Freedom Games 2018: “There is no independent Poland without an independent Polish woman”

100 years of Polish independence is also 100 years of electoral rights of Polish women. The spirit of this event hovered over the Freedom Games.

Participants of the panel “Was Polish History Male-Dominated? Herstory”: Ludwika Wujec, Bogna Świątkowska, Kazimiera Szczuka and Marta Madejska, discussed how to make women’s perspective treated as an equivalent version of history. A very important role in this process is school education, which according to Marta Madejska unfortunately does not convey the full history, but only “the perspective of wars, treaties and battles.” It was supported by Kazimiera Szczuka, emphasizing the importance of reconstructing historical events, especially the pre-war and military period, “such as they really were, and not as they were shaped by the story of patriarchy. As a society, we lose the fullness of history when we narrow it down to such a perspective.” Panelists expressed fear that there is a concrete reason why men’s history is comfortable for patriarchy. It serves to assign specific roles and closures in a specific framework, beyond which we fear to go and thanks to that it is an excellent tool of control and subordination. This awareness should further motivate women to be noticed and active participants in historical events.

The 100th anniversary of women’s electoral rights in Poland was directly commemorated by a panel with the participation of political and social activists: Barbara Nowacka, Sylwia Spurek, Małgorzata Tkacz-Janik, Monika Auch-Szkoda, Agnieszka Grzybek and the host – Aleksandra Knapik. “We are independent for as long as we believe in it,” emphasized Barbara Nowacka. In her opinion, Polish women have to fight for independence themselves, and their allies in this action should be the state of law and a sense of community. Sylwia Spurek, a deputy of the Human Rights Defender, noted that the task of the state is to guarantee independence for women. “It is up to the government  to create very precise rules so that nobody dreams of breaking our rights.” She also emphasizes that not all women are in such a good position to enter politics and publicly fight for their rights. Their sisters who have the power to penetrate should fight for them.

The finale of the Freedom Games was the panel “Independent Polish Woman” including power-speeches performed by Jolanta Kwaśniewska, Henryka Krzywonos-Strycharska, Sylwia Spurek, Olga Kozierowska, Bożena Przyłuska, Hanna Lis, Kasia Gauza, Sylwia Gregorczyk-Abram and Anna Dziewit-Meller. The host of the panel, Magda Melnyk, remarked that the pursuit of full empowerment of Polish women despite the passage of age is still not finished. “(…) it must not be forgotten that in the struggle for the rights of women, the division never ran on the line of genders, and the opponents of suffragists and feminists were equally male and female. This is where the real dispute line lies. Both then and now, the real threat to the condition of a woman in society are those who seek to take away her freedom and independence, thus destroying the foundations of the entire civil society, regardless of gender.”

Freedom Games also hosted extraordinary women on the music scene. On the second day of the Games it was Karolina Cicha, who along with her band moved the listeners to the world of songs from the border of Polish, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Jewish or Tatar culture. Natalia Przybysz appeared at the closure of the Games, and together with Raphael Rogiński she played covers of songs from the repertoire of artists who inspired her.

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