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Polish Women Mayors

Like many Central and Eastern European countries, Poland has very few women mayors. Only two of the country’s top-ten cities have female mayors.

Research by Jacek Bruchal *


December 2023: Lodz and Gdansk are Poland’s only two top-10 cities with female mayors. The percentage of women among mayors from the 100 largest Polish cities is even lower. Just eleven out of 100 cities have women at the helm. The longest serving female mayor is Malgorzata Manka-Szulik, Mayor of Zabrze. Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, the Mayor of Gdansk, was elected city leader after the assassination of her predecessor Pawel Adamowicz in 2019.


Women mayors in Poland from top left: Hanna Zdanowska (Lodz) Aleksandra Dulkiewicz (Gdansk), Beata Klimek, (Ostrow Wielkopolski), Malgorzata Manka-Szulik (Zabrze ), Krystyna Danilecka-Wojewodzka (Slupsk), Anna Mleczkowska (Kolobrzegs)


Poland is a unitary state with local government (samorząd terytorialny) organised at three tiers: 16 voivodships, or regions (województwo), 314 counties (powiat), and 2478​ municipalities (gmina). Municipalities are of three types: urban municipality (gmina miejska), which comprises a town, rural municipality (gmina wiejska), which comprises countryside, and urban‑rural municipality (gmina miejsko‑wiejska), which comprises a town with the surrounding countryside. The Constitution stipulates that the municipality is the basic unit of local self‑government.

 

Poland's main political parties

PO (Platforma Obywatelska): Centrist, pro-European party

PIS (Prawo I Sprawiedliwosc): Right-wing, nationalist party

SLD (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej): Centre-left, social-democratic party

 

Female mayors in Poland

Lodz (Region of Lodzkie)

Popl: 696,000 (National rank 4)

Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor since December 2010

Party / Politics: Civil Platform (PO), centrist

Born in 1959. Studied at the Technical University of Lodz (Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture). 2006 councillor, 2007 vice-president of Lodz, 2007 Member of the Polish Parliament. The Mayor was shortlisted for the 2018 World Mayor Prize. In the 2020 local elections, she was nominated as a candidate for president of Lodz on behalf of the Civic Platform (PO). On 5 December of the same year, she won the second round of elections and on 13 December, she was sworn in as mayor of the city, becoming the first woman in history to head the municipal administration of Lodz.

 

In 2014, she successfully ran for re-election, winning the first round of voting with 54% of the vote. In the local elections in 2018, she was elected president of Lodz for the third time, receiving more than 70% of the vote in the first round of voting.

 

Gdansk (Region of Pomorskie)

Popl: 486,000 (National rank 6)

Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor since 2019

Party / Politics: Independent (before Civil Platform,PO), centrist

Born 1979. Studied University of Gdansk (Faculty of Law). 2004/2005 she studied at the Faculty of Law of the University of Salzburg. In 2006, she was the assistant of the Mayor of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz. Pawel Adamowicz was shortlisted for the 2016 World Mayor Prize. 2010-2014 she was elected as a city councillor in Gdansk (Civil Platform (PO)). From 2017 to 2019, she was deputy city mayor of Gdansk. In the 2018 local election, she was the campaign manager of Pawel Adamowicz. She was re-elected as a councillor in this election, being candidate of the Committee Everything for Gdansk. On 14 January 2019, after the assassination of Pawel Adamowicz, she assumed the position of acting Mayor of Gdansk. In the election held on 3 March 2019 was elected with 82% of the votes. She was sworn in on 11 March 2019, as the first woman Mayor in the history of Gdansk.

 

Zabrze (Region of Slaskie)

Popl: 155,000 (National rank 22)

Malgorzata Manka-Szulik, Mayor since December 2006

Party / Politics: Independent

Born 1955. Graduate of the University of Silesia in Katowice. She completed postgraduate studies in management and computer science at the Silesian University of Technology. She received her doctorate in social sciences from the Pedagogical University of Cracow in 2019. She initiated the creation of the first local government art school in Zabrze. She became involved in the activities of the local association Effective for Zabrze[4], which she co-founded. In 2015, she was elected chairman of the board of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union. Participated in the work on the creation of the Upper Silesian-Zagłębie Metropolis.

 

Slupsk (Region of Pomorskie)

Popl: 86,000 (National rank 42)

Krystyna Danilecka-Wojewodzka, Mayor since November 2018

Party / Politics: Independent

She graduated in Polish philology at the University of Gdansk. Since 1993 she has been deputy director and director since 1997-2006. She also co-founded a transport company. She also held the position of spokesman for the President of Slupsk for several years and worked in the department of culture in the provincial office. During the five terms of office, she held the mandate of a councillor (she resigned at the end of the term in 2014). In the local elections in 2010, she ran unsuccessfully for the office of president of Slupsk, losing in the second round by 278 votes to the opponent. Since December 2014, she has been the deputy president of Slupsk Robert Biedron, responsible for education, culture, sports and social assistance in the town hall. In the local elections in 2018, she ran again for the office of President of Slupsk. She won in the first round with the support of 53% of voters.

