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Women 45+ on Labor Market: Gender, Age and Equality of Opportunities

The Institute for Public Affairs and the Slovak development partnership Plus for Women 45+ hosted an international conference Women 45+ on Labor Market: Gender, Age and Equality of Opportunities on May 10th 2007. The event enabled exchange of information and experience among experts from Slovakia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania and Czech Republic and was organized within the EQUAL project Plus for Women 45+ financed by the European Social Fund. This project is being implemented by the Institute for Public Affairs ; the EsFem  civic association ; the FOCUS  agency ; the Hlava 98  civic association.

The goal of Plus for Women 45+ project is to describe the work conditions and lives of women over 45 and to identify specific gender and age stereotype combinations in various Slovak social environments. The research findings are meant to help in gender- and age-sensitive education and training and to inform a social campaign to combat stereotypes regarding women over 45. The aim of the project is to contribute to the creation of a public policy to use the potential of women over 45 and to strengthen their position on the labor market as well as within society as a whole.

The conference was opened by Zora Bútorová, the leader of the project Plus for Women 45+, by H.E. Vladimír Galuška, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Slovakia and by Iveta Radičová, the vice-chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs and Housing.

The first panel Women 45+ In Survey Research and Media was moderated by Jana Cviková (feminist association Aspekt) who introduced Zora Bútorová (IVO) with her paper Strong or Weak? Work and Age in the Life of Women 45+ discussing findings of sociological surveys of IVO and FOCUS Agency. Jarmila Filadelfiová (IVO) concentrated on the description of Women 45+: Reality of Work and Family Life, using data from labor market statistics, as well as from the recent sociological survey by IVO. The third presentation Women 45+ in Slovak Media by Monika Bosá (EsFem) was based on content analysis of selected Slovak press, as well as TV spots advertising new pension savings.

The second panel Gender and Age on the Finnish Labor Market moderated by Oľga Gyárfášová (IVO) featured three speakers from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Kaisa Kauppinen, the head of the MONIKKO project spoke on Gender and Age: Myths and Reality, while her colleagues Auli Airila and Kaisa Eskola discussed the findings of their empirical research aimed at Age Stereotypes towards Young, Middle-Aged and Old Workers.

The third panel moderated by Martin Bútora from the IVO was called after the new IVO publication Here and Now: Probes into the Lives of Women 45+ that was presented at its beginning by its editor Zora Bútorová. During this session, four case studies compiled in the book were presented by their authors. Sylvia Šumšalová (IVO) gave a paper When a Hobby Becomes Business: Experience of Women from the Lučenec Area. Lýdia Marošiová (IVO) and Janka Debrecényová (Citizen and Democracy) discussed Working Conditions of Seamstresses in Northern Slovakia or What Is the True Price of Dress We May Be Wearing Right Now. Martina Sekulová (IVO) presented a paper When Seasonality Matters: Employment Situation of Women in a Tourist Region. Jana Andruchová (Labor Office Humenné) described the Situation of Women from the Humenné District in the Context of Labor Migration Abroad.

The fourth panel entitled Practical Answers: Ways to Empowering Women 45+ was moderated by Peter Guráň from the Slovak National Center for Human Right. Adriana Mesochoritisová (EsFem) presented remarks on Gender Sensitive Education: Experience and Inspiration from the Project Plus for Women 45+. Isabella Wolter and Angelika Böttcher (both from Volkshochschule Göttingen, Germany) gave a talk 50+: Experience Counts in which they describe red the network of 52 projects supported by the German Federal Ministry of Labor aimed at strengthening the position of women and men aged 50+ on labor market.

During the dinner, former dissident and prisoner Jiřina Šiklová, an outstanding Czech sociologist and the founder of the non-profit organization Gender Studies shared with the Slovak and international guests her views on the Dilemmas and Position of Czechoslovak Women 45+ Before the Fall of Communism and Today.



The conference was opened by Zora Bútorová, the leader of the project Plus for Women 45+, by H.E. Vladimír Galuška, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Slovakia and by Iveta Radičová, the vice-chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs and Housing.


The audience consisted of nearly 100 guests from academia, NGOs, politics, diplomacy and media. Almost one fourth of them came from abroad.


The moderator of the first panel Jana Cviková (left) introduced Zora Bútorová, Jarmila Filadelfiová and Monika Bosá (from right to left).


The second panel belonged to Finland. From right to left: Kaisa Kauppinen, Auli Airila, Kaisa Eskola and the moderator Oľga Gyárfášová.


Kaisa Kauppinen once again.


The third panel moderated by Martin Bútora from the IVO was called after the book Here and Now: Probes into the Lives of Women 45+ that was presented by its editor Zora Bútorová. From left to right: the moderator Martin Bútora (IVO) and the authors of case studies Jana Andruchová (Labor Office Humenné), Martina Sekulová (IVO), Janka Debrecéniová (Citizen and Democracy), Lýdia Marošiová (IVO) and Sylvia Šumšalová (IVO).


Lýdia Marošiová and Janka Debrecéniová spoke about the working conditions of seamstresses in four textile firms in Northern Slovakia.


Jana Andruchová spoke about the life of women 45+ shaped by labor migration abroad. From right to left: Martina Sekulová, Jana Andruchová and Lýdia Marošiová.


Jiřina Šiklová from the Department of Social Work at Charles University Prague appreciated that the book tackled hot and sometimes even tabooed social issues.


The fourth panel was Slovak – German. The moderator Peter Guráň introduced Adriana Mesochoritisová, as well as Isabella Wolter and Angelika Böttcher.


Jiřina Šiklová discussing with Jana Cviková and Jana Juráňová from the Aspekt association (from right to left).


After the successful Finnish presentations. From left to right: Kaisa Kauppinen, Martin Bútora, Auli Airila, Kaisa Eskola and Zora Bútorová.


The German, Finnish, Lithuanian and Slovak members of the EQUAL transnational partnership European Gender Equality and Diversity Network enjoying the beautiful country around the historic Devin Castle.

Photo by Paula Jójárt and IVO



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