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Through the Streets of Her Krakow

Some of the pioneers of the feminist and women's rights movement lived in Poland's Krakow.

The cobbled streets of the historical city of Krakow in Poland are beautiful, and as we wandered through them, we were herded along by gigantic sculptures of mighty kings, knights and warriors, architectural reminders of an ancient aura of valour and omnipresence. Yet, for us – participants at a short-term summer course of the International Working Group on Gender and Macroeconomics in July 2012 – something appeared amiss. There seemed to be no presence of the other half of history, the gendered counterpart of the past.

In search of this other half, we decided to go on a personal, independent “feminist walk” to uncover the “herstory” in Krakow’s past, the tales of those women who had struggled for their right to education, suffrage, work, and a space of their own, free from deprivation, and eager to escape from authoritarianism. The evening walk, led by team leaders Natalia Sarata from the Women’s Space Foundation and Anna Maria Zachorowska from the Institute of Economics and Management at Jagiellonian University, was not just to sightsee a few historic buildings and exotic locales, but to get a sense of the lives of the people who had lived there, and especially to feel her story come alive in the streets of Krakow.

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