Gender and Labour Market in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (2002 – 2003)

The above title of the initiative is a descriptive one, the actual title of the project which is briefly described below was „Gender and Economic Justice in European Accession and Integration”.

This initiative was very important for KARAT Coalition and its members from the countries which were due to join the European Union in 2004. The feminist community from KARAT’s member states recognised the EU accession process as a tremendous opportunity for women from the Central and Easter European (CCE) candidate countries such as Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to advance their gender equality agenda. Its importance was linked to the fact that the EU standards provided the new concrete tools and mechanisms that women’s organisations could use in their efforts to ensure gender justice in their countries. At the same time economic and social forces and trends, directly or indirectly linked to the EU enlargement process, threatening women’s rights were observed.

What were the objectives of the project

 The objective of the project was to address issues relevant to women from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in the context of the EU accession and enlargement. What was particularly important was the fact that the EU was addressing gender predominantly in the context of economy (labour market and social services). At the same time economic issues were not commonly addressed by feminists from CEE, who predominantly focused on political and legal aspects of gender equality. Therefore, the objective of this initiative was also to increase the participation of women and women’s organisations from CEE candidate states in the EU debates related to economy and gender. This, among the others, was achieved through providing women and women’s organisations with skills, knowledge, data, tools but also confidence needed to participate in an informed economic debate.


How were we working

The project was implemented by KARAT Coalition with support (financial as well as content) of UNIFEM. The great majority of KARAT members were involved in some of the activities of the project, with members from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland playing particularly important role. The first stage of the project was implemented together with Network of East West Women/Polska.


Main activities

  • Production of 4 Gender Assessments: for Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The publications focus on positive and negative impact of the process of EU accession on women and their position in the labour market.
  • Economic Literacy training for KARAT members and other organisations and activists from CEE.
  • International conference focusing on women on the labour market in CEE candidate countries in the context of the EU accession process, held in Warsaw in 2003.
  • Participation in relevant events on the national and EU levels.
  • Development of lobbying and awareness raising materials.