Polish Women Write to EU Commissioner
The Polish Government is clearly trying to avoid making political decisions which would resolve problems of gender equality as well as non-discrimination.
Dear Commissioner Spidla,
While still on the subject of Your meeting with the representatives of Polish women's groups which took place in Brussels on the 7th April 2008 and which dealt with the issue of the Polish Government failing to carry out the EU directives referring to gender equality we wish to communicate our greatest concern with the current situation in our country as there still hasn’t been any significant progress in this area.
Despite earlier assurances Poland still hasn't passed and implemented the Bill of Gender Equality. In March 2008 the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland appointed a government Plenipotentiary for gender equality with a limited mandate, especially in the sphere of discrimination against women, who publicly admitted that she is not entirely committed to the cause.
The Bill of Equal Status has been prepared by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Its latest updated version is an example of legislative measures which aim to adapt Polish law to European (EU) directives. This project is primarily regulatory in its nature and it will not have any lasting effects on social change.
The policy of neglect and inaction adopted by the government of the Republic of Poland is preventing us from being able to fully exercise our civil rights, including the right to representation, and from having any real influence on the decision making processes.
The Polish government seems to overlook women’s issues, failing to include them in the public debate.
Another cause for concern is the fact of limited access of women to European funds due to women’s needs not being treated as a priority, and the low participation of women’s organizations in the absorption of EU funding.
Similar policy is being adopted by local governments who fail to allocate in their budgets any funds for civil education or education in the field of equal opportunities.
On the 7th of April a year will have passed pass since our last meeting with You, when we discussed these issues. Despite the efforts of feminist circles no positive social change has taken place.
Therefore we appeal to You to continue monitoring the situation in Poland, and also to inform us about the current position on this issue of the EU Commission, which we would like to discuss in our organizations.
We would like to organize „round table” talks on gender equality in Poland, with Your participation, Honorable Commissioner, together with the representatives of the Polish Parliament and Government and representatives of women’s organizations. We consider it to be the last chance for reaching a social consensus.
We propose a meeting that would have the character of a debate or a conference and would take place between 2nd and 11th of April 2009 or at another suitable date set by You, Honorable Commissioner.
At the same time we are requesting to be informed on the current stance of the EU Commission on the situation in Poland; the nature of the support that we are likely to receive and what we can do ourselves in order to accelerate some of the processes or to have influence on Poland’s fulfilling her obligations with regard to the EU directives.
We do not consent to a situation whereby Polish women are second class citizen; neither do we agree with women’s redundancy status in decision making processes nor with a failure to address our needs and aspirations in the country’s policy making.
Polish Women’s Lobby
translation: Monika Sarnowska