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Polish women move toward equality at turbo speed

Posted on the February 22nd, 2010

The traditional, pre-dominantly Catholic society of Poland is being revolutionized by some of the country’s strong women, according to an article by Jan Puhl last week in Spiegel Online International (“‘Turbo-Emancipation’/
Polish Women Enjoy Post-Communist Success” Feb 18, 2010).

The article profiles a few of these leaders. One is Ewa Wieczorek, the editor-in-chief of the leading women’s magazine in Poland, Wysokie Obcasy (High Heels). Puhl describes the publication as “a cross between a high-brow cultural magazine and Cosmopolitan.”

“Articles describe people cheating on their spouses and women taking on traditionally male professions. They are about abortion, pornography and sex during pregnancy. They write headlines like “A Woman is Not a Lamp,” an opinion piece in which the writer argues that women should not have to respond to demands of sex, like a light being switched on.

They are the kinds of subjects that still shock many in a deeply Catholic country like Poland.”

Puhl writes that the magazine’s success signifies the huge, post-communist change in Poland:

In the last 20 years, Polish women have achieved as much as women in the West took many decades to achieve. For women in Poland, the end of communism translated into a sort of turbo-emancipation.

The article also includes interviews with a leader of the women’s rights movement in Poland, Agnieszka Graff, and with one of the country’s business icons, Irena Eris.

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