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      Photo ©Alain Dejean—Sygma.  From J. Robert Wegs, Europe Since 1945, 2nd Ed., 1984, p. 140.

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.