The female portion of the Polish labor force (45.6% in 2017) is similar to the percentage in Western nations such as the US (45.8%), the UK (46.5%), and Germany (46.5%).
Although Polish women are active in all sectors of the national economy, they overwhelmingly value health (90.7%) and family (84.6%) over work (12.2%).
On average, Polish women retire 5 years earlier than men; however, the average Polish female lives almost 8 years longer than the average male.
After winning the 2015 elections, the Law and Justice government of Beata Szydło fulfilled one of its major promises by implementing the “Family 500+” social program. This program pays Polish families 500 PLN/month for every child after the first one.
40% of upper management positions in large and medium-sized Polish businesses are held by women (2017). 8% of Polish CEOs/directors are female. The number of Polish women running their own businesses has also risen steadily. Over 1000,000 Polish companies are now run by women.
According to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, female business involvement has increased by 36% in the past two years, more than in any of the other 73 countries studied.
According to a poll from the Warsaw University-based research institute DELab, 53% of Polish women said that their partners were supportive during the opening stages of their business. 25% of women states that their husbands encouraged them to start their business and offered to help in the process.
DOCTORS & NURSES
As of October 2017, 58% of Poland’s practicing physicians and 75.5% of its practicing dentists are women.98% percent of nurses in Poland are female.
In Sep51% of attorneys and legal counselors (radcy prawni) are women.
In the top ten legal offices ranked by Poland’s paper of record, Rzeczpospolita, 31% of the associates are women.
As of late 2015, approximately 82% of Poland’s 670,000 teachers were women. (Ministry of Education statistics for 2017 list a total of 691,000 teachers but do not provide information on their gender.
INDUSTRY & TECHNOLOGY
10% of Poles employed in mining are women, as are 31% of processing industry workers, and 22.5% of workers in the energy and heating sector (see GUS report for Q1 of 2018).
10% of Polish computer programmers are female.
In spite of a record number of IT employees in Poland, there is a huge demand for IT professionals and their number grew 30% from 2016 to 2017. The number of women studying the field (13.3% in Poland vs. 17.2% in the EU generally) is not keeping pace with sector growth and demand.
The general wage gap in Poland (7.7%) is much lower than the EU average (16.7%). That said, the gender wage gap in managerial positions is 27.7%, 4.3% higher than the EU average.
Studies have shown that Polish women have have lower wage expectations than men and less confidence in their ability to find work.
SEEKING WORK-FAMILY BALANCE
In 2017, the Polish workforce consisted of 55.4% men and 45.6% women.
34% of women in Poland are not in the workforce, five points higher than the EU average of 29%.
Many Polish women have expressed a preference for more flexible/part-time work schedules and/or the option to work from home.
49% of Polish women (polled by CBOS in 2017) would leave their job if their spouse earned more money; 39% of men would do the same.
Some Poles have expressed concern that women have left the labor force as a result of the “Family 500+” program. However, the Polish government hopes the program combats child poverty and boosts the nation’s birth rate, which is one of the lowest in Europe (but now slowly rising).
RETIREMENT & LIFE EXPECTANCY
The retirement ages in Poland are 65 for men and 60 for women.
Women have a longer life expectancy: 81.8 years for women versus 74 for men (in 2017). In 1990, the difference was 75.2 versus 66.2. This demonstrates the dramatic increase in life expectancy for both genders after the implosion of communism.