United Kingdom of Polish Women "IV CONgress of polish woman in great britain"

Hundreds of Polish families had been given a great opportunity to meet on the 5th of November for “IV Congress of Polish Women in the UK”. The event was held by the United Kingdom of Polish Women under the leadership of Jerzy Buzek and Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz.

The whole event took a place in the big theatre hall "POSK" in London, United Kingdom.

The main purpose of Saturday's meeting was to discuss one of the most important issues that modern women need to face everyday. Arriving a little bit earlier meant that the audience was able to see the amount of sponsors and media partners that this event had - Luxmedica, Forest&Ray Dental, londynek.net or ABG were only some of the guests who made this whole thing possible.

10:15AM, the official opening of the congress. The whole hall was filled to the brim with Polish women, their families and special guests. Grazyna Czubinska, founder of the "United Kingdom of Polish woman" shortly but beautifully underlined the importance of the meeting.

"Our platform includes women from all different fairy tales. These women may be from different areas but have the same goal, they want to work together and strengthen their sense of values. As we all live abroad, every year we are trying to answer at least few problems that concern us."

The first panel was lead by Malgorzata Skibinska and her four guests - Malgorzata Miluska, Jakub Krupa and Mikolaj Barczentewicz. Their discussion was based on Brexit and it's influence on peoples futures. I enjoyed how the speakers made the audience feel so comfortable around this issue and how smooth the whole panel was guided. Because the organisers invited experts in this field, every question asked by the audience was answered very promptly, without any doubts.

"Europe is a woman, Poland is a woman, the freedom is a woman. I've heard the information that Brexit is a man. Today we will try to figure out who that man is"

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Lecturer of Law at the University of Oxford and a Polish journalist from "The Guardian" helped the audience to resolve any doubts about their future in Great Britain. It was really easy to find every answer for every question which had a big impact on everyone's future.

The speakers warned the crowd against the many myths regarding Brexit. "We all should be aware of any articles and headers that make us stressed out" Media and other channels need to be used deliberately and consciously. I think that these three guests provided the audience with the perfect prescription for stress-free life, which was really helpful after all of these worrying questions. Despite the whole serious movement there was also time for laughter and humour around it, thanks to that we all got more familiar with the experts.

The second part was focused on opportunities and threats for woman in modern Europe. Four women, from four totally different professions, submitted their personal issues that they faced in the past and that they thought it will never affect future generations. I found this topic to be the most touching and imperative in today's world. I really appreciated the sincerity and emotion of our guests who weren't scared to show their feelings and let whole audience experience their stories once again.

The first guest speaker was Joanna Piotrowska - an educationalist and trainer of self-defence and assertiveness for women and girls. She presented the topic of sexual violence on women all around the world. According to statistics over 80% of women have been sexually abused. The greater awareness in the country, the bigger the number is, because women started to realise what violence really is. Everything starts as early as kindergarten, when the boys are pulling girls by the hair and teachers tells us that these are typical behaviours, so that means they like us and we need to be fine with it - "This is not how sympathy should be expressed! A big amount of women don't know their boundaries. They allow themselves to violate them, because we were always taught that we have to be kind and polite."

Public look really devastated. They realised how these little innocent actions in their past make some of them not aware of the consequences.

Katarzyna Cuadrat - Grzybowska is an activist who protects the rights of the victims of human trafficking. She told a story about a 17 year old girl that she met recently in one of the local shelters. The teenage girl started her nightmare when she was only 14 years old, when her best friend invited her over for summer where she promised to find her the perfect job. When she finally visited this said 'friend' in her 'house', two men locked her in a room where, for next 13 months, she was sexually abused. She gave birth to a child who has been taken away from her. After some time the neighbours noticed that something is happening and they called the police. Currently she is now trying to start a new life. When asked how they can help her - she replied that there is nothing they can do apart from share this story wherever they will be.

After these two speeches, the whole hall stayed silent. Everyone had tears in their eyes and couldn't move. That's when "session with a psychologist" started. Psychologist Anna Delaval taught how to reign over stress. At the end Sonia Scott, a police commander, told the audience how they should behave when they feel threatened.

I never realised that these kind of things are still happening in today's world. It made me (and I'm sure all of the audience) become increasingly more aware about our futures and safety. I think that all of these stories left a big hole in my heart and I may still need some time to get over it all. I found this session the most essential in these times.

"In the hell there supposed to be the special spot for women who didn't help other women" - M. Albright

Joanna Babiarz-Tuyluce, the wife of a muslim man, brought the problem of women supporting each other in different countries based on her own experiences. "Women should unite across boundaries. We may profess different religions, but we can continue to support each other. Don't let our choices that we made divide us in any way."

Marta Skow; businesswoman, consider herself as a successful woman, because she is doing what she really loves and never hide behind the man. "It is not always like he is a leader and you need to chase him." Often lack of understanding in the family is the main reason why we don't share our plans and ambitions.

Anna Janczak, a psychotherapist for several years, tried to help women who've lost themselves somewhere in their problems. She reminded herself about the commercial movie "Maleficent", and after sharing a short story, she came up with the conclusion how easy it is to judge someone, when you have no idea what that person have been through. You may think "Why is this person hurting others?" Most of the people who are hurting are people who have been hurt before. Many people try to help but they might don't know that this is not the right way to do it. She told us that she was an alcoholic few years ago and if someone wouldn't help her she wouldn't be able to help the others. "If my backyard is not dusted I'm not going to clean anyone else." We all should take our time, and then help others.

Psychotherapist taught everyone one big word from german "HALT" - If you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, it is time to take a break and think about yourself first.

After the previous speeches, I found this one a bit tiring. Joanna Babiarz-Tuyluce didn't seem to look so confident about her speech and views, which made me and the other females around me a bit suspicious and insecure. That was the only part I didn't really enjoy and didn't find helpful. Then finally came time for the break. The banquet hall was decorated with typical polish symbols and colours. The staff were really well organised and no one seemed to have any problems. During break time the public was able to look at some traditional polish toys, products and services. I think it was the perfect addiction to full our free time.

The last panel was based on "Feminine innovations". Three innocent looking personalities are all businesswomen and they gave their recipes on risky, yet valuable life.

Women are able to take more risks and without risk there is no business. You need to be able to take the risk, which when you lose won't destroy you. As a woman it is easier to be innovative and be able to apply for grants - funding that is gladly given to them. I think it was a really good motivation for all of the women who participated, I saw a lot of smiles after these speeches and females definitely felt more confident about themselves. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman uplifting another woman.

Despite the guise that women in business are mostly supported by men, everything depends on what attitude the woman brings with her. If she brings passion and wants to become a partner, she is welcome, but you can't make any excuses regarding your gender. You always have to be a competent partner - you can't bat eyelids and flaunt your sexuality. Women enter into a tank full of sharks ('the world of men'), but everything it is a little easier because there is not this element of ego. The one main thing is you must concentrate on what are you doing, read and be lawful. This session helped us to understand the importance of how we think other wants to see us and how we want to be seen.

In conclusion, it is easy to say how these kinds of events are paramount, especially for women who are scared to speak up and are not feeling comfortable about themselves. The meeting ran smoothly without any mistakes and confusions. Lunch, dinner and closing the congress banquet was a perfect opportunity for polish people to get to know each other much better.

Personally, I've had a chance to met a woman who was studied at the same university as I do right now. Today Natalia Tomas is a successful woman and she gave me an opportunity to interview her on the Skype about her point of view on the whole event.

By Klaudia Szewczyk

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