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MaMa Foundation (MAMA)

Warsaw Poland
February 2011

Grant Description

In January 2011, UAF received a request from MAMA regarding discrimination against self-employed women in Poland. MAMA is an organization that works to empower mothers and advocate for their rights in the context of a conservative society. In their request, MAMA noted that Poland is the country in Europe with the lowest percentage of employed women, but the highest percentage of self-employed women. Self-employment is a way for women to avoid problems in the workplace such as salary inequality, sexual harassment, and unjust dismissals. However, self -employed women do not have the same legal protections and face other forms of social and legal discrimination. MAMA experienced this discrimination firsthand when the funding for a campaign to support domestic violence survivors was cut due to the fact that MAMA wished to use self-employed women experts for the project. According to a sexist and discriminatory interpretation of the employment law, these women could not be paid by MAMA due to their self-employment status. MAMA has since found alternative funding sources to carry out their project; however, this situation brought to light the need to publicly address the sexist treatment of women workers under law. MAMA requested UAF funds to run a campaign to raise awareness of discriminatory NGO and employment laws in Poland.

Impact Report

With UAF funds, MAMA launched a social campaign, “Business Mom is not Alone!,” in order to raise awareness among the public on the issues self-employed women face, conduct workshops on antidiscrimination rights, laws, and interpretation, and collect information to inform their recommendations. MAMA also initiated a free online advising service for self-employed women on their website. Additionally, MAMA consulted with antidiscrimination lawyers to write the statute and recommendations to be submitted to the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy on discrimination against self-employed women. They also submitted cases to local officials on the discrimination against self-employed women that has occurred with the sexist interpretation of the law of NGOs.