Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Women's Day - No More Exploitation


Women's Day is a big event in this part of the world. As in other countries in the region women are given flowers in Poland on March 8th - following a tradition passed down from Communist times. Yet outside of these celebrations the political side of Women's Day is becoming increasingly prominent. On Sunday women's organisations in Poland held marches (Manifa) in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Toruń, Kraków and Wrocław.

The Warsaw demonstration was organised under the slogan 'No More Exploitation - We Quit Our Service'. Up to 6,000 people attended this demonstration and included women and men from a variety of backgrounds, ages and political persuasions. This event has become increasingly popular and successful due to its ability to combine the political demands of women concerning issues such as reproductive rights with socio-economic issues like income inequality, lack of nurseries, maternity leave, etc. There was a strong presence of trade unionists on the march - including from the teachers' and nurses' trade unions.

Women certainly have much to protest about in Poland. Abortion is illegal, maternity rights and benefits are poor, pensions are lower, there is a lack of nurseries and child care services and there are huge pay inequalities between men and women. Below I publish information posted on the site Lewica.pl that shows the extent to which women earn less than men in Poland:

Women in Poland earn on average a third less than men according to data published by the European Commission. Poland has some of the highest gender inequalities in Europe. In Italy the salaries of men and women differ by around 5%; however in Poland and Estonia this is about 30%. The European average equals 17.5%.

Furthermore, a report into salaries in Poland carried out by the Human Resource company Sedlak & Sedlak - using a sample from the Internet of over 101,000 respondents - discovered that the average Polish woman earns 1,000pln less than the average Polish man.

Kraków is the worst in this respect with men paid up to 38% more than women - which is a few percent less than in Warsaw, Katowica and Poznań - where inequalities nevertheless exceed 30%. According to this research male architects earn as much as 2,500pln more than female architects and pharmacists 600pln more. Also while the average gross salary of a male supermarket cashier equals 1,717pln, his female counterpart earns just 1,500pln. The situation is similar for many other professions.

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