Legal framework

The principle of equality between men and women is embedded in the Polish Constitution and Labour Code. However, the general equality law - the Act on the implementation of some regulations of European Union regarding equal treatment does not prohibit discrimination based on gender in higher education. The Law on Higher Education promotes equal participation of women and men in the Main Council of Science and Higher Education and in the Polish Accreditation Commission. The Act on the Principles of Financing Science stipulates that maternity and paternal leave should not be included in the calculation of maximum age for young researchers in the grant application process. 

Policy framework

Until October 2015, are no policies promoting gender equality in research have been put in place in Poland.

Other stimulatory initiatives

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is running the programme “Babies in the Academia” since December 2014. This programme provides financial support to universities which have or are setting up nurseries or care centres for young children. Until October 2015, 43 universities have received funds for this purpose.

L’Oréal, in cooperation with UNESCO and the Ministry of Science and Education, offers scholarships for women-scientists. Until October 2015, 70 women were granted a scholarship.

The Perspektywy Education Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Education and the Conference of Rectors of Polish Technical Universities, manages national campaigns promoting technical and engineering studies among female high school students and supporting women employed in the technology industry.

Key actors

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment are contributing to the promotion of gender equality in research. However, their intervention has been rather limited until now. More specifically, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education contributes financially to the scholarship of L’Oréal. The Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment and the Ministry of Science and Higher Educations are members of the Honorary Committee of Perspektywy Education Foundation campaigns.


The University of Warsaw and the University of Cracow prevent discrimination using a broad anti-discrimination approach, referring to various grounds of discrimination (including sex).

Until October 2015, gender equality plans promoted by universities and research organisations have not been set up in Poland.


Anti-discrimination Commission

The Anti-discrimination Commission at the University of Warsaw, established in 2010 by the Rector’s regulation, is responsible for three main tasks: 1) to monitor situation with regard to equal treatment based on sex, age, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation, 2) to propose recommendations of actions and formulate conclusions in cases of discrimination, 3) to support victims of discrimination and provide them with legal advice. The Commission deals with cases of unequal treatment but also raises awareness on anti-discrimination in public seminars. One of the seminars focussed the importance of integrating a gender perspective in humanities and social sciences.