The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy and the Ministry of Education responded to the joint call of Karat Coalition and the Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP) to include the female grammatical forms in the names of professions. In our letters to the ministries we stressed that the female gramatical forms would attract women to professions traditionally dominated by men what would be beneficial for women, employers as well as schools.
The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy argues that the names of professions stated in the document “Classification of occupations and specialties for the labor market” refer to the profession itself and not to a person, and introducing the names in two forms (male and female) will result in reducing the readability of many documents. They also referred to an opinion of the linguists who claim that “the profession has no gender, the contractor of the profession has a gender”.
Karat and the ZNP agree that “the profession has no gender”. However, for the average person the majority of professions is just male. The male form clearly suggests that it is a man who does this job. That in case of professions dominated by men discourage the women from entering this profession. The rules of linguistics do not apply to the universal perception of professions’ names in society.
The Ministry of Education refers as well to the above-mentioned classification of occupations and specialties as the names of professions taught in vocational schools are based on it. In addition, the ministry argues that at schools there are no structural barriers and negative stereotypes that would prevent girls from choosing a profession dominated by boys. In theory, in education and on the labor market, there are no discrimination or gender stereotypes. Reality, however, is different.