Women in Warsaw

Beata Śliwińska for Polish Women Strike via Pogotowie Graficzne*

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Polish women are trolling the anti-abortion prime minister by telling her about their periods“. It’s been almost a year since Quartz published what might still be the best headline to ever feature the word “Polish”. The controversial legislation is still on the table.

At the time of Women’s March on Washington, Polish women have already been protesting – rain or shine – since April 2016, which is when the government put out the first draft of its new anti-abortion regulation. The current law, in effect since 1993, permits abortion in three cases*. The early proposal for new legislation effectively banning all but one of these cases. By late September the proposed legislation made it to the parliament. In October, an Iceland-inspired “black protest” brought approximately 100 000 people out to the streets throughout the country, according to law enforcement. The exact number differs significantly from source to source. In Warsaw alone, the numbers varied from 17 000 (via police) to 30 000 (via city government).

Who are the women in this city? The 2016 Statistical Yearbook of Warsaw, a bilingual publication (.pdf link) and a great holiday read for the likes of me, cites 2015 data as the latest fully verified. The publication counts women in the city at 943 600 and men at 800 800. Most numerous, 90 200, among them are 30-34 year-olds – a tale end of the early 80s demographic boom. In 2015, 4 977 of women in the city moved here from elsewhere, mostly from other urban areas.

That year among Warsaw’s women 7 829 got married and 3910 got divorced – this is based on the total number of procedures, each of which had to involve one woman, taken that same-sex marriage is illegal in Poland.

Median of women’s income in 2015 stood at 4700 zł, compared to men’s 6048 zł, according to the data from private pollster Sedlak & Sedlak.

Women accounted for 63 out of 383 suicides committed in Warsaw in 2015. Residents of all genders were most likely to die as a result of malignant tumours.

Unknown number of Warsaw’s female population will likely take to the streets again, as another version of the abortion law restriction project lands before the parliament in February.

*Cover Photot: Design by Beata Śliwińska for Pogotowie Graficzne (Graphic Ambulance), a group initiative of Polish graphic designers, who prepared posters for the Polish Women’s March in October.

**at any time when the pregnant woman’s life and/or health is endangered, until the pregnancy reaches the point of viability when prenatal tests indicate lasting damage and/or chronic life-threatening disease in the foetus, or up to up to 12 weeks when there is reasonable suspicion that the pregnancy is a result of criminal offence.

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