Our never-ending #BlackProtest

Standing up for Polish women’s rights

Black Mondays are usually signs of turbulence and often unavoidable wake up calls that follow a series of thoughtless decisions.On October 3rd, 2016, such a Monday was more than necessary for Polish women to protest a Christian group’s attempt to remove their reproductive rights. It was preceded by a six month battle between the fundamentalist group “Stop Abortion” and the pro-choice committee “Save the Women”.

The so-called pro-life movement was trying to implement a total ban on abortion in a country where access is already very restricted. As a reaction, “Save the Women” gathered more than 215,000 signatures from citizens who understood the reality on the ground and who cared for the well-being and the social justice of their women.

On that Black Monday, a feminist tsunami overwhelmed the Polish government. Thousands of people stood under their umbrellas in the rain outside the parliament to fight for their rights. Politicians were left with no other choice than to reject the proposed religious bill.

“What were the women really fighting for in the Black Protest and other pro-choice initiatives of 2016? The answer is: they were fighting for everything. They were fighting for their very lives. Law and Justice added a single stone to the huge pile that women in Poland are forced to carry, and that one stone started an avalanche.” [1]

Rebellions throughout Europe

40 years ago in Ireland, 90% of the women decided to take a “day off” from household chores. Last year in France, on another Monday, women finished work earlier at 4:34 pm to expose the pay gap between genders. No matter the names or the topics, women have been protesting in different ways throughout Europe for many years now, always with their social justice at heart.

It seems like it is a never-ending fight and that many more “Black Mondays” will be necessary to make things move forward or to stop them from going backward. This year in October, the Polish government apparently decided to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2016 “Black Protest” by seizing properties from different women’s rights organizations, confirming we are still far from winning the struggle.

#MyBlackProtest book

Wherever they are in the world, women are facing the same challenges, and the least we can do is share our experiences and promote each other’s efforts. The “Black Monday” experience has been a transformative journey for Poland and for Europe, which needed to be transcribed into a book: “MY #BLACKPROTEST”. You will be able to discover a collection of testimonies from women who lived through the protest and that no matter their different backgrounds, they felt empowered by the movement.

“Rebellion was born. Poland as seen by the contributors to this book is, above all, a land of hypocrisy. The Black Protest was a unique time when this hypocrisy was unmasked and rejected. The truth was finally stated – shouted out, in fact – about what it means to live one’s life in a country chosen by religious fundamentalists for an experimental battleground, the first stage of their effort to “re-Christianize Europe”.

We hope this story inspires more awareness on women’s rights and lead to more actions for the greater good. If you want to read the book, click here.

Source: [1] http://en.federa.org.pl/my-blackprotest/

by Pauline Diaz