Project BANDIAR SWOT-analysis of Polen by City of Bydgoszcz
The BANDIAR SWOT report on the public participation of women in Bydgoszcz has been prepared by the City Hall of Bydgoszcz, the Department of Culture and International Co-operation with collaboration of local partners such as: the County Job Centre, the Municipal Centre of Welfare, Office for Co-operation with Non-Governmental Organisations, formal and informal groups dealing with gender issues and equality, representatives of research institutions. The report reflects current state of women participation in public life including key factors such as: employment market, professional activisation, social reintegration, poverty, presence in the local authorities. According to suggested methodology the report demonstrates: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of women participation at the City of Bydgoszcz local level. Thanks to the SWOT report and implementation of the BANDIAR project all local stakeholders will receive a complete picture of challenges of increasing women participation along with barriers that make this process complex in its character.
According to statistical figures from the 31st of March 2009, 190.827 women live in Bydgoszcz, which consist 53% of the Bydgoszcz population (358.928). Data on educational background and employment activities, which are one of the most significant factors affecting women participation shows that women invest financial resources into educational progress and they are more active on employment market. According to figures and research conducted by the Bydgoszcz County Job Centre women consist 57% among group that received various forms of support from the above institution. Among unemployed persons women with academic background consist 59% , there are also more women with high education, than men (60,7%). Educational and professional potential reflects figures delivered by public and private universities and collages functioning in the city of Bydgoszcz. Among students of Bydgoszcz – 43.844, 58,9% are women (total number in the academic year 2007/2008 is 25.815). The even higher percentage shows numbers on recent graduates, women consist 63,8% off all graduates from local universities and collages (academic year 2007/2008).
Within local authorities women occupy prestigious public functions, that demand both high qualification and political support. The Chairman of the Bydgoszcz City Council is Mrs. Dorota Jakuta a Councillor, the Vice-Mayor of Bydgoszcz is Mrs. Lucyna Kojder-Szweda, a lawyer with extensive experiences in public procurement at the local level. Also situation within non-governmental sector reflects, that women are professional managers of various NGO’s, particularly those that focus on social issues like: lonely mothers, domestic violence, children care, health protection, etc. Public sector, specially institutions linked with local community such as: Job Centre, Welfare Centre, department of the City Hall of Bydgoszcz are very often headed by women. Municipal culture, international co-operation, health, budget and financing, NGOs support are managed successfully by women. The BANDIAR project shows the will to support women participation in public life. From the other hand extensively expressed interest within the panel reflected a feed-back, intensive interest of local community to participate in such activities.
The City Hall of Bydgoszcz does not publish a detailed analysis focused on the positions occupied by women in local public life. The lack of the above analysis make picture of women activities in that sphere not properly explored. However, available figures delivered by the Bydgoszcz County Job Centre and the Municiapal Welfare Centre show, that women are the risk group in such negative social phenomenon as: poverty, long-unemployment, social exclusion and discrimination on employment market. Passiveness and lack of interest in public life are directly linked with social marginalisation, therefore, women are experiencing more extensively economic crises and stereotypes on social and familiar roles. According to data from the Municipal Welfare Centre in the year 2010 women will consist 55,31% (4.290) among the total number of clients of the institution 7.745. The long-lasting phenomenon of women discrimination on Polish employment market reflects data and interviews conducted by the Bydgoszcz County Job Centre. According figures from the march 2009 52,5% of the overall number of unemployed are women, despite better qualification, higher education and motivation. In Poland, still stereotypes and division of family roles have strong impact on public activity, for example one of the most important factors indicated while rejecting job offer is necessity to take care the children or the other depended person. As far as women’s participation in political life is concerned, the City Council of Bydgoszcz has law level of women holding a mandate of a councillor. Among 31 municipal councillors only 7 are women, which is 22,5%. At the top management of local community women participation is even weaker, the executive board consists of 7 members (Mayor, 4 Vice-Mayors, Secretary and Treasurer) among them only 1 woman holds position of the Vice-Mayor, which gets 14,2%.
The following opportunities can be applied to increase public participation of women at the local level in Bydgoszcz:
- educational campaign on equality and balancing family and public role in society. This can be achieved both by stimulating schools supervised by the local government and the primary, gymnasium and post-gymnasium, co-operation with universities introducing gender courses along with non-formal education;
- community campaign on women participation in the City Council. The campaign can stress from the one hand several opportunities for women holding position of the councillor and from the other ”citizens” duty to take part in the local election and vote;
- implementation of several projects, where gender issues are treated horizontally and women participation is guaranteed. This happens within EU project, but the approach should be applied beyond the EU project, namely within all events and enterprises undertaken at the public level;
- supporting women in achieving further steps of educational and professional development as education and professional activity is strongly linked with public participation. This opportunity would be defined as a common tasks of companies, universities, NGOs and local authorities;
- ensuring an appropriate percentage of women on voting list before elections. A public pressure along with social campaign should be an outstanding factor influencing stakeholders while creating a voting list.
The threats, that might restrain women participation in public life at the Bydgoszcz local level are as follows:
- discrimination on women on employment market, where women presenting better qualification face more problems with balancing family life and public activity;
- shortage of institutional and political incentives for women expressing will to participate actively in public life;
– shortage of EU and local projects promoting equality and gender balance, particularly on the voting list;
– exclusion of women from top management positions within local authorities.