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2018- The Year of Women’s Rights in Poland

November 28 brings to the fore the 100 anniversary of Polish women gaining full voting rights shortly after the Polish state was officially reborn (by comparison, the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees such right to American women since 1920). The Election Regulation Decree signed by Józef Piłsudski on November 28, 1918 stipulated also that regardless of gender, every eligible voter could also be elected to both houses of the Polish parliament. Based on this decree, eight women representing the full political spectrum made history after being elected in parliamentary elections held on January 26, 1919. It is in tribute to those eight women that Polish Sejm declared 2018 to be the Year of Women’s Rights.

“Whoever in a high-flown manner talks of democratic slogans and manifestos, yet passes over women’s equal suffrage with silence, is but a liar and a political and social fraudster” (1), firmly declared the Women’s League in their published statement on the situation of women in the newly re-established Polish state in October of 1918.

(1) Women’s League appeal, Poland rises [Polska powstaje], October 1918, Archiwum Akt Nowych, Liga Kobiet Polskich, cat.no. 53.

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