Both women and men play important roles in productive work throughout the world, providing for themselves and their families. Gone are the days when women did all the domestic chores and men worked outside the home to put food on the table. But this worldwide change isn’t complete. Even today, women’s roles often seem invisible, as they tend to be more informal, such as self-employment and subsistence production. And, no doubt, they still do most of the historic cooking, cleaning and taking-care-of-baby tasks.
And even when women and men perform the same tasks for pay, women are often paid less and receive smaller benefits from their work. Not many Polish companies have fulfilled the European standards of equal treatment of men and women in work. This is the main conclusion after the second part of the competition: the Company of Equal Chances.
“The incomes, access to promotion, the protection from the mobbing and sexual harassment are the areas in which we can observe unequal treatment. Few companies have these arguments on the workers’ complaints,” said Ewa Lisowska of the Warsaw School of Economics.
She emphasized the fact that only 28 percent of companies monitor the incomes of their workers. The competition jurors found that there are differences between women and men in income. And women rarely work as supervisors. Only in 17 percent of small and medium companies and in 31 percent of big companies were there organized courses that present techniques on how to protect women from discrimination and sexual harassment. Men hold the majority of power positions and decision-making in the public sphere, with the result that decisions and policies tend to reflect the needs and preferences of men.
Discrimination is also seen in recruiting and hiring. In the help-wanted advertisements employers frequently use “men” instead of neutral suffixes. For example, mailmen rather than letter carriers or delivery men instead of delivery drivers. According to the report, in job interviews women are often asked about family plans and having children. Sometimes, the employers force young women to sign a declaration that they won’t have children in the next two years. Such procedures are illegal but many women, desperate for work, as a ploy to find much-needed jobs, forfeit their legal rights and declare that they won’t have children during the specified time period.
However, from among the 100 private and national companies that were monitored during the competition, analysts found the winners. In the category of small and medium companies, the best was Skrivanek Company, a translation agency. According to the jury, the company ensures equal access for men and women, co-financed medical service for workers and their families and did the same to help children learn foreign languages. Among big companies, the winner was the Academy of Humanities and Economics in Lodz, which stands out with good policies in promotions and hiring. The second and third place honorees were Procter & Gamble and the Specialist Hospital in Tarnow. Many experts have emphasized that such competitions play a large role in the struggle for equal rights for women on the job. Prestige justifiably follows when organizations win the modern battle as a Company of Equal Chances.