These are times of great promise and great danger for women in Poland. For decades, the second class status of women—in public life, on the labor market, and at home—was an unchallengeable fact of life, firmly rooted in the hypocritical policies of the bureaucratized ruling communists and in the ideology of the powerful Catholic church. Now, the collapse of one-party rule and a nascent democratic process have created political space for women to begin struggling to change their situation. A newly formed national feminist organization is taking the lead in advocating women's rights and challenging the institutions of male dominance that circumscribe every aspect of women's lives. Women within the trade union Solidarnosc are beginning to draw attention to the special problems of working women and to develop structures that can address them.
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