Welcome to the fifth installment in the ongoing Local Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight series. In these blog posts, we’ll be exploring how various countries around the world address diversity and inclusion in their culture and workplace.
Our newest spotlight country? Poland, a country that celebrates its National Independence Day in November.
Here are five things to know about diversity and inclusion in Poland.
Although businesswomen in Poland are generally treated well, there are fewer female executives than male.
Women are well represented in the Polish workforce. Nevertheless, there is a wage gap, and few women hold the highest positions. While it is becoming more acceptable for women to have upper management positions, there are few female executives today. In some respects, Poland remains a traditional patriarchal society.
Polish women often speak of a “glass ceiling” that is difficult to break through. However, a large number of women are owners of private companies, above the European average.
While foreign businesswomen often participate in business meals, it is less common for women to attend drinking sessions.
Women routinely participate in parties and restaurant meals as part of business socializing. However, drinking sessions tend to be for men only. As important information may be shared and bonds formed, this can put women at a disadvantage. Some high-ranking women on visiting negotiating teams, for example, designate trusted male assistants to attend these functions.
Homosexuality is legal, with the age of consent set at 15 years for both gay people and straight people.
Homosexuality has never been criminalized in Poland. The age of consent is 15 years for both gay and straight couples. Gay prostitution was legalized in 1969, and in 1991 homosexuality was no longer listed as a disease.
Transgender people are allowed to change their names and genders on official documents but must first have reassignment treatments.
Reassignment treatments (including therapies and surgery) are not covered by health insurance. Legal change of name and gender is done through a civil court case, rather than through regular administrative channels.
Same-sex civil unions and marriages are not recognized, and same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children.
Civil unions and same-sex marriage are not recognized in Poland. The nation’s constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children, though some same-sex couples live together and may take care of children (from their own or their partner’s previous relationships). However, partners in this situation are not granted information about their partners or their children’s health. In addition, straight couples are given preference in access to reproductive services.
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