Women’s Congress in Podlaskie

There were four hundred participants registered at the third Women’s Congress in Podlaskie region today. Mostly women for obvious reasons but several men as well. The Marshal and the Wojewoda being among them. And myself.

I spent five intensive hours there before I had to leave (now sitting in the car on my way back to Warsaw). As always – this was the third time at a regional congress – I am very happy that I got the opportunity to participate.

Just the possibility to listen to Professor Magdalena Fuszara, new Minister of Gender Equality, made the whole trip worth while. She made the case for a high female participation in politics in a way that I both hope and believe inspired many participants to further action. Obviously very important these days when the local and regional elections are approaching.

I focused my speech on Swedish experiences from family policy making it possible to combine professional and parental responsibilities. It is about high quality day care for all children but also, and not least, about encouraging the active participation of fathers – a theme that continues to be very present in the Polish debate. I was happy to hear it coming out as one major message from our panel.

I have had reason to describe the system of two Daddy’s months several times during my time in Poland and now I was able to add that the new Swedish Government plans to propose a third one.

These five hours contained a lot of impressions. Speeches. Press conference. Dancing performance by children (making me remember the ones where my daughters used to perform). Interesting discussions about innovation with Rector Edward Hoscilowicz and his team at the University of Finance and Management where the congress was held. A short visit to the stand of the Swedish company Oriflame being one of the partners of the event.

I brought with me not least one piece of encouraging information from a female police officer participating in the panel: the impact of the study visit by the previous Minister Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz to Sweden where she collected experiences from the Swedish police force in the area of fighting gender based violence. It had really been useful.

Cooperation between our countries that is practically useful – I hope more of that eventuallywill materialise in the area of gender equality. Many thanks to all my hosts taking care of me so well.


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