On Monday, 26 November 2018, the Women’s Rights Watch Society invited Ms Shanna PENN and Ms Irena GRUDZIŃSKA GROSS to its meeting on Solidarity according to Women, a film by Marta DZIDO and Piotr ŚLIWOWSKI. During this meeting, the students of the College of Europe in Natolin had the possibility to discuss and learn more about the crucial role women played in the organisation and leadership of the Solidarność movement in Poland, which led to the fall of the communist regime in 1989.
The film Solidarity according to Women is largely inspired by the book Solidarity’s Secret: The Women Who Defeated Communism in Poland (University of Michigan Press, 2005) written by Ms Shana PENN and which was awarded Best Book in Slavic and East European Women’s Studies by the American Association of Women in Slavic Studies. The College of Europe in Natolin received as a gift to its library the book signed both by Ms PENN and by Ms GRUDZIŃSKA GROSS, who wrote the preface.
Ms Irena GRUDZIŃSKA GROSS participated in the student demonstrations of 1968 in Poland and left the country following the Polish People’s Republic's antisemitic campaign. She greatly contributed to the elaboration of the book of Ms Shana PENN as she introduced her to many of the women who took part in the movement and helped her to grasp the gender dynamics in Solidarność.