“The first deviation from this norm occurs when a woman is born instead of a man. Therefore, femininity should be considered a kind of natural deformation”


Why do we not know the history of women? The Missing Half of History by Anna Kowalczyk is a book that changes people’s perception of Polish history and its unknown heroines.

What percentage of history textbook are descriptions of battles and wars, and how much space is there for the history of private, social and economic life? Where are all the women who were living here before us? Why do we know almost nothing about them? And is there really nothing to talk about?

Aleksandra Piłsudska, a revolutionist, whose story is a ready made script of an action movie. Three first students to boldly enter the Jagiellonian University despite the outrage. The legendary Nawojka, a few centuries before, dressed as a boy to be able to go and study. Magdalena Mortęska, a fierce nun who can be considered one of the first Polish emancipated women. Agnieszka Truskolaska called „the mother of the National Stage”. Anna Tomaszewicz-Dobrska – a first female doctor who saved thousands of women from death in puerperium. The list is long, and history textbooks, focused on describing political and military events, keep silent about them.

Meanwhile, the history of women in Poland is fascinating. It is a story of hard-won rights, defeats, daring victories, strength and determination. Not only of exceptional individuals, but also thousands of anonymous women – nuns, saints, prostitutes, noblewomen, soldiers, peasants, artists, revolutionaries, writers, governesses, conspirators, traders, students, housewives, doctors and many other heroines of everyday life. Anna Kowalczyk, based on the latest research and assisted by outstanding historians and archaeologists, for the first time on the Polish publishing market, guides the reader through all eras – from pre-Christian times to the present day. She brings out forgotten „superheroes” from the darkness of history and daringly debunks the stereotypes that still exist today. Her book is an extraordinary journey into Polish history, an unknown „half of it”. Its silent protagonists unexpectedly become very close. And without them, history, as French researcher Michelle Perrot wrote, have boon simply impossible. 

“This book is, above all, an invitation. To discover our story in full complexity and glory. Because half of the history is simply not enough”

Media contact:

Małgorzata Danowska,  malgorzata.danowska@gwfoksal.pl , + 48 501 195 359