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Anna Walentynow
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Anna Walentynowicz: A Pioneer in Women’s Rights and Labor Activism

Anna Walentynowicz: A Pioneer in Women’s Rights and Labor Activism

Anna Walentynowicz was a trailblazer for women’s rights and labor activism in Poland during the 20th century. Born in 1929, she lived through the tumultuous times of World War II and the communist regime in Poland. Despite facing adversity, Anna went on to become a well-known activist, fighting for workers’ rights in a country under socialist rule. In this blog post, we’ll delve into her remarkable life story, her accomplishments, and her impact on Polish society.

Anna Walentynowicz – Early Years

Anna’s life began in a small village in Eastern Poland, where she was the youngest of 11 children. Her parents both worked long hours in the fields, and as a child, Anna became accustomed to hard work and long days. At the age of 18, she moved to the city of Gdansk to work in the shipyards. It was here that she became politically active, joining the communist party and becoming a union member. However, her political views became more radical over time, and she was expelled from the party in 1970 for her critical opinions about the government. Despite her expulsion, she continued to fight for workers’ rights and became a member of the Solidarity movement.


Anna’s most notable accomplishment was her role in the Gdansk Shipyard strikes of 1980, a significant event that led to the establishment of the Solidarity trade union. While she was not one of the leaders of the strikes, her firing from the shipyard after being an outspoken advocate of workers’ rights galvanized her and fellow workers into action. She was arrested several times, and her activism eventually led to a blacklisting that prevented her from getting work. This, however, did not stop her, and she devoted her life to the struggle against oppression and injustice.

Awards and Recognition

In 2014, Anna was posthumously awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest civilian honor, for her contribution to the country’s democratic transformation. She was also awarded the presidential medal, the Presidential Order of Freedom, in 2006, by the then-president of Poland Lech Kaczynski. Moreover, the city of Gdansk has dedicated a street, a roundabout, and a bench in her name.

Anna Walentynowicz – Trailblazer

Anna’s legacy of fighting for workers’ rights and women’s rights lives on. She continues to inspire people all over the world with her courage, resilience, and determination. Her impact on Polish society and the world at large cannot be understated. Due to her efforts and perseverance, labor unions in Poland are now free and independent, and workers have more rights than ever before.

Anna Walentynowicz is a woman who deserves to be celebrated for her contributions to society. She was a trailblazer who refused to back down against adversity and fought against totalitarianism with every fiber of her being. We should all be inspired by her legacy and strive to live our lives with the same dedication and commitment to justice. Anna Walentynowicz’s story is a reminder that even in our darkest moments, there is always room for hope, and that we can change the world for the better, one small step at a time.

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Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights


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