Women’s days, also at non-profit organizations

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Unity to commemorate 8th March must necessarily entail a deep reflexion and understanding the inequalities that persist and make tools available to transform this situation.

Mònica Guiteras


Sociologist, member of the Network for people's energy sovereignty of Catalonia and the Alliance against energy poverty of Catalonia, has participated in several actions and programs of advocacy and awareness-raising regarding the energy model and the impacts of large infrastructure projects at catalan and EU level.

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There are many groups and persons who, in recent weeks, have been reminding us that 8th March is not a day of celebration, but to commemorate and continue the struggle, and even if it comes from far, there is still a long way to go. This day is to remember the women who, more than a century ago, took to the streets to demonstrate and went on a tireless strike to demand better labour conditions, and also their right to vote or the abolition of child labour in factories. That is why every day is 8th March, just like every day is 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), or 17th October (International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, because not a single day of the year should we tolerate that fundamental rights are violated, whether this is based on gender, age, level of income, country of origin, or any other element that leads to inequality.

In this regard, it is important for all actors in society, wherever they come from, ask themselves what they are doing, in their everyday lives, and not just on specific days marked on a calendar, to continue advancing in ensuring these rights. And on “Women’s Day”, for these rights to be reclaimed and the violations denounced, they need to look deeper into what this situation looks like in the non-profit sector. One approach that allows us to identify these violations is to acknowledge the lacking presence of women in certain professions and spaces, but also their accentuated presence for other jobs in other sectors.

The non-profit sector, with no doubt, is one of the areas where sexual division of work is still very much present in terms of labour and more generally. According to data provided by the 2016 Panoramic, on the reality of the non-profit sector in Catalonia, from all people affiliated to these organizations, 52% are women and 48% are men; and this difference is even greater when we look at volunteering and certain areas within the non-profit sector: 60% of volunteering jobs is done by women, and 40% by men (increasing to 70% of women in social action organizations). As for paid work, Panoramic identifies 73% of women vs. 27% of men. Ultimately, this majority of women is not reflected, however, when we look at the composition of management boards, governing bodies and boards of trustees, where men occupy 52% of places, or, when looking at who the president is, 58% are men.

Other groups, such as the network of Women Executives and Professionals for Social Action, also work to give visibility to women managers and professionals for social action and they have come up with studies with a gender-based approach on issues relating to the use and management of time in non-profit organizations. One conclusion is that women working in these posts, especially if they are technical staff, feel they are more overworked than their male counterparts.

These data bring to light a reality with two faces: on the one hand, that women are facing a situation of inequality, and more so in some specific spaces. Or, to put it differently, that men are not present enough in sectors or professions relating to providing services to others, dealing with situations of vulnerability and improving people’s lives.

At the heart of the non-profit sector, unity to commemorate 8th March, as well as 25th November and 17th October must necessarily entail a deep reflexion and understanding the inequalities that persist (also in our sector and in our offices), and make tools available to transform this situation: from more internal issues, daily small things, to the larger aspects, also relating to social and institutional imagery, and fostering a critical opinion.

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