Poland, feminism, protest, social movement


Late 2020 witnessed one of the biggest cycles of protests in contemporary Poland that were sparked by the decision of the Constitutional Tribunal further restricting the abortion law. This cycle of contention was somewhat similar to of the  protests organized in 2016 and later but stood out in terms of scale and geographic distribution. The 2016 protests were surprising as they also emerged in Polish small and provincial towns. The scale of 2020’s protests in small towns belies the common assumption about the string conservatism of Poland and in particular Polish small towns and rural areas. Besides the scale, there are other surprising elements in these protests, one of them being the harsher and more direct language used during the protests and the generational composition of the protesting crowds.

Our hypothesis is that these protests mark the emergence of a new generation of feminist activists, while the whole cycle of protests marks deeper changes in Polish society. The inclusion of the Roman Catholic Church as one of the targets of the protests’ claims can be linked to the increasing secularization of the Polish society; the growing and observed intersectionality during women’s protests (i.e. inclusion of social claims, support for LGBT+ community, antifascism) points out to the changing nature of feminist activism in Poland; and finally the new language used during protests suggests a significant change in defining the protest arena s and a shift of scale from locality to the translocal reality of social media.


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2022-12-30 — Updated on 2023-01-26

How to Cite

Piotrowski, G., & Muszel, M. (2023). WOMEN’S PROTESTS IN SMALL POLISH TOWNS. Ethnologia Polona, 43. https://doi.org/10.23858/ethp.2022.43.3005

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