Tackling the elusive work-life balance

Karolina Andrian is a 2019 finalist of the WE Empower United Nations Sustainable Development Goals challenge and an innovative entrepreneur promoting gender equality in Poland through a focus on the work-family balance. Below, WE Empower Intern Jordan Leiter highlights Andrian, her business Femmeritum, and shows how they further gender equality and other sustainable development goals.

Andrian is the co-owner of Femmeritum, an organization that designs and implements specially catered work-family balance programs in small businesses and large corporations. Through Femmeritum, Andrian persuades corporations to offer their employees’ services like parenting programs, workshops and childcare.

By enacting the work family balance in these companies, Femmeritum promotes gender equality and works toward achieving SDG 5. The balance is also particularly important for working women since young children are still very attached to their mothers. The company also works toward achieving SDG 10 by changing their application process so disabled children can be accepted and provides professional care specific to the disability of the child.  Femmeritum’s mission is to “present to society all the perspectives of all beneficiaries: women, men, children, firms, and state and through all their activities build the support for legal and social changes.”

Since becoming a WE Empower finalist, Andrian has set up an additional foundation called "Share the Care", with a mission of “preparing Polish society for changes in the area of ​​sharing childcare leave between a woman and a man”. Earlier this year, the European Union adopted the work-life balance directive, in which each EU country must implement non-transferable, 2-month parental leave for men. Currently, the law allows you to share parental leave, but due to the fact that the leave can be transferred to the mother, only 1% of Polish dads decide to take it. Share the Care aims to achieve a 50/50 share of parental leave, seeing this as a “great benefit for all stakeholders: children, women, men, but also the state and economy.”

When asked about how these two foundations work together to support the SDGs, Andrian said: “Femmeritum is a partner of the Share the Care Foundation and together we think that gender equality cannot be gained without equal share of parental leave. So, we are even more committed to support SDG 5 (gender equality) now.”