Kaleidoscope of Women

10 January 2022

Cracovian Women are changing the image of our city!

Suffragists, scientists, pedagogues, doctors, artists, authors, sportswomen, philanthropists – women have been shaping Kraków for centuries. Their lives and achievements are explored by the wide-reaching project Cracovian Women, which also features myriad long-term initiatives aimed at locals and tourists alike. “We want to mark the fact that women from Kraków have always participated in the city’s life and development. Our goal is to present their extraordinary lives and achievements such that they serve as an example and inspiration for future generations, and we see it as our duty to disseminate information about Cracovian women. We also want to focus on launching initiatives supporting local women in the workplace, in sports, in healthcare, and in all fields of social activities. November is an important time for Polish women: we were granted full voting rights 103 years ago this month, so it feels apt to present the spectacle Cracovian Women. History and Legend by the Cracovia Danza Court Ballet and launch the logo of the project Cracovian Women symbolizing their dignity and achievements,” says Anna Korfel-Jasińska, Deputy Mayor of the City of Kraków for Education, Sports and Tourism.

Traces of acclaimed women are scattered all over Kraków. In March 2020 we celebrated their achievements by showcasing their presence in Kraków’s space. The Cracovian Women’s Trail co-created with the PTTK Mountain Tourism Centre, launched in November with a virtual walk, serves as an urban herstoric tourist trail introducing local activists and campaigners. Anna Korfel-Jasińska who created the idea of the trail stresses the need to discuss how women have and continue to shape Kraków: “Most of us know about Jadwiga of Poland, Queen Bona Sforza, Izabela Czartoryska, Olga Boznańska, Helena Modrzejewska, Wisława Szymborska, Ewa Demarczyk and Anna Szałapak, but do we know which parts of Kraków they had links with? Women have made and continue to make a huge contribution to Kraków’s social, cultural, scientific, artistic and economic potential. The project also recalls economist Zofia Daszyńska-Golińska, social activist and feminist Kazimiera Bujwidowa, teacher and one the first women to hike in the Tatras Maria Steczkowska, and tennis player, Wimbledon finalist, international singles and doubles champion and Polish champion Jadwiga Jędrzejowska. We will also explore the life of perhaps the most famous ‘Cracovian woman’ Cecilia Gallerani – the iconic lady with an ermine of Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait.”

We can also learn more about Cracovian women thanks to the Herstoric Lectures prepared by the Museum of Krakow and make our own inquiries at branches of the Kraków Library, reaching for resources dedicated to women who have lived and worked in the city over the centuries. The Potocki Palace hosts KBF’s workshops for women exploring literature, while schools will receive materials dedicated to the history of Kraków from the female perspective. Two green locations will become new, permanent spots on the city map: the Women’s Rights square at Retoryka Street and the Cracovian Women’s Garden by the Nowy Kleparz market. And that’s just the start of the activities! Upcoming initiatives include supporting women in the employment market, raising awareness of healthcare and safety, and promoting women in sport. (Anna Mazur)

The text was published in the 4/2021 issue of the “Kraków Culture” quarterly.

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