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UN Report: Discrimination and Lack of Equality Worsen in Poland

REPORTS & ANALYSISUN Report: Discrimination and Lack of Equality Worsen in Poland

In recent years, the situation in Poland has worsened in terms of phenomena such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and anti-Semitism, according to a report by the UN Global Compact Network Poland. Polish companies also have much to improve in the area of human and workers’ rights. The issues include disparities in women’s and men’s pay, a glass ceiling for women, and discrimination against people from the LGBTQIA+ community and people with disabilities.

Real changes in these areas have been forced by European legislation in recent years. “We have a long list of regulations that need to see the light of day, and they need to do so quickly – we have high expectations for the new government,” says Kamil Wyszkowski, Executive Director of the UN GCNP.

He emphasizes the importance of respecting human rights in business, especially considering the global supply chain. He points out that European companies’ obligations affect the quality of life and human rights observance in regions such as Southeast Asia, Africa, and South and Central America. Despite numerous solutions and adopted declarations, human rights are still not sufficiently respected.

The report’s authors highlight the growing role of business in this area. Globalization has allowed international corporations to control most of the global private market, influencing almost every aspect of life. As such, businesses have a real opportunity to influence living standards and the observance of human rights and workers’ rights.

In many cases, corporations positively influence the observance of human rights, especially in countries where oppressive national law is mitigated by international corporate standards that guarantee respect for human rights in the workplace. However, often, the situation is the opposite and business practices contribute to the violation of human rights and labor standards.

One of the most critical issues addressed by the United Nations in the context of human rights is the idea of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), which is reflected in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Experts indicate that social inequality, discrimination, and climate change are the world’s most significant challenges, in the combat of which business can play a key role.

In Poland, there is still a persistent issue of the ‘gender pay gap’, with women receiving lower wages than men for the same work, and the so-called ‘glass ceiling’, with women still underrepresented in leadership positions. The Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Poland states that this looks worse in Poland compared to the countries to which we aspire, and it needs a clear change.

Furthermore, the report “On the Road to DEI” reveals that phenomena such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and anti-Semitism have become worse in Poland in recent years. For example, a shocking 84% of LGBTQIA+ individuals in Poland are afraid for their safety due to discrimination. In addition, over 20% have experienced physical aggression, 54.6% verbal aggression, and 23.5% feel intolerance when dealing with health services.

According to the executive director, the new government has high expectations to address these human rights issues in business in Poland. The issues include regulations on parental leave, the protection of whistleblowers, and the protection and support for sexual minorities.

The executive director emphasizes the importance of having equality, freedom, and respect for rights arising from international regulations become the norm in Poland, not something extra that needs to be fought for.

In conclusion, the UN Global Compact Poland report demonstrates that implementing DEI principles into an organization’s culture is simply profitable – it translates into improved efficiency and better company performance. Diverse teams allow for better understanding of market needs, customers, and other stakeholders. Also, employees who feel appreciated, treated equally, and with respect are more engaged in their company’s activities. It also allows organizations to build their employer branding and hire the best talents.

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