chapter  4
Attitudes toward Women in Public Life and Politics
Pages 31

The quote that commences this chapter illustrates the rhetoric that surfaced in the Polish Senate’s 2010 debate on a bill that would institute a gender quota on candidate lists in many Polish elections. Although the bill eventually passed, the debate took many fascinating and at times surreal turns, confi rming the centrality of traditionally conceived gender roles in the opposition to gender quotas by some members of the Polish parliament. For instance, Polish parliamentarians thought it appropriate to joke about women’s “natural” aversion to politics, express feigned concern about the extra points they would get for being women as a result of the legislation’s passage, or openly ponder why it was a big deal that there were more men in government because, after all, we were all human. 1 The deliberations regarding gender quota legislation in the Polish parliament also refl ect the attitudes expressed in broader discussions about women’s place in society that have been taking place in post-communist Poland. 2 These discussions suggest that Polish attitudes toward women must be taken into account in order to understand more fully why women are so rarely found in Poland’s elective bodies.