Industrialization also had a significant social and political impact
throughout Eastern Europe with the rise of a strong working class.
In this picture, future (post communist) Polish President Lech Walesa,
leader of the unofficial labor union Solidarity, lifts his arms
in celebration after the organization signed an agreement with the Polish
government in August 1980, allowing independent labor unions for the first
time in the communist country's history. Walesa is surrounded by
aides, all men. One of the criticisms of Solidarity--and of
Polish society in general--is the lack of women in positions of leadership,
although women made up a significant percentage of Poland's industrial
work force. As Poland's President in the 1990s, one of Walesa's most
controversial moves was to ban the free abortions that had been guaranteed
to women under communist rule. The issue remains hotly debated in
Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe today.