“Everybody should be a feminist”
Photo: agata kubis / .kolektyw
The Polish women’s foundation FemFund is just three years old. filia was able to accompany the foundation from its establishment in 2018 until today. We are impressed by the work of our Polish colleagues – especially against the background of the political situation in Poland.
The political climate in Poland is becoming more difficult
“FemFund is working in a difficult political environment,” Magdalena Pocheć describes the situation. “In October 2020, an almost complete ban on abortion was introduced. Also worrying is the progressive closing of the scope for non-profit associations and foundations (…) Another risk factor is the possible increase in repression by state authorities against activists* and citizens* who oppose state policies.”
Empowering projects and public debates
Nevertheless, FemFund can look back on a successful and empowering funding program that allows them to support the creative and active women’s projects in the country. We introduce two of the funding partners* here:
MenstrUlka from Wroclaw
Ada, Bożena and Lucyna fight against menstrual poverty and the taboo of periods in Poland. The idea for their “Pink Box,” which contains free menstrual products, came when they were talking about homeless women: “Look, these women menstruate too, they get their periods. When do they wash, where do they wash, how do they change pads and tampons?” They invented the heroine MenstrUlka and installed the first “Pink Box” in a public place in Wroclaw. “We want pads, tampons and menstrual cups to be accessible to all people who menstruate, regardless of their financial means. In public places, just like soap or toilet paper.” Meanwhile, MenstrUlka’s pink boxes are everywhere in Wroclaw.
But MenstrUlka wants even more: the founders are not only concerned with providing hygiene products, but also with removing the taboo surrounding menstruation. In workshops, they talk to girls and young women about their bodies and their periods. “41% of all people do not talk about menstruation at home,” the women know. The workshops take the shame out of the topic and encourage a self-confident approach to one’s own period. Thank you, MenstrUlka!
Brave Girls from Walbrzych
“It hurts me that even though women have the same rights, they are not treated equally.” Emilia and nine other young people from the group “Brave Girls” do not want to accept this injustice any longer. They founded the “Brave Girls” and organized a summer camp where they exchanged ideas with other young women on feminist issues and received further training. Project visits to feminist organizations are also on the Brave Girls’ long to-do list. “Many young women have similar issues and problems. They understand each other, so it’s a great support for us to have the opportunity to talk to each other and share knowledge.” Boys are also approached by the Brave Girls “to explain a few things to them.” Because the young women are convinced of this: “Feminism is like a celebration. Everyone should be a feminist!”