What we do

Frelki-Obywatelki – supporting women in the Silesian Voivodeship

114 901,10 EUR
Institute of Public Affairs, Phronesis SA

Despite the narrative appearing regularly in the media, according to which women can undertake the same social and political activities as men, the practice looks different. Women, for various reasons, often cannot and do not have the conditions to undertake such activities. The Frelka-Citizen project is to be a response to this problem. Using our experience and a set of good practices, we want to help overcome these often invisible barriers that hinder women’s involvement in civil society through the use of community organizing. Chorzów 24%, Gliwice 20%, Bytom 16% – this is the existing share of women in municipal authorities. How low these statistics are is even shown by a comparison (with the also much too low) participation of women in government, where it is 27%. With this data and at the same time plenty of examples from our previous everyday life, we are sure that this is not the right situation. There are plenty of women who would like to get involved in politics or the activities of the third sector, but for various reasons it is difficult for them. Social pressure, unpaid care work, the socialized belief that it’s “not necessarily appropriate” and “it’s not for me” and countless other reasons are the everyday life of most, if not all, women. However, we believe that thanks to bottom-up, organized activities, such as community organizing, mentoring or creating a support network, change is possible. We do not want to force women into the public sphere. We want to create the right conditions for them and give them the right tools, and they will know what to do with them.

You can listen to more about the project in the conversation between Monika Sekuła and Małgorzata Kopka-Piątek with Katarzyna Zacharska in the podcast of the Institute of Public Affairs (podcast is available in Polish)!

Target group

Women – residents, officials, workers and activists from two cities of the Silesian Voivodeship (Chorzów and Siemianowice Śląskie).

Key activities

Study of the determinants of socio-political activity of women from the Silesian Voivodeship
Today, knowledge is the most powerful resource, and we want to take advantage of it. Together with our partners from the Institute of Public Affairs, we will conduct qualitative research that will allow us to better understand the nature of women’s activity and the obstacles that can be encountered during it. We plan to conduct 20 in-depth interviews, because such a number is a standard in this type of research and will allow us to understand the specificity of the surveyed group. In addition to the cognitive value associated with the acquired knowledge, we also want to immediately involve women in the entire project through the process of collecting interviews and thus start networking and creating support groups.

It’s here! Who like who, but it is women who should change the world! You can download the research report by Małgorzata Druciarek and Małgorzata Kopka-Piątek (in Polish and English language versions).

Kto jak to, ale to kobiety powinny zmieniać świat – raport z badań It is women who should be changing the world – research raport

Community organizing
As part of the project, two groups of women will be created and led. As part of the project, conversations with residents will be conducted first, during which the problem that can be fixed through civic activity will be clarified. In this way, we will also select women who will form the right group. The most important step in this process will be group building; the organizer will take care of creating the identity of the group, will work out the rules and structure of the group, will take care of relations within the group. Then, the created and strengthened group will start a campaign aimed at solving one of the selected problems.

Women’s Civil Academy
From the women involved in the activities of both groups, a separate group of 15 will be selected to take part in a series of workshops that will focus on topics such as: campaigning and civic activities, leadership and public speaking, shaping local policies (in particular related to the topic environmental protection and climate change), conducting group processes – facilitation, using the method of dialogue in working with the community. As part of the cycle, there will be 4 two-day conventions, of which two will be held in Katowice, and two will be away. The away form not only provides additional integration to the group, but also allows women to break free from everyday duties and fully focus on the workshops. Women participating in the workshops will also be offered mentoring sessions on one or more topics related to activism and civic engagement.

Study visit in Oslo
There are also plans to organize a study visit to Norway, during which a group of committed women and people belonging to the Common Thing Foundation and the Institute of Public Affairs will take part in experimental dialogue workshops in conflict situations using the modern transformational learning technique. The trip plan also includes a meeting with local NGOs and a visit to the Memorial and Learning Center on the island of Utøya.

The visit resulted in meetings organized by our Foundation using the dialogue method in local communities. The experience and knowledge gained during the visit and dialogue meetings resulted in the publication “Usłyszeć siebie i innych. Wprowadzenie do metody dialogu w społecznościach”, which you can download in Polish.

Usłyszeć siebie i innych. Wprowadzenie do metody dialogu w społecznościach

More information about the project

Anna Szterleja-Pawlińska
Telefon: +48 694 761 050
E-mail: anna@rzeczspoleczna.pl

The project is financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway from the EEA Funds under the Active Citizens – Regional Fund Programme