The basic form of our activity is advocacy for gender equality, women’s rights and social and economic justice. The aim of our activities is to ensure that the policies and legislation in Poland are in line with international standards of equality between women and men, and with the conventions and agreements adopted by Poland. Currently, the main tool we use in our work in Poland is 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).
Advocacy on the phenomenon of cross-cutting discrimination in vocational education and the labor market (2015 -2017).
The basis for the development of the advocacy strategy was the study of vocational education and labor market for women gratudated from the vocational schools, and the analysis of labor market statistics and pay gap between men and women with that education (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).
The advocacy in years 2015-2016 was run within the program “Citizens for Democracy” funded by EEA funds.
The advocacy in years 2016-2017 is possible thanks to the Democracy in Action program (Counteracting Discrimination) funded by the Stefan BatoryFoundation
Advocacy for implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Activities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (2008 -2012)
Karat in cooperation with IWRAW Asia Pacific, has spread among organizations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) a bearly known CEDAW instrument – the optional protocol to this convention. It allows, among others, to bring a complaint against the state by the person / persons who consider that they have breached their CEDAW rights.
One of the tangible results was the ratification by Tajikistan, under the influence of the advocacy activities of our partner organization, the OptionalProtocol to CEDAW.
- Advocacy in Poland (2010-2017)
Advocacy for implementation of CEDAW and dissemination of knowledge about this convention were conducted in cooperation with the women’s rights organizations in Poland working as the Coalition for CEDAW coordinated by Karat.
As part of the advocacy activities, an alternative report on the implementation of the convention was prepared and sent twice to the CEDAW Committee: at the working session of the Committee, during which it formulated additional questions to the Polish Government (March 2014) and the 59th Session of the Committee, where the Polish governement presented its progress on implementing CEDAW Convention (October 2014).
The representatives for CEDAW Coalition took part in both sessions. They advocate for taking into account the conclusions and recommendations formulated in the alternative report first in the Committee’s questions to the government and later in the recommendations made by the Committee to Poland. Advocacy proved effective – both the Committee’s questions and its recommendations contained in the Final Notes on Poland largely took into account the Coalition’s demands for CEDAW.