Polish women on strike!

(Post of October 2016)

For the inauguration of this blog, I would like to talk about the “Black Protest Movement” in Poland. An issue that is firmly on the current social and political agenda and is an example of civil society’s capacity to campaign. Moreover, I would like to relate it to other historical campaigns that might be its source of colors (inspiration).

What happened?

The Polish parliament has rejected draft legislation to allow abortion until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy by 240 votes to 173. Abortion is currently permitted only in cases of rape, incest or medical complications for the mother or child and this law would see doctors who perform abortions and women who undergo them face up to 5 years in prison.

Prompt response: Opponents and the Media

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana, Campaigning for Change (lessons from history), p.11

If I may be allowed to paraphrase the 19th century Spanish poet, history is a good source of inspiration.

The opponents of the polish law had a prompt reaction; lots of protests and social media campaigns have been claiming the woman’s right to take decisions over her own body. And I’d like to think that this quick response and its effective organization, is due to all the battles that other women in other countries have done over the course of history to win the recognition of this essential right. For example, the inspirational Icelandic protest action from back in 1975, when the 90% of women in Iceland went on a strike.


A good response of the social media resistance campaign #CzarnyProtest (Black Protest) was shown on Monday 3 October. More than 20,000 protesters gathered on Warsaw’s Central Square. The Black Protest movement appears to be gaining momentum, which participation in social media continuing to grow, for instance, the protest is no longer restricted to Poles; people from around Europe and the United States have joined the protest movement, sharing photos and posts expressing solidarity with Poland’s pro-choice demonstrators.


Those responsible for the “Black Protest” campaign are not only linked to our history but are dealing well with the new network age we are in. For example, the activist group “Women on waves” sent the first “Abortion drone” from Germany to Poland with the methods to end with an unwanted pregnancy.

Woman holds hanger with the Polish flag attached to it as she takes part in abortion rights campaigners' demonstration

A woman holds a hanger with the Polish flag attached to it as she takes part in an abortion rights campaigners’ demonstration “Black Protest” in front of the Parliament in Warsaw, Poland October 1, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

October 18, the Huffington Post

'Woman Strike' Against Abortion Ban In Poland.

Polish women protest in the ‘Women strike’ campaign against a proposed near-total abortion ban in Poland on October 3, 2016 in Warsaw, Poland (Photo: Getty Images)

October 18, the Huffington Post

A source of inspiration (continue reading) ->


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