Civic Action & Policy Change in Poland

  • Matthew Kolasa (Speaker)
  • Kathleen Barrett (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPresentation


How can politics, particularly civic action and protests, change the actions of institutions? In terms of numbers, Poland's women's strike was larger than any since 1989 and these protests were comparable in scale to the Solidarity protests of the 1980s, though while the Solidarity movement brought about a revolution, the current crisis has had limited effect on policy. This paper asks what effect two events, the 2015 constitutional court crisis and the 2020 Strajk Kobiet (women's strike), have had on Polish law and policy. The constitutional court controversy resulted in greater international pressure from the European Union while the 2020 crisis saw more domestic pressure. The women's strike reflected more intense opposition within Poland, though so far with no resultant change in policy. The 2015 movement, by contrast, resulted in a veto by President Andrzej Duda in 2017. The contrast in how the two crises affected policy yields answers about how protests can change institutions and law.
Period9 Apr 2022
Held atInternational Studies Association (ISA), United States
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Poland
  • European Union
  • Institutionalism
  • Politics