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If we want to understand today’s position of women, we need two things. First of all, we must know and understand the features of the society in which a woman lives and of which she is a product but, in addition, we must seek the causes of these phenomena, the sequence of which shows us the historical development of the society. (...) We all know that the lives of our mothers and grandmothers were completely different than our life is today.” Angela Vode: A woman in present society. Maribor: Žena in dom, 1934, p. 5.

Ljubljana, 2012


SLOVENE WOMEN IN THE MODERN PERIOD NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY HISTORY Celovška cesta 23, SI – 1000 Ljubljana Director: Dr. Kaja Širok CATALOGUE : Published by: National Museum of Contemporary History Editor: Mateja Tominšek Perovšek MA Authors of contributions: National Museum of Contemporary History (NMCH): Monika Kokalj Kočevar MA, Marko Štepec MA, Mateja Tominšek Perovšek MA; Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana (FAUL): Dr. Jože Hudales, Dr. Irena Selišnik, Peter Mikša, Meta Gorup, Urška Purg; Museum and Galleries of the City of Ljubljana (MGCL): Mojca Ferle, Barbara Savenc; Krško Municipal Museum (KMM): Alenka Černelič Krošelj; Radovljica Municipal Museum (RMM): Tita Porenta MA; Maribor Regional Museum (MRM): Oskar Habjanič; Slovenian Schools Museum (SSM): Dr. Branko Šuštar; Faculty of Sport of the University of Ljubljana (FSUL): Dr. Tomaž Pavlin ; Archive of the Republic of Slovenia (ARS): Dr. Maja Gombač English Translation: Martin Cregeen BSc Design and computer layout : Mojca Turk Photographs: National Museum of Contemporary History, Museum and Galleries of the City of Ljubljana, National Gallery of Slovenia (NGS), Museum of Modern Art (MMA), Krško Municipal Museum, Radovljica Municipal Museum, Slovenian Schools Museum, National and University Library (NUL), University Library Maribor (ULM), Archive of the Republic of Slovenia, Historical Archives Ljubljana (HAL), Archdiocesan Library Ljubljana (ALL), Loka Museum Škofja Loka (LMŠL), Slovenian Alpine Museum (SAM), Museum of Sport (MS), private collections. Printed by: T2 , No. of copies: 500, Ljubljana, 2012 EXHIBITION: Project head: Mateja Tominšek Perovšek MA Professional preparation and selection of material: National Museum of Contemporary History: Mateja Tominšek Perovšek MA, Monika Kokalj Kočevar MA, Marko Štepec MA; Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana: Dr. Božidar Jezernik, Dr. Jože Hudales, Dr. Irena Selišnik, Peter Mikša, Meta Gorup, Urška Purg, Petra Gorenc; Museum and Galleries of the City of Ljubljana: Mojca Ferle, Barbara Savenc; Krško Municipal Museum: Alenka Černelič Krošelj; Radovljica Municipal Museum: Tita Porenta MA; Maribor Regional Museum: Oskar Habjanič; Slovenian Schools Museum: Dr. Branko Šuštar; Faculty of Sport of the University of Ljubljana: Dr. Tomaž Pavlin ; Archive of the Republic of Slovenia: Dr. Maja Gombač; TV Slovenija, Cebram d.o.o. Museum design: Mojca Turk Avsec Material for the Exhibition provided by: National Museum of Contemporary History, Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, Museum and Galleries of the City of Ljubljana, Krško Municipal Museum, Radovljica Municipal Museum, Maribor Regional Museum, Slovenian Schools Museum, National and University Library, University Library Maribor, Archive of the Republic of Slovenia, Historical Archive Ljubljana, Archdiocesan Library Ljubljana, National Museum of Slovenia, Celje Regional Museum, Koroška Regional Museum, Slovenian Theatre Museum, Technical Museum of Slovenia, Loka Museum Škofja Loka, Slovenian Alpine Museum, Museum of Sport, National Gallery of Slovenia, Museum of Modern Art, Slovene Ethnographic Museum, Institute of Contemporary History of Slovenia, Založba Tuma, TV Slovenija, Cebram d.o.o., private individuals Contract employees on the project: Slovene language editing: Alenka Klemenc MA English translation: Martin Cregeen BSc Lighting design: Marjan Visković Painting work: Marjan Letnar Digital printing of panels: Pegaz d.o.o., Print Division d.o.o.


