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A political biography of one feminist activist in Poland, Slawka Walczewska, this piece explores how feminism was lived in a day to day way in the years before the fall of communism. How did early Polish feminists first develop feminist ideas? Given the censorship they lived under before the fall of the Berlin Wall, what were their encounters with the explosion of feminist movements elsewhere in the world? What kinds of communities did they come from and form? What are the particular challenges Polish feminists faced where both church and family have been key institutions in maintaining an always-threatened nation? Slawka’s story goes beyond being a representative description of early efforts to create an independent feminist movement. Inventive, imaginative, passionate, she is one of the unrecognized heroes of the post-communist period, one of a new generation of dissidents resisting the conditions and values of the post-Cold War era.

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