Meandry ruchu kobiecego w czasach PRL

Halina Sekuła-Kwaśniewicz


Women’s activity in the analyzed period in Poland had many weak points, however, in needs to be stated that they stemmed more form the political reality typical for the authoritarian system in which the illusion of democratic freedoms was created than from the lack of the mobilizing potential of women. In the years 1945–1989 there were no objective frameworks for women to create and effectively realize other social roles than the one dictated by biology, namely the family role. Even if an easier access to the employment spheres, which – at least at the ideological level – was in fact combined with the broadly-understood equality of rights, was given to the women, it was usually done instrumentally, more due to the economic needs than the needs of a woman-citizen. Other manifestations of women participation in the public life were treated similarly by, among others, sidelining women spontaneous engagement in the early opposition activity and the Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity” movement.
The organizational opportunities that were offered by the authorities in the form of the Women League and the Country Housewives’ Association created a substitute of citizen activity for their members, however, in reality they were becoming merely – as J. Raciborski would put that – an example of creating an “institutionalized mobilization” of numerous women by means of “controlled participation.” Although the development of women movement in that time in Poland was slow and meandric, not keeping up with its western trend, and even partially missing its ideology, the facts presented in the article that concern more or less unconventional behaviours of Polish women should constitute an indispensible reference point for undertaking a wider research on the history of the women movement in Poland.

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