Poznan City Council signs European Charter for Equality

On Tuesday, 23 councillors in Poznan voted on the signing and implementation of the European Charter for Gender Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. Jakub Kaczmarczyk/PAP

The City Council of Poznan, western Poland, signed the European Charter for Gender Equality on Tuesday. The charter, launched in 2006, commits local and regional governments throughout Europe to using their powers to achieve greater equality for their people.

On Tuesday, 23 councillors in Poznan voted on the signing and implementation of the European Charter for Gender Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. Ten councillors voted against adoption of the charter - all nine councillors from Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and one from the opposition Civic Platform (PO). Prior to the vote, the motion was also protested against by civil groupings from the city.

In justifying the resolution it was emphasised that the adoption of the charter is a "formal expression of the City of Poznan's commitment to promoting the principles of equality of women and men in local life, as well as a declaration by the city of the implementation of obligations arising from it."

It was pointed out that the document is a "comprehensive tool which serves to implement gender equality as well as non-discrimination based on sex, race, ethnic and social identity, nationality, language, faith, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity." Through the charter, Poznan will "promote the elimination of stereotypes and obstacles which arise from the unequal status of women and men, or which have an influence on the division of roles between women and men in political, business, social and cultural life."

Dozens of people turned up at Tuesday's council session in order to protest against adoption of the charter. Those protesting claimed that the charter was an attack on traditional family values and it sexualised children. The protestors carried crosses, rosary beads, candles, Polish flags, and banners which included texts such as "LGBTQ is mentally molesting Poznan residents with the agreement of city councillors. Shameful and disgraceful" and "Stop false ideologies."

After the results of the vote were announced, some of the protestors shouted out "disgrace, treason, traitors!" Chairman of the City Council Grzegorz Ganowicz intervened after one of the protestors called out "Please remember what happened in Gdansk!" in reference to the murder of the city's mayor, Pawel Adamowicz, in 2019.

Ganowicz appealed for calm and for those present to "reign in their emotions," he then called for a break in the council session.