What Rights? Women Rights, Gender Equality and Europe

The Roundtable was organized in Nikiszowiec, an industrial part of Katowice, in the center of the Polish region of Silesia. It took place in a restaurant “Śląska Prohibibicja” to make it inclusive, easily accessible for locals. The even started with  introduction by Alina Bednarz from the Women’s Congress, the most important Polish women’s rights organization that hosts annually a weekend event where the most important issues for women rights are touched upon. The panel debate was moderated by Ewa Machura from the All-Poland’s Women’s Strike (OSK). The first panelist Natalia Klima-Piotrowska, a lawyer and pro bono advocate of a group of teachers who were almost fired from a public school for having participated in the Black Protest (against the full abortion ban) explained how from her perspective the protests and demonstrations changed the Polish people’s perception of women’s rights. Monika Rosa, MP from Nowoczesna, started her speech with underlining that women player a minor role in the 1989-90 transition and in the goverments of the 1990s, therefor the women’s rights were forgottten. She believes that there’s a new generation of female local activists who can bring new quality to the regional and national politics. Wieke Paulusma, D66 city councilor in Groningen, continued on the topic of education the society, especially the women on their rights. She explained why quotas and equal payment laws are needed and how Holland stopped progressing in equality rankings. Timmy Dooley, MP from Irish Fianna Fail, focused on the hot topic of the anti-abortion referendum. He said it is important to work on the electoral system to guarantee representation of women in the parliament where the decisions are taken.

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