- Cross discrimination of women with vocational education – Summer School workshops in Cracow
Coordinator of the program, Ms. Kinga Lohmann, took part in a conference “Gender equality and quality of life. Creating policies under new gender regimes” held on Aug. 30-Sep. 4 as a part of Summer School in Cracow. The event has become a good opportunity to address the issue of women’s discrimination on Poland’ labor market. Twenty students of Ph.D. programs as well as independent scientists from Poland, Norway and other European and non-European countries discussed the relationship between gender equality and quality of life while working on recommendations and policy tools for policy makers both in Poland and Norway.
During the workshop “Gender regimes and economic limitations of neoliberalism” Kinga Lohmann presented methods of advocacy used by KARAT Coalition to prevent cross discrimination based on sex as well as low education-economic status. Gender analysis of data on vocational education (school year 2013-2014) reveals high discrepancy between the number of male (72 %) and female (28 %) students. The discrepancy is reflected on the labor market where men with vocational education represent 32 % while women – only 18 %. Kinga Lohmann also emphasized that 30 % wage gap between men and women with vocational education (31 % in 2012) is much higher than national average. This alarming phenomenon has become a starting point to implement the project, she said.
The coordinator explained that the project is based on Final Remarks by CEDAW Committee for Poland (2014) that are an awareness raising tool and make KARAT’s advocacy efforts in the area legitimate. She also presented research methods used in the projects as well as various stages of effective advocacy building. The results of qualitative studies among a group of young women (between 20-34 years of age) and analysis of the wage gap between men and women have become a strong argument that convinced trade unions and other education and labor market-related social actors to join the project. The resulting recommendations will be aimed at improving women’s access to vocational education based on current labor market needs, including women’s access to professions that can guarantee decent wages, equal to the ones earned by men. Kinga Lohmann summarized her presentation by saying that advocacy is a political process where social actors play a very important role – they help to raise policy makers’ awareness while influencing public opinion and building political and social system.
- Promoting women in non-traditional occupations
In June 30,2015 the researches’ coordinator, Kinga Lohmann, participated in the international conference „Lean in STEM – How (and why?) to support women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)” to learn a concept and methodology of campaign promoting women in non-traditional occupations involving the new technologies. The conference was organized by the Campaign “Girls as Engineers!”. The conference was a good opportunity to establish contacts and present our project in a context of supporting girls in non-traditional occupations. As a result of this event the project’s coordinators met with the representatives of the Campaign and talked about a joint campaign that would promote women in non-traditional occupations involving new technologies on a level of vocational education.
- Ministries do not see a problem of girls’ discrimination in basic vocational schools and on labour market.
In June 9-13, 2015 KARAT hosted 15 representatives of State’s institutions and NGOs from Romania. The group came to Warsaw within a project “Transnational Partnership for an inclusive labor market for young people” . The guests learned about innovative and successful programmes and practices for employability, social inclusion, education and vocational trainings of young people including combating discrimination against women in the labour market. The stress was put on a situation of men and women with a vocational training. The representative of Karat Coalition talked about the project and problem of girls and women’s discrimination with vocational education on the labor market. This issue was also raised by Karat during the meetings with the representatives of Ministry of Education and Ministry of Laboru and Social Policy. The representatives of the ministries admitted that they are aware of a lack of skilled workers on the labour market but they do not see the problem of gender discrimination in vocational education and an alarming gap pay between men and women with this educational background. The project’s expert highlighted the problem and announced the further advocacy in the ministries. The guests with the representative of Karat also visited the Center for Practical Education, International Center for Researches and Analyses (ICRA), the Trade Union (OPZZ), the employers’ association – Lewiatan and the Campaign “Girls as Engineers!”.
- The problem of cross-cutting discrimination and CEDAW Committee’s recommendation for Poland
In June 18, 2015 the Karat Coalition in cooperation with NGOs Coalition for CEDAW organized a „round table” concerning the CEDAW Committee’s recommendations about an employment and economic situation of women in Poland. The participants learned how the recommendations are implemented by the State’s institutions – the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Science and Higher Education, General Health and Safety Executive and Ministry of Administration and Digitization. One of the NGO’s expert was Kinga Lohmann being a representative of Karat Coalition and the project “Cross-cutting discrimination. Gender and vocational education”. Kinga Lohmann talked, among others, about a limited offer of professions aimed at girls comparing to a wide range of professions to choose for boys in the vocational schools. She stressed the role of gender stereotypes which often strongly influence the girls’ choices of professions. Choosing the feminized professions often means being much less paid than men on the labour market. Ewa Lisowska, the project’s expert, talked about a huge pay gap between women and men with vocational educational background on the labour market.
- Important stage of the project accomplished!
In the end of May an important stage of our project, the sociological interviews, was accomplished. The methods, places and women who took part in it were identified during the meetings and consultations with the market research company which conducted the interviews. The research contained: 6 individual interviews (IDI) with women working in so called “men’s professions” and 6 focused group interviews (FGI) with employed and unemployed women with vocational educational background, age 20-34. The interviews were held in 4 cities: Kielce, Olsztyn, Siedlce and Warsaw.
As a result we got the answers to following questions:
- what are the reasons for girls choosing vocational schools (social influences: family, peers etc.)
- what is a quality of vocational education in their opinions: preparing for a work, teachers, peers
- how a society sees women with vocational educational background: stereotypes, self-esteem or lack of it, etc.
- what is their situation on the labour market in their opinions: problems with finding a job, attitude of employers, examples of discrimination (low wages, asking for reproductive plans etc.)
- how their situation on labour market influences their plans to have a family.
Basing of the research’s results the sociological report describing girls and women’s situation in vocational schools and on labour market will be made.