Acknowledgments: The National Museum of Contemporary History is grateful to all institutions and individuals that have cooperated in any way in the realisation of the project Slovene Women in the Modern Period. We thank in particular all sponsors of the project and all the individuals who loaned or donated material from their private collections. Ljubljana, October 2011 – May 2012


Franja Tavčar as ‘godmother’ of the firemen’s banner. Kept by the NMCH.

5 • Slovene women in the modern era 7 • A woman’s natural attribute – subordination

to man

7 9 10 11 13 15 20 21

• Responses to the public activity of women • Value wiews of women • First female writers and poets • Nationall Ladies • Entry of Slovene women into politics • National political and charitable activities of women

22 23 25 27

• Society of St Cyril and Methodius (CMD) • Charitable societies • Women’s societies 1918-1941 • The most prominent advocates of the demand for the equality of women

28 30 31 34

• The phenomenon of the women’s question • ,,So, ladies, help (…); you can do a lot!’’

• In the blase of party politics • Development of women’s suffrage • Activities for the political rights of women • Women’s newspapers in Slovenia 1897-1945 Women’s organisations in the world and in Slovenia, 1887-1945

35 • Pioneers of the movement for women’s rights

in Slovenia

39 • Women artists 41 • Women in war 1914-1918 45 • Slovene teachers and their contribution

to cultural, national and social development


50 54 59 60 65

• Teachers- Activists for women rights • Exhibitions • University education of women • The first university educated Slovene women • The role of fashion in the process of moderni-

zation (1918-1941) • 67 Other social images of Slovene women 77 • "It is not enough for Slovene womanhood

merely to pin ribbons onto the Sokol banner":

Slovene women, gimnastics and sport • 79 Slovene women and mountaineering 81 • Slovene women in the Second World War 86 • Feminist demands of women up to the Second


World War


Mateja Tominšek Perovšek, MA Marko Štepec, MA Dr. Irena Selišnik Mojca Ferle Oskar Habjanič, Alenka Černelič Krošelj Tita Porenta, MA Barbara Savenc



Dr. Branko Šuštar Meta Gorup, Urška Purg Dr. Jože Hudales Dr. Maja Gombač Dr. Tomaž Pavlin Peter Mikša Monika Kokalj Kočevar, MA


Collage of portrait photographs.

The occasional exhibition, Slovene Women in the Modern Era, deals with four important periods of history in Slovenia, in which women, in the flood of civilisational changes, found themselves faced with decisions more or less committed to responding to circumstances and the situation in social, cultural, political and public life:

Kept by the NMGH.

1. Austrian Empire/Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (1848–1914) 2. First World War (1914–1918) 3. Kingdom SHS/Yugoslavia (1918–1941) 4. Second World War (1941–1945). Through the mirror of pre-modern and modern paradigms, which were reflected in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century in the western European spiritual world mainly as the domain of men, various contents, thoughts and activities of the then more prominent individuals in Slovenia can be recognised through the aforementioned periods: conceptual guidelines of the women’s movement, various social and cultural-artistic activities of women, societies and alliances, women’s newspapers and those individuals who had a more prominent position in the women’s awareness of emancipation, as equal members of society in terms of administration and decision-making in the political and general fields of life of the Slovene nation. The exhibition and catalogue have been planned as an inter-institutional project, in which the following have cooperated: Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia, Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, Museum and galleries of the City of Ljubljana, Krško Municipal Museum, Radovljica Municipal Museum, Maribor Regional Museum, Slovene Schools Museum etc. Because of the many aspects of the content, the exhibition has been set up interdisciplinarily. Museum staff and researchers from various fields have been involved in the execution of the project. Twenty-three colleagues have cooperated in the project group, and students of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, individuals who have donated materials and the following institutions have additionally cooperated: National and University Library, Archive of the Republic of Slovenia, Historical Archives Ljubljana, Archdiocesan


Archives Ljubljana, National Museum of Slovenia, Celje Regional Museum, Koroška Regional Museum, Slovene Theatre Museum, Technical Museum of Slovenia, Loka Museum, Slovene Mountaineering Museum, Museum of Sports, Institute of Contemporary History and Tuma Publishing House. Because it has often been shown in our Slovene national consciousness that we prefer to enter into extremes of one-sided thinking about history and we lay too great a stress on political and ideological aspects of individual and social activities, thus forgetting other, similarly or even more important aspects of life, within the bounds of financial, spatial and research possibilities we have wanted to stress in the exhibition those circumstances from the history of the women’s movement that have fatefully marked the transition of Slovene society from the pre-modern to the modern, We also wanted to go beyond specific views of the history of women as the history of the »persecution of witches«, which seek their basis in stressing the stigmatising of individuals in front of society. Collage of portrait photographs. Kept by the NMGH.

