Pro-choice Polish women adopt ancient pictograph for their posters

When a blinding white lightning hits the sky, you know that the cloud will burst to send its electrical charge to earth. It is not expected that the flap will turn into a fiery red, known to the Nazis, and end up with a women’s rights icon in Poland. (More about SS notes in a minute).

Women’s power

ArtNet reports that the electric symbol increases the power of women against the Polish government’s proposal to ban abortion – even in extreme cases where the fetus is severely deformed at birth. The artist who invented the icon, Ola Jasionowska, is the artistic director of the Warsaw Town Hall cultural campaigns.


Yasyanovska is also known for designing posters for museums and theatres. What you see on the activist’s poster is a flash in the face of a woman separated by lightning. The statue is so popular that it appears on handmade signs at protest marches all over Europe.

Men’s logo

Of course, lightning is nothing new in the world of emblems. The Epirus coin from the year 234 BC at the head of Zeus comes with a lightning bolt. It’s still in use. Hard rock band AC/DC and cartoon character Captain Marvel come to mind. Harry Potter also has a zipper in the scar on his forehead. For those who use the emblem, the list is long. But here’s the problem.

It is generally associated with men, not women.

Facial dagger

When ArtNet asked Yasianovskaya how she got the idea for the design, she seemed to have misunderstood the question, but instead she formulated her goal: to create a symbol of feminine power. It’s odd that she thinks that the face of a woman broken by lightning is a sign of female strength.

Time signal

But it looks like the picture was taken. The newspaper Art Gazeta reported that last weekend 430,000 posters in Jassyanovskaya were paraded with Polish words meaning women’s strike.

International badges

The flashes would have become synonymous with the strike of the international women’s movement.

Protest groups in other countries have adopted this logo, including the United States, where a black woman is represented.


It means Jasonowska has fulfilled his wish. As she told The Art Newspaper, she created the image so that it would be instantly recognizable. The result exceeded their expectations. She was surprised that many demonstrators put the logo on T-shirts and even on embroidery.

Hitler in the news

But wait, the poster isn’t just about solidarity. It should also be a warning: Be careful, Jasonowska, we’re warning you. We do not believe that women are deprived of fundamental human rights. That’s why this group of activists has been compared to the Nazi youth group. Hitler’s party used the red flash as a symbol of power.

We are not like those.

According to Jasonowska, there’s no comparison: It was set up for the strike by Polish women, who strongly opposed any fascist behaviour.

The moral of the story. When you design an icon, make sure it is without a pattern.

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