March 8th was International Women’s Day, a holiday on which Polish women traditionally receive flowers. But te holiday – first celebrated by American socialists in 1909 – has inspired another Polish tradition: Manifa, a march to raise awareness of the rights and challenges of women.
Manifa began as a leftist action in Warsaw in 2000 under the slogan “Democracy without women is half democracy.” Since then, the annual parade has spread and grown in popularity, boosted by the organization of women and allies for the CzarnyProtest protest movement which has emerged in recent years in response to attempts by Poland’s socially far-right Law and Justice (PiS) party to enact a total ban on abortion.
This year’s 16th Manifa marched under the banner of “Glory and Honor to the Heroines,” stressing the themes of unpaid care work, work in public sectors (such as healthcare and education), the rights of LGBTQ+ people, lack of reproductive rights, global trends toward fascism, and climate change.
As in past years, they were followed by a small group of anti-abortion protesters who tried to disrupt the event with graphic signs and looping messages broadcast through speaker.
You can use the arrows to scroll through more photos of Krakow’s Manifa below. All photos are by Jacek Graff.