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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » July 1, 2009
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Women Demand Equal Rights
July 1, 2009   
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Some 3,000 women, including academics, business executives, artists, government officials and parliamentarians, flocked to a Congress of Polish Women in Warsaw June 20-21 to demand parity with men in politics and equal rights in other areas.

Congress organizers included ex-First Lady Jolanta Kwa¶niewska, leftist politician Prof. Magdalena ¦roda, and businesswoman Henryka Bochniarz, head of the Lewiatan Polish Confederation of Private Employers. The event was held under the auspices of institutions including the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

Among the participants were First Lady Maria Kaczyńska and Melanie Verveer, Ambassador At-Large for Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State, who was a special guest of the conference.

Topics discussed at the meeting included the role of women in politics, science, sports, local government and business, the situation of women on the labor market, women's health and difficulties in reconciling a professional career with family life.

Congress participants called for the introduction of parities for election lists and the appointment of an independent commissioner for Women and Equality.

The congress comprised 10 discussion panels whose participants talked about the role of women in different areas of life. A panel entitled Women 50+: Mature Women Active in the Labor Market attracted officials including Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, the deputy minister of labor and social policy, while film director Agnieszka Holland, actress Krystyna Janda and writers Manuela Gretkowska and Katarzyna Grochola took part in the panel Women in Culture. A panel called Women, School, Stereotypes was devoted to the education sector. Although the number of female teachers by far outnumbers that of male ones, educational institutions remain a bastion of stereotypes that frustrate gender equality, congress participants said.

Prior to the congress, a report was compiled on the situation of women in Poland over the past two decades.
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