The collective consciousness has changed throughout history through various levers and in inverse relation to recurring effects, has also directly defined individuals. All the individuals who have recognised their difference in the world, out of a natural need after conditions of life have changed have received various encouragement towards creative reflection and self-realisation. So, in their own way and very often unconsciously, in a mysterious way they have constructed a new perspective of the value system, which new needs have demanded in changed times. Women have helped open the space to different values of freedom, equality, tolerance and solidarity and constructed their own history of understanding the world and life. The development of humanity and its history is thus, on a variety of civilisational levels in political, technological, economic-market, socio-cultural and social senses, not infrequently impacted on history in ways and in forms which did not reflect only the systemic arrangement or the decision of individuals and communities. Life, with its gigantic power, also paved a way past various differentiations, such as, for example, one of the most basic and natural differences: that of gender, between women and men. MTP


General Code of Citizenship for all German hereditary lands of the Austrian Empire. In Vienna: Royal Imperial Court and State Press, 1811.

A WOMAN’S NATURAL ATTRIBUTE – SUBORDINATION TO MAN Legally, a man was defined as head of the family, on whom the wife and other members of the family were dependent. A woman received the man’s name and the right to enjoy all the advantages of his circumstances. Her obligation was to share his dwelling with a man, to support him within her power in husbandry and acquisition, insofar as the demands of domestic order to obey his demands and ensure that others also respect them. She assisted a man bear the costs of common life by bringing a dowry to the marriage. Marriage was thus founded by a marriage contract, under which the married couple were bound to fulfil legal responsibilities. A father was bound to support his children until they were capable of an independent life, and mainly the mother had to take care of their body and health. (General Society of Women 1901–1945. Ljubljana: ARS, 2003, p. 27–28) MTP

THE PHENOMENON OF THE WOMEN’S QUESTION The women’s question appeared in history simultaneously with the emancipation of nations: in Europe with the French Revolution, in the Habsburg Monarchy in 1848, with the Slovenes from the end of the eighteen sixties and beginning of the seventies, at the time of the national movement United Slovenia. At that time, the number of women who first expressed the demand for emancipation or the equality of women and men, began to increase. Women were completely excluded from political life. They had no voting rights, all three branches of power were closed to them: legislative, executive and judicial. Women’s circles had already been founded in some places in the monarchy in 1848, but exclusively because of national work. Among Slovenes, the first women appeared in public after 1848. However, only as nationally conscious Slovenes and not as heralds of a women’s movement; for example, Fannny Hausmann (first Slovene poetess) and Josipina Turnograjska (first Slovene authoress).


Marija Murnik Horak (1845–1894) first organised the work of women in Slovenia in the charitable and national sphere. They worked charitably, without special organisation. They took part in national events (festivities with dancing and lotteries, social and charitable events), so they were called the national ladies. They had little to do with women’s questions and the name national ladies was retained by generations of successors. (General Society of Women 1901–1945, Ljubljana: ARS, 2003, p. 16–28)

Quotations as a reaction to the position of women that derived from legal standards:

“ “

Man will not be master of the world, nor woman mistress. Let them live equally, different only by gender and not by law. Only then will there be real development of humanity to a proper spiritual and heartfelt culture.” (Elvira Dolinar Danica: Female emancipation, in: Slovenka, 1897/26, p. 8) We want deliverance from old, narrow, narrow-minded prejudices; we want not to be immediately imputed bad, base motives at every unshackled step. We want our husbands to consider us persons and not lower beings. We want freedom, not to be degenerate and lost but to be strengthened in the struggle of life.” (Zofka Kveder: On this and that, in: Slovenka, 1900/1, p. 18)

Physical suffering is inevitable for a woman, but spiritual humiliation and oppression should have disappeared in the times in which we live, when society and the individual long and strive for progress and well-being. (...) Neglecting the well-being of women only hurts humanity.” (From notes by Pavlina Pajkova. In Gorica: Gorica Publishing House, 1894, p. 37–78)

