The Varsovians chose the 2022 Warsaw Woman of the Year. This year's winner of the plebiscite is the educator Małgorzata Szumowska. During the ceremonial gala at the Polin Museum of Polish Jews, she received the statuette from the Mayor of the City of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski. The special distinction was given to Wanda Traczyk-Stawska, who was awarded the title of the Female Varsovian of Generations.
We work hard to make Warsaw a place of equal opportunities, without any ceiling, where women and men earn the same. We make sure that there are day-care centers and other programs important to women. We do this because these are the 21st century's global standards – said Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of the City of Warsaw during the 2022 Warsaw Woman of the Year gala. – Moments like this are when we can finally look to the future with optimism. Because each of the nominated ladies shows that it is worth taking care of and fighting for important matters. This force, which emanates from women nominated for Warsaw Women of the Year, is extremely important for us and gives us hope that for the time being in Warsaw, but one day also in all of Poland we will look proudly towards the future and focus on Poland being a country where no important problem is marginalized, and it will be a given that women decide about their future and choices themselves – he added.
For five years I have had the pleasure of meeting extraordinary women who are being submitted for the title of Warsaw Woman of the Year. These are women who not only work to the benefit of Warsaw, but are also daughters, mothers and grandmothers. And it is obvious to them that you also live for others. This makes Warsaw a very special city. And what we have been saying for years, that Warsaw is a city open to all, is not just some cliché phrase, but is becoming true – said Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska, Chair of the City Council of Warsaw.
Małgorzata Szumowska is the 2022 Warsaw Woman of the Year
This year's plebiscite was won by Małgorzata Szumowska, who is an educator and president of the Centrum Edukacji Niewidzialna Foundation (EN- Invisible Education Centre Foundation) and creates a unique place in Warsaw – Invisible Warsaw. The 2022 Warsaw Woman of the Year is also a co-creator of the publication "Pacjent niewidomy i słabowidzący w gabinecie i na oddziale" (EN- "Blind and visually impaired patient in the office and ward") for the capital city's ophthalmologists and medical students, as well as the initiator of the campaign "Ścieżka dostępu – podziel się przestrzenią" (EN- "Access path – share the space") and "Hulaj z głową - podziel się przestrzenią" (EN- "Scoot responsibly – share the space", devoted to how we should function in publicly available places. On a daily basis, she sensitizes, educates and makes the public aware of the life of people with vision impairment, of whom there are approx. 2 million in Poland.
It is an honor, a pleasure, and a satisfaction that is far from pride, and it's the best thing that could have happened. It is a balm for my heart after two difficult years in my life, when I also saved the Invisible Exhibition, which intends to educate generations – this year's winner, Małgorzata Szumowska, said shortly after receiving the award.
Female Varsovian of Generations
This year, a special award, the Female Varsovian of Generations, was also presented to Wanda Traczyk-Stawska. During World War II she was an activist of the independence underground, a Home Army soldier and a participant of the Warsaw Uprising. She serves as Chair of the Social Committee for the Warsaw Insurgents' Cemetery and, as she says, has a soldier's duty to fulfill: to search for insurgent graves in the city and to bring about a worthy commemoration of the heroic death of comrades-in-arms. She initiated the construction of the Memorial Chamber in the Warsaw Insurgents' Park. She contributed to establishing the 2nd of October as the Warsaw Civilian Insurgent Population Day. In 2018, she supported the protest of parents of people with disabilities in the Parliament, and in October 2020, she protested against the tightening of abortion regulations in Poland.
There is strength in all of us, if one wants to see it, to change this world and make it better. Even by helping someone weaker, by smiling at those that are sad. It is very important that we are kind and helpful to one another – said Wanda Traczyk-Stawska, winner of the Female Varsovian of Generations award.
About the plebiscite
The Warsaw Woman of the Year is a plebiscite honoring women who, through their social or professional activities, have made a particularly significant contribution to the development and promotion of Warsaw. This title can be awarded for activities to the benefit of the capital, but also for the implementation of activities promoting values such as openness and tolerance, for outstanding achievements in some field, activity for women, a civic society, and the local Warsaw community. Every woman can become a Warsaw Woman of the Year – it is the people of Warsaw who decide who will receive this title. Among the numerous title candidate applications submitted by residents, this year the competition jury selected 10 women, whose actions show how the world around us can be changed with consequence. Residents were able to vote for: Magdalena Dziewguć – manager, Myroslava Keryk – sociologist, Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska – Olympic medalist, Orina Krajewska – president of the Małgosia Braunek "Bądź" (EN- Be) Foundation, Katarzyna Nicewicz – president of the "Daj Herbatę" (EN- Give Tea) Foundation, Maja Ostaszewska – actress and activist, Magdalena Piotrowska – environmental activist, Małgorzata Szumowska – director of the Invisible Warsaw Exhibition, Maria Wroniszewska – board member of the SYNAPSIS Foundation, Zofia Zochniak – originator of the UbraniaDoOdania.pl website.