The professional paths development in Polish cultural organizations from female perspective


  • Anna Góral Jagiellonian University



gender inequality in cultural organizations, gendered organization, female leadership, cultural workers, cultural organizations


The last decades have been characterized by numerous changes in the functioning of the organizations. One of them concerns the understanding of the organizational roles of women who, initially identified with lower administrative staff, began to use specialist and managerial positions more and more often and more effectively. Despite what numerous studies have highlighted the increase in the participation of women in leadership positions in organizations is still slow, even in sectors with high feminization rates. This paper focuses on one of the most feminized organizations in the economy – public cultural organizations. On the one hand, they are perceived as traditional, stiff, boring, and by some, even unnecessary organizations. On the other hand, people perceive them as progressive, inspiring, and extremely important from the viewpoint of broadly understood social development and thus consider them as ‘friendly’ for marginalized groups, including women. This paper presents the findings of a research conducted between January 2021 and April 2022 among cultural workers in Poland. The research was based on a survey among 512 public cultural organizations and 20 biographic interviews with female managers working in various cultural organizations in Poland. The purpose of this research was to map the organizational environment of Polish cultural and arts managers. The study provided rich empirical material documenting the impact of the far-reaching gendered nature of work in public cultural organizations, which influences the professional development of women in these workplaces. Additionally, and what makes Polish case interesting to study, is the context of the research. As proven by this study, although, previously functioning in Poland socialist system, supported the professional activization of women, the transformation period 1989 significantly slowed down those processes and consequently in some sectors of economy even deepened existing inequalities. Public cultural organizations, according to participants of those studies, are its example. The findings presented in this paper broaden the knowledge about both gender inequality in cultural industries and theory of gendered organizations. The main contribution of the study revealed career development challenges for women working in public cultural organizations.