Life is daily more difficult and demands more from us each day. Vocational and general education is only to the benefit of women. It is true that the first and main vocation of a woman is to be a wife and mother, but men ever more seek in women a thinking, independent, serious, intelligent and working companion and not a shallow, pampered and limited being, who remains all her life only a child and then also raises her children into such unhappy creatures!” (Minka Govekar: Dobra gospodinja (A good housewife). Ljubljana : Schwentner, 1908, p. 11–12)

We demand political rights in order to achieve: adequate protection of the life and health of (female) workers; for the protection of mothers and babies; to achieve wages by which we and out children can subsist in dignity; to achieve a reduction in the price of food and the costs of accommodation; to conduct ourselves against militarism, excessive taxes and excessive duties on foods; to achieve good schools for our children, abundant medical help for our sick, adequate support for widows and orphans, a life at work without anxiety for the disabled.” (Alojzija Štebi in Zarja, 13. 5. 1912) MTP



Privately owned by Božidar Jezernik.

Marica Nadlišek in Edinost, 24. 3. 1888

The new moral mission of the nationally feeling community expected a mother and educator to contribute to the nurturing of a national conscious generation. The question arose of education for women and removing the obstructions that a strongly discriminatory society placed in relation to the other sex. Defining the educational mission of women was a forerunner of the first feminist demands in Europe. The right of women to education in Slovenia, too, became the first battle call of nationally organised womanhood. The first texts by women were published in Ljubljanksi zvon and in Kres in Celovec in the eighteen eighties, and in the nineties in Slovanski svet, and women also published in Dom in svet. Later, Slovenka, a supplement to the Trieste Edinosti, from 1900 the first Slovene women’s publication, justified its entry into the circle of Slovene public media with the need for women’s social emancipation, to which Stritar’s thought related: »National life does not have a firm basis without national womanhood.« (Slovenka, 1897/1, p. 5) The systemic arrangement by which the social status of individuals was defined in relation to sexual differentiation, despite advances in the political, cultural and spiritual, technological and economic fields, tried to reinforce the traditionally allocated role, which restricted the space of women for creative originality and individual personal development. Precisely for this reason, women sought their ‘emancipation’ in social independence. »Female emancipation means their emancipation from the legal guardianship of men.« (Slovenka, 1897/1, p. 5) More prominent individuals stressed activity that had to derive from fundamental consideration and free will. This was also simultaneously an appeal for the deliberate and active inclusion of women in social processes that would change their position of personal and social dissatisfaction. The women’s movement raised the question of the personal freedom of women, or gender equality, their economic indepen-


Privately owned by Božidar Jezernik.

dence and thus the right to work, political rights for women, with voting rights to the fore, and their right to free education with study at university, which would enable a wider possibility of choice of profession and employment. OH, MTP

RESPONSES TO THE PUBLIC ACTIVITY OF WOMEN SUPPORT FOR THE WOMEN’S QUESTION FROM SLOVENE INTELLECTUALS: Slovene intellectuals who had been committed to the right of women to education from the eighteen seventies were mainly responsible for the Slovene public being first confronted with the women’s question. Although they understood the public activity of women as a continuation of a woman’s family mission and maternal virtue, they thus brought closer the possibility of women’s full participation in Slovene public life. They included: Radoslav Razlag, Fran Podgornik, Ivan Hribar, Fran Govekar, Fran Celestin, Frančišek Lampe etc. Fran Celestin, for example, demonstrated in the eighties that the women’s question had already been topical in Slovenia for some time, but many did not want to acknowledge this. He stressed that the position of women is a measure of the culture of the entire society.



Ivan Tavčar (1851-1923);

