My name is Aleksandra and I am a 25-year-old woman from Poland. Last year, the Polish government, prompted by the far-right organization, Ordo Iuris, demanded a nationwide ban on abortion in my country. The bill, if implemented, would have made abortion illegal in all cases but we, thousands of women and men, took to the streets. The protest, dubbed “The Black Protest," broke out and as a result, the government rejected this barbaric proposal.
I was browsing through pictures of the protest on social media and a few of them caught my eye - pictures of people holding banners, written on them was your message that reverberated during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, in 1995: Women’s Rights are Human Rights.
The fact that this statement emerged during the Black Protest is truly inspiring. It demonstrates that your statement got implanted in the collective memory of societies around the world. This fundamental truth – “women’s rights are human rights” – that echoes forth to this day is not just a rhetorical victory; we took your words to forge a better reality for ourselves. We used this message as our shield in a battle against inequality, misogyny, and assaults on our dignity. And we won.
This phenomenon, this ongoing dialogue between generations about the future of our world and the battles fought, is truly a huge legacy on which we are building today. I am forever thankful and appreciative of the people who had the strength of their convictions to raise their voices in this dialogue. I will be forever grateful to you and to all the women who preceded me, who forged new paths so we, the next generation of women, have better future formed for equality.
All of this reminds me of an old truth I’ve read somewhere: Other people are the best guides on the path we all follow, the path that leads to realization of who we are and who we could be. I will do my best to continue to follow the path you forged for me and for all the women, and I will encourage everyone else to do it, too. You are, and always will be, my champion.
With admiration and respect,