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Kongres Kobiet
Kongres Kobiet


Centenary of Women’s Rights

Added: 15 grudnia 2017

Memory is the Foundation of Identity: History and Lost Herstory of Poland


 Historical and literary sources bring to our attention the facts concerning Polish history. Its numerous battles, uprisings, wars, diplomatic issues and the hardship of everyday life serve to illustrate the extent of toil Poland has gone through ever since. However, it is the man not the woman who has received the nickname ‘hero’ in the Polish history. Unfortunately, the woman has been marginally represented in it. Suffice it to say, the two figures, namely Queen Jadwiga of Poland and Maria Skłodowska-Curie exhaust the list of female heroines. Does this mean there are no other great women whose successes we could boast about? Sadly, this seems to be the case now. The reasons why are many. To exemplify, in the past women did not enjoy the same rights as men did. They were not allowed to educate, to do research nor politics, to participate in social or economic life of the country. Women did not have the right to speak their minds openly. Those who were active, who worked were not remembered because their deeds did not enter official records. Why? Because history is patriarchal. It erases women, omits and disregards them. We owe a debt of gratitude to all those women who fought out for us the access to rights, freedom and who made our voice widely audible. This is not due to Nature, God, History or men we can now participate in an equal distribution of rights, jobs and public activity. This is women: our grandmothers, great grandmothers, aunts and unknown women who fought, died, got organised, built the herstory of this and other countries. Thanks to these women who fought out the election laws for us we will celebrate a centenary in 2018.


Herodotus used to say that no community would persist without memorizing the past facts and events. However, history should be considered just one part of our past. The other part belongs to herstory: herstory of women who in the shadow of men built the world we live in. We must revive it, because memory is the foundation of our common identity. Hence it should not be partial and imperfect. We must know who we are and where we come from to fulfil our aims. The centenary of women’s rights serves as a perfect opportunity to put our past together, both its male and female parts, and to supplement the latter with additional facts. We the women will say: democracy without women is only half democracy. History without herstory reflects imperfect memory and incomplete identity. We must extend it by facts concerning women, their struggle, care and activity. This is our common duty as men and women. Let’s go! 

Magdalena Środa