Not all Slovene national actors were enthusiastic about the national activity of women. Resistance came from within Catholic, Social Democratic (Marxist) and Liberal political camps. Numerous opponents of the national activity of women and the women’s movement in general understood the women’s movement as primarily a dangerous form of undermining traditional values and relations. How progressive or conservative people were politically was thus also measured in relation to the women’s question. Their common denominator was rejection of the political recognition of women. The Liberal politician, Ivan Tavčar, although inclined to national womanhood and married to the publicly all-round active Franja Tavčar, e.g., remained a convinced opponent of the political rights of women. In 1905, in the Vienna parliament, he voted against a motion by the Social Democrats on the introduction of general and equal voting rights for men and women. Nationally active women were also lukewarm about obtaining political rights in the civic environment, and did not consider them much right up to the end of the nineteenth century. Neither were they committed to a removal of the ban on women being members of a political party. Their attention was focused on the physical and moral development of the Slovene nation and they saw their place throughout as beside men. So, just like elsewhere in the Habsburg monarchy, Slovene citizens adapted to the norms determined since 1811 in the General Citizen’s Code. (General Code of Citizenship, 1 June 1811 no. 946 zb. p. z. In the text of three working amendments. Vienna: [s. n.], 1928, p. 25) Anton Mahnič ( 1850-1920): Since a woman cannot accept being short on sense, she replaces it with – a long tongue. (…) Yes, Marica! Stick to your women’s tasks. As you are a woman, patch your husband’s pants and wash and dress the children if you have any!« »Leave the rest to us men: we’ll discuss it all.” Words that Anton Mahnič directed at Marica Nadlišek, later the wife of Bartol, in a polemic after the publication of a Slovene translation of the work for youth Cuore (Heart) by the Italian writer Edmond De Amicisa (Roman Catholic, 1893, p. 114–118)


kept by NUL;

Ivan Tavčar (1851-1923):

Female emancipation is thus a condition of the overall emancipation of the Slovene nation. (…) Slovene womanhood, e.g., is still today completely under the yoke of a single class, the priesthood, that class therefore which is the principal opposing current to women.« - »It’s not just the head or arms in the parson’s sack; even the soul and body is in that sack. (...) A warden is the worst reactionary, the hammer in the hands of the priesthood, so that it successfully kills the spirituality of the nation. If I see a woman following a priest it seems to me like gazing on green pastures and seeing a sheep who follows the one carrying a bell.« – »Healthy emancipation must fight against the tyranny of reaction and (...) the task of civilised womanhood is to accomplish this fight.” From reports of the Slovene Nation and the Slovenes (20. 1. 1902) on a lecture by Ivan Tavčar, Women and the Public, to the General Slovene Women’s Society, 19. 1. 1902 in Ljubljana.

Frančišek Lampe (1859-1900): Lampe’s scientific definition of the differences between the sexes, which she explains in her Dušeslovju (Psychology) from the point of view of the anatomic or physiological construction of the body, is important:

This difference derives from different physicality, physicality is the decisive essence in psychology. The psychic life of male persons has for the most part more intensity than that of female persons; but it is not true that psychic life in women must give way to physical forces and their actions. (...) Any craving more quickly makes itself known in a woman than in a man: the vegetative and sympathetic nervous system is more developed in a woman, so is also stronger than in a man. (...) The idea is mistaken that the female disposition and nature is in itself bad or inclined to badness. From the point of view of nature, a person, whether man or woman, makes him or herself on their own, the psychic life of the first as well as the second is as worthy insofar as it strives to achieve a natural pattern; in this a woman is entirely a match and equal to a man.” (France Lampe: Dušeslovje: napredujočim Slovencem napisal France Lampe (Psychology: Franca Lampa written for progressive Slovenes)e . In Ljubljana: Matica Slovenska, 1890, vol. 2, p. 494–495).

In Catholic ranks in Slovenia, this was a completely new scientific philosophical and theological definition of a woman as a personality and her role in the contemporary world. MTP



Fanny Hausmann, kept by the NMGH.

FANNY HAUSMAN (1818–1853)* The presumed first Slovene poetess, Fanny Hausmann, worked publicly in literature in 1848–1849, when she cooperated within the circle of the Celje Slovenskih Novin or Slovenskih Novin (Slovene Fallows). She inspired Slovene patriots with her poems and showed in them a gentle sensitivity and profound melancholy but powerful poetic personality. Celje people described her as a beautiful, tall young lady, a passionate card player, a fervent adherent of the Catholic faith and a lady who was always dressed in black. After her death, she was soon forgotten and when contemporaries revived memory of her in the 1880s, the first doubts appeared as to whether she was really the author of the poems that were published under her name. Fanny was a German by birth, who is not thought to have known Slovene well. According to the most recent findings (Dr. Igor Grdina), the author is supposed to have been Dr. Jožef Šubic (1802-1861). Patriots at first wanted to preserve Fanny Hausmann as the first Slovene female poet mainly because they did not value her as a poet but because she declared herself to be a Slovene. The poetry was thus understood only as one of the important national objects. The myth of Fanny Hausmann is still not entirely explained but her figure is very interesting and something special in the Slovene literary space. MTP