 

Jastrzebie-Zdroj (Region of Slaskie)

Popl: 83,000 (National rank 43)

Anna Hetman, Mayor since 2014

Party / Politics: Independent (before Civil Platform (PO), centrist

Born 1962. She graduated in oligophrenopedagogy  at the Higher School of Special Education in Warsaw; she also completed postgraduate studies in speech therapy, management and organisation in education, as well as alternative and supporting communication. Professionally associated with universal and then special education. She received the title of honorary professor of education. In 2010 she was elected councillor of the Sejmik of the Silesian Voivodeship of the fourth term on behalf of the Civic Platform. In the elections in 2014, she ran for the presidency of Jastrzebie-Zdroj as a non-partisan candidate on behalf of PO. She won in the second round of voting. In 2018, running from the Anna Hetman Coalition committee and with the support of the PO, PSL and local associations, she received 50.7% of the vote.

 

Ostrow Wielkopolski (Region of Wielkopolskie)

Popl: 69,700 (National rank 49)

Beata Klimek, Mayor since December 2014

Party / Politics: KWW Przyjazny Ostrow, local party

Born 1962. Graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Political science in the specialisation of local government administration). In 2010 she was elected councillor of Ostrow Wielkopolski and headed the councillor's club of the Social Agreement of the Left in the council. In the local elections in 2014, as a candidate of KWW Przyjazny Ostrow (with the support of SLD), she was elected president of Ostrow Wielkopolski in the second round, winning about 2,500 more votes from Jaroslaw Urbaniak, who was running for re-election. She became the first woman to hold this position in the history of the city. In 2018, she successfully ran for re-election, winning in the first round.

 

Kedzierzyn-Kozle (Region of Opolskie)

Popl: 55,200 (National rank 74)

Sabina Nowosielska, Mayor since December 2014

Party / Politics: Civil Platform (PO), centrist

Born 1962. She graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. 1991, she began working at Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn. In 2014, she became involved in political and local government activities. In the local elections of the same year, running from the list of the Civic Platform (remaining a non-partisan person), she was elected a councillor of the Opolskie Voivodeship Sejmik of the 5th term. In the same election, she also ran on behalf of the PO for the position of president of Kedzierzyn-Kozle, winning 55% of votes in the second round and defeating Tomasz Wantula, who was running for re-election. She took office as president on December 8, 2014.

 

Swidnica (Region of Dolnoslaskie)

Popl: 53,400 (National rank 78)

Beata Moskal-Slaniewska, Mayor since December 2014

Party / Politics: Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), social-democrat

Born 1966. Graduate of the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw. She worked as a press journalist. She also managed other local magazines and started running her own business. She was a member of the Freedom Union, and in 2013 she joined the Democratic Left Alliance[3] (which in 2021 co-founded the New Left). In the elections of 2010 on behalf of the SLD, she was elected councillor of Swidnica. In the elections in 2014, she ran for the position of president of this city, winning in the second round of voting, in which she defeated the previously incumbent Wojciech Murdzka. In 2018 (starting from her committee, with the support of the Democratic Left Alliance and Civic Platform) she was re-elected for another term in the first round of voting.

 

Belchatow (Region of Łódzkie)

Popl: 52,800 (National rank 79)

Mariola Czechowska, Mayor since December 2014

Party / Politics: Law and Justice (PIS), right-wing

Born 1971. Graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at the University of Lodz. She also completed postgraduate studies in information technology, education management and entrepreneurship. For several years she worked as a teacher of mathematics and computer science in elementary school, later she became the director of the Municipal School Service Team in Belchatow. In the elections in 2014, as a candidate of Law and Justice, she ran for the presidency of Belchatow, winning in the second round of voting with 61.92% of the vote and defeating Marek Chrzanowski, who had previously managed the city. In the elections in 2018, she ran for president of the city from her election committee (still belonging to PiS, but competing with the candidate of this party). She won re-election by winning the second round of voting.

 

Piekary Slaskie (Region of Śląskie)

Popl: 52,100 (National rank 82)

Slawa Uminska-Kajdan, Mayor since December 2014

Party / Politics: Law and Justice (PIS), right-wing

Born 1977. Graduate of the Second Teachers College of Foreign Languages in Sosnowiec, she received her master's degree at the International School of Political Science of the University of Silesia. She co-created the Piekarskie Forum Kobiet, appointed to the program council of TVP Katowice. In 2006 on behalf of Law and Justice and in 2010 on behalf of the local committee she was elected councillor of Piekary Slaskie. In the elections in 2014, she ran for the position of president of this city, winning in the second round of voting, in which she defeated Stanislaw Korfanty. In 2018, she was elected for another term, winning the first round of elections.

 

Kolobrzeg (Region of Zachodniopomorskie)

Popl: 43,600 (National rank 99)

Anna Mleczkowska, Mayor since November 2018

Party / Politics: Civil Platform (PO), centrist

Born 1967. A graduate of initial education at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. She also studied postgraduate studies in speech therapy at the University of Szczecin. In the 2014 local elections, she was elected a councillor of the West Pomeranian Sejmic, at which time she remained a member of the provincial board in the next term. In April 2017, the Civic Platform announced her nomination in the elections for president of Kolobrzeg. In December of the same year, it was additionally supported by the Polish People's Party, the Democratic Left Alliance, and the Agreement for Kolobrzeg by Wioletta Dymecka. It was also supported by the then-incumbent mayor of the city Janusz Gromek. In the 2018 elections, she was elected president on behalf of the Election Committee of Anna Mieczkowska "Kolobrzeski Razem", receiving 51% of the vote in the second round.

 

* The research was carried out in December 2023

 


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