education and women with vocational education on the labor market. We formulated the short and long-term recommendations aiming at combating the gender stereotypes in professions as well as increasing the number of girls in occupations traditionally dominated by boys.
The policy paper was based on the analysis of statistical data carried out by the organizations participating in the project in their countries. The result of the data analysis in Poland is the information material “Horizontal segregation of women and men on the labor market. Showing the phenomenon from a perspective of the statistics and researches conducted by the Karat Coalition “.
The advocacy activities were carried on within the international project “Girls can do it! Supporting nontraditional career choices of women with vocational education”.
Activities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (2008 -2012)
Karat in cooperation with IWRAW Asia Pacific promoted the little known in the Region CEDAW’s instrument – the Optional Protocol to CEDAW Convention. We spread the knowledge about this document among the organizations from the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan). The protocol allows to submit the individual complain to the CEDAW Committee (it monitors the convention’s implementation) against the State by a person who considers that the State has violated their rights guaranteed by the CEDAW Convention (more about the Optional Protocol at http://karat.org/cedaw/en/index.php?group_id=1&id=1).
One of the tangible results was the ratification by Tajikistan influenced by the partner organization’s advocacy activities of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW Convention.
Activities in Poland (2010-2017)
Advocacy for implementation of CEDAW Convention, as well as spreading the knowledge about the convention itself were carried on in cooperation with organizations working for women’s rights in Poland, which are part of the Coalition for CEDAW coordinated by Karat.
Within the advocacy activities we prepared the alternative report on how Poland implement the Convention in practice. The report was sent twice to the CEDAW Committee. For the first time for the Committee’s Working Session and the Committee formulated the additional questions to the Polish government (March 2014). The second time for the 59th Session of the Committee where the Polish government presented its own official report on the issue (October 2014). The Coalition for CEDAW also sent a list of proposed questions to the Committee’s Working Session that the Commitee used to formulate queries to Poland.
The representatives of the Coalition for CEDAW took part in both sessions of the Committee making sure that the Commitee in its questions and recommendations for Poland takes into account the conclusions and recommendations formulated in the alternative raport. During the 59th Session the Coalition for CEDAW presented its official statement. The advocacy brought good effects as both the Committee’s questions as well as its recommendations formulated in the Final Conclusions to Poland took into account the postulates of the Coalition for CEDAW.
The next stage of the Coalition for CEDAW’s activities was to monitor the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations, promote them among the civil servants and exert pressure on state institutions which are responsible for their implementation. We sent the letters and questionnaires to the relevant ministries and offices, and organized the round table meetings in cooperation with the Office of the Ombudsman and with the support of the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment. The round table meetings brought together the representatives of relevant ministries and institutions, representatives of non-governmental organizations, academics, researchers and other social actors .
The results of the monitoring were: the Report on the implementation of the CEDAW Committee’s recommendations for Poland (March 2016) and the Alternative follow-up information on the steps taken to implement the recommendations indicated in Concluding Observations on the combined 7th and 8th periodic reports of Poland (October 2016). The information was sent to the Committee in January 2017.
The advocacy activities in 2016-17 were possible thanks to the program Democracy in Action (Counteracting discrimination) of the Stefan Batory Foundation (institutional grant).
The advocacy activities in 2015-16 were conducted as a part of the “Citizens for Democracy” program financed by the EEA funds.