Alexandra Gajewska (32) Politician and Member of Parliament in Poland
Politics was not a girl’s dream for me. I actually wanted to be a professional basketball player, politics appeared in my life as a coincidence of various circumstances. Ten years ago I became the youngest councilor in the history of Warsaw.
Thanks to my efforts and close contacts with the inhabitants, I received record support in the country in the last municipal elections: no fewer than 33,000 people voted for me. I also co-created the victorious election campaign with the current president of the capital of Warsaw – Rafał Trzaskowski – as his spokeswoman. I have been a Member of Parliament for two years on behalf of the Platforma Obywatelska party.
The big problem is that some media outlets, education and the church are controlled by the government.
I believe in the solidarity of women and I want to confirm that with my activities. Women’s issues are particularly important to me. I am committed to, among other things, in vitro financing, the return of the day after pill, effective maintenance of alimony and support, and help for self-employed mothers. In order to be successful, I also have to fight against the current government in Poland, which is led by PiS. A party that interferes in the lives of the people of Poland and wants to determine for themselves how women should live, who they should be, how they should behave and dress, how they should serve their husbands at home. I find that unbelievable and unacceptable. The big problem is that some media outlets, education and the church are controlled by the government.
It determines what we should and should not know, what we should and should not learn. The government mainly wants to keep people stupid, because then they are impressionable and docile. I see some parallels in this with the policy of the communists. What people hear on TV, on the radio, and in church is “government truth”, which is a lie. In Poland, the truth has become an option, but no longer a matter of course. When people go to church, they so often don’t find God, but political propaganda from PiS. Because the church played an important role during communism, many people still believe that in the church they hear the truth and that they should act on it. Other messages do not reach people in rural areas in particular. That is a problem.
In the big cities people live in a bubble. They often do not know what is happening in the rest of the country. I have to watch out for that too. That is why I regularly visit residents of village. They are genuinely curious about what I have to say. But sometimes I am shocked that I go to places where the inhabitants have never seen a Member of Parliament. That is why it is important that I keep in touch with people and that I also try to reach and activate young girls. It’s about their future. And yes, that means starting the conversation every day and convincing people that what they hear is often not the truth. I even have discussions with my mother about it. When she wants to share something I say, ‘Mom, did you check the source of that story? This isn’t right, you can’t share this, these are lies.”
When I see how the government in Poland tries to influence people’s lives through deprive women and girls of more and more rights, and eavesdrop and silence opponents, I see light form of parallels with the rule of fundamentalists in the Middle East. Let’s call it ‘fundamentalism light’. I therefore constantly warn about what is happening in my country and where we are going. That is why I call on women to continue to make their voices heard. Women are strong, smart, have a great sense of responsibility and fight for a good cause. Is it effective? In the short term, yes. In any case, the women’s protests have ensured that certain decisions have been postponed. The government must search another way. Above all, we have to gain time until the next election in 2023. Then we have the chance to elect a new government that hopefully stands for human rights, for equality, for a society where you can live safe at home and on the street, and where you can be who you want to be. I believe in a new government, in a new and free Poland.