Wanda Traczyk-Stawska – the Warsaw Woman of the Year 2021

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President Rafał Trzaskowski gives a bouquet of flowers to Wanda Traczyk-Stawska
Author: Ewelina Lach

The citizens of Warsaw made up their minds and made the decision, with a record-breaking turnout. This year's winner, Wanda Traczyk-Stawska, received over 51,000 votes. During the ceremonial gala in Teatr Studio, the winner of the plebiscite honouring exceptional personalities received a statuette of the Warsaw Woman of the Year from the hands of Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski.

The power of women, their solidarity and their determination has a great impact on the course of events," said Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska, the chairwoman of the Warsaw City Council and of the jury of the plebiscite. Thanking its members for the debate, she spoke about the unusual experience of selecting the Warsaw Woman of the Year. “It is getting to know women, learning about things they do for the whole community, thanks to this I know Warsaw Women and Warsaw itself better. Let us notice the candidates for this title among ourselves!, she emphasised.

I would like to thank all those who cast their votes in this year's poll. This result shows both the community's involvement and how important our winner and her activities are to the people of Warsaw, said Rafał Trzaskowski, the Mayor of Warsaw. All the candidates share authority and courage. Wanda Traczyk-Stawska teaches us that we need to have courage every day, every moment.

The Warsaw Woman of the Year is a contest honouring women who, through their social or professional activity, have significantly contributed to the development and promotion of Warsaw. This year’s winner was Wanda Traczyk-Stawska, who received over 51,000 votes. This is more than the total number of votes cast in 2018 and 2019.

The theme for the 2021 edition – Hope

The theme of this year's Warsaw Woman of the Year edition is hope. This is a pretext for discussing who and what gives hope to Warsaw residents today. This year, voters decided that hope is brought to them by Wanda Traczyk- Stawska – an extraordinary woman, a Varsovian who is not afraid to speak out on important issues and who has proven throughout her life that hope is the best motivation to act and can lead to great things.

The awardee said that as a Girl Scout, she never lost hope.

I promise you, it will never die. I am here to call on women to fight for their rights. Wanda Traczyk-Stawska spoke a lot about the values that are most important in life.” She ended her speech with the words: "Freedom must be protected in order to preserve one's human dignity.”

Wanda Traczyk-Stawska

A psychologist, for many years she worked as a teacher at the Special School in Warsaw's Praga district. Before the war she was a scout in the Gray Ranks (Szare Szeregi). Today she emphasises the important educational role that scouting organisations can play in the face of the challenges of the climate crisis.

During World War II she was an activist of the independence underground, a Home Army soldier and a participant of the Warsaw Uprising. She acts as the chairwoman of the Social Committee for Warsaw Insurgents Cemetery and, as she says, she has to fulfil a soldier's order: to find the insurgents' graves in the city and to make sure that the heroic death of her comrades-in-arms is honoured and commemorated. She initiated the construction of the Chamber of Memory in the Warsaw Insurgents Park. She contributed to declaring October 2 as the Day of Remembrance of the Civilian Population of Insurgent Warsaw. In 2018 she supported the protest of parents of disabled people in the Sejm, and in October 2020, she supported the protest against stricter abortion laws in Poland.