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Dominika Goławska
Dominika Goławska ©Ania Liesting

Polish Women

In Poland, the potential of many women is wasted

Dominika Goławska (27), Labor migrant from Poland

“I made the conscious choice to leave Poland at a young age. In Poland it is not appreciated if you as a woman want to be independent and build your own existence. It’s so ingrained in our culture and education that women should be the ‘perfect housewife’ and the men make the money. This creates a skewed position between men and women, which the government only strengthens by depriving women of more and more rights.

Many Polish men need to learn what a relationship based on equality and equality means. Men work and do nothing at home anymore. They leave the upbringing, the household, all the family arrangements to their wives. Women work just as hard at home as men do at work, except that women are not paid for it and men are. This creates an unequal economic position. Women are financially dependent on their husbands and their work is usually barely appreciated by their husbands. I don’t feel anything for such a life. I don’t want to be financially dependent on a man, I want to earn my own money, make my own choices and walk my own path. And not have to constantly ask my husband if something is okay. For this interview in the Netherlands I spent an hour and a half in the car. Many women in Poland do not spend their entire lives in a city that is an hour and a half away. Many women in Poland are not aware of the ease with which people in the Netherlands travel from A to B. I love it, I can now go where I want. If I had stayed in Poland it would have been more difficult and probably not accepted. I’m not the only young woman who thinks this way, I see more and more peers moving abroad. That is going to be a real problem for Poland. More and more people in the 20-30 age group are leaving the country.

The government in Poland gives each family an extra 500  zloty (180 euros) per child that is born, in order to stimulate large families. At the same time, they want to keep young people stupid by taking sex education out of education as much as possible and they deprive women of the right to make decisions about their bodies by banning abortion. We live in 2021! I feel like we’re going back in time decades. And what is that 500 zloty worth, if you look at the inflation figures? The problem is that in many families in Poland the government’s propaganda is the only source of information. What the government communicates through the media is the truth because there are no alternative sources of information. At least there are, but they do not reach many families in the countryside and in small villages. The lack of education and access to information is a major problem in Poland. People are deliberately kept ignorant by the government. The women who do have access to information see what is happening and take to the streets to protest. But other women don’t understand why they do that.

Education starts at school and that too is influenced by the government. I recently had a textbook in the hands of my 12-year-old sister. To my amazement I read that information is presented differently to boys than to girls. That information already hinted at the traditional roles of men and women: the man as a worker who earns the money and the woman who takes care of the family at home. No wonder many young people think that this is the normal gender role and that a woman cannot build her own career and earn her own money. Again: people are deliberately kept stupid. I find that very unfortunate, because in Poland the potential of many women is wasted.”

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