“Mr. Kaczyński, unfortunately, this government will be overthrown by women” – this is one of the slogans that politically active Polish women chant during opposition rallies. What is worth emphasizing – politically active. As sociological research shows, this political involvement is not at all obvious. It is this phenomenon that foreign media are taking a closer look at in the context of Sunday’s elections.
One vote won’t change anything, said 7 million women. This is just one of the slogans intended to mobilize Polish women to vote in the parliamentary elections. Foreign media and the world’s largest agencies point out that the result of Sunday’s vote could largely depend on Polish women. He could. There is only one “but” – many women do not go to vote.
According to a report by the Batory Foundation, the number of undecided women in the upcoming elections is twice as high as the number of men in most age groups, and almost half of women under 49 years of age are not going to vote. The Reuters agency, like Polish experts, reminds that the mass protests that have swept across Poland in recent years due to, among other things, the tightening of abortion regulations, still motivate many Polish women to go to the polls. – After the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling related to abortion, women’s spirit has awakened a bit and we have to take the matter into our own hands – says Magdalena Sobkowiak, coordinator of the “Women for Elections” campaign.
On the other hand, the helplessness that often accompanies women after demonstrations may have made many of them feel that their voices did not actually count. – Especially this young generation was severely psychologically damaged, i.e. absolutely disregarded, ridiculed, humiliated in some places, and the police were often taken away by force – explains Anna Materska-Sosnowska, a political scientist from the University of Warsaw.
The situation of Polish women and the importance of their votes in the upcoming elections are widely reported in the world media. “Their situation is unbelievable. How will women vote in the upcoming elections in Poland?” – asks Euronews television. Euronews clearly assesses that the voice of Polish women may be crucial to deciding whether PiS will stay in power or be punished for limiting access to abortion in this country. Foreign media remind us that since the Law and Justice party took over the government, it has gone much further than introducing some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. “It ended state funding for in vitro fertilization and introduced a requirement for a prescription for emergency contraception,” Reuters reports.
Strength in women
“Every month brings new cases of pregnant women dying in hospitals due to complications, as medics look on in uncertainty and are afraid to intervene,” reports The Irish Times. Moreover, although the ruling party emphasizes that its social policy is aimed at supporting Polish families and increasing the fertility rate, the same rate, as Reuters points out, has fallen this year in Poland to the lowest level since World War II.
“Even a higher benefit will not encourage Polish women to have more children. The ban on abortion, which also applies to medical emergencies, has a deterrent effect,” notes “Die Welt.” Although abortion-related issues dominate the public discourse, many pre-election studies indicate that for Polish women, although this is an important issue, it is not the most important one. – Women in Poland are terrified. And not only the anti-abortion law, because there are many other factors here. For example, the state does not organize childcare, women are afraid of returning to the labor market after some time, and the economic situation is extremely unstable – says Antonina Lewandowska, activist of the Foundation for Women and Family Planning FEDERA.
The most important issue that Polish women believe politicians should address is violence against women – according to a survey by the SPS Foundation conducted as part of the “I support women’s success” campaign. The German daily “Suddeutsche Zeitung” also points out the need for better protection of Polish women against domestic violence, emphasizing that it is under this slogan that women largely identify the concept of “security”. “Safety is one of the main slogans of PiS in the election campaign. However, the opposition understands it differently. Women in Poland are afraid of getting pregnant, giving birth and starting a family – said the young candidate of the Civic Coalition on Tuesday evening in Łódź,” notes “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. As French public radio points out, “the voices of undecided voters, usually women, can benefit primarily opposition parties.” Foreign journalists, experts and analysts emphasize that on Sunday Polish women must remember that in these elections they have 52 percent of the votes.
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Main photo source: Reuters