JOSIPINA URBANČIČ TURNOGRAJSKA (1833–1854) * Josipina Urbančič Turnograjska, the first Slovene female writer and composer, already began to create when she was seventeen years old. In her short life, she wrote 37 short stories, as she called her prose work. At first she wrote short instructional stories with a moral tendency, and then short historical stories from Slavic and general history. Women have a very important role. Their persons are equal to men but morally and even physically they are often stronger than them. They were very much appreciated in Slovene and Slavic circles. She published the first



Summarised from Mira Delavec: Fanny Hausmann, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of women in the 19th and 20th centuries in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 32–34.

short stories in Slovenska Bčela (1851), and soon afterwards they began also to be known in Slovakia and elsewhere in Austro-Hungary. Her short story Boris, which was published in the Graz Zori in 1852, was also translated into Bulgarian. She was also a composer. She wrote compositions and piano accompaniments for Slovene texts; she also planned a operetta, Črtomir and Bogomila. Josipina Trunograjska was married to the prominent politician, poet and national awakener, Lovro Toman. A three year correspondence developed between them before their wedding, which is important because of the description of then cultural events, fashions and meetings with eminent men, such as Dr. Janez Bleiweis. At her husband’s wish, she was also portrayed in photographs and paintings. Matevž Langus used her as a model when he painted St Lucy (sv. Lucija) in Šentflorian church in Ljubljana. Josipina had an important place in the creation of Slovene prose, since she expanded it thematically and conceptually and thus developed its completeness. She created in a period when narrative literature was only beginning to develop in Slovenia and, until that time, it had only been created by men. MTP

LUIZA PESJAK (1828–1898)* The writer and poet Luiza Pesjak, who was encouraged in her youth to write by France Prešeren, entered Slovene cultural circles in 1864, when Janez Bleiweis printed the poem, Kar ljubim (What I love) in Novice. She immediately became the first poetess of Novice. She also published poems in the Celovec Slovenski glasnik, the Vienna Zvon, the annual Matica slovenska, the Ljubljana Zvon, the Calendar of the Mohorjeva družba and the children’s newspaper Vrtec. She wrote in both German and Slovene. She strove for the success of Slovene poetry in German newspapers and for this purpose translated Prešeren, Koseski and others and enriched the Slovene reading public with translations and arrangements of German comedies. She also wrote a libretta for the operetta Gorenjski slavček (1872). Literary history is most appreciative of her children’s poems from the collection Vijolice (Violet): Poems for Youth (1889). Less attention is paid to her most important work, the novel Beatin dnevnik (Bea’s Diary) (1887), which, if it had been published when it was written (1882), would have been the first novel by a Slovene authoress. Luiza Pesjak was in close contact with the male literary elite of the second half of the 19th century, the Polish refugee Emil Korytek, Josip Cimperman, Josip Stritar and Fran Levstik. Her contempories on the one hand valued her when they invited her to collaborate and held her up as an example, but when she tried in a genre which did not belong within the programme of national literature (female novel) she came up against a negative attitude. The literary beginnings of Luize Pesjak are parallel with Jurčič and belong in the founding period of Slovene prose. MTP


Summarised from Mira Delavec: Josipina Urbančič Turnograjska, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of women in the 19th and 20th centuries in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 44–47.


Summarised from Miran Hladnik: Luiza Pesjak, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of women in the 19th and 20th centuries in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 39–43.


Marija Murnik; kept by NUL,

MARIJA MURNIK HORAK (1845–1894)* leader of nationally conscious Slovene womanhood Marija Murnik Horak was born on 20 October 1845 into the family of the organiser of Ljubljana trades people, politician and patriot, Janez Nepomuk Horak (1813–1893). She was the third of five children. She attended primary school at the Ursuline (trade school) and completed fourth class in 1856. She later cooperated in social life, at first as a reciter and actress in reading rooms in Ljubljana and Trieste, then also in the Dramatic Society. She cooperated with Kornelija Schollmayer, the sister of Etbin Costa, who lead the declamatory and drama school; after her marriage, she organised courses for it. She was married in 1870 to the politician and imperial advisor, Ivan Murnik (1839–1913). She and her husband did not have children, which was probably an additional reason for Marija’s charity. She was active in all Slovene national societies that were founded from the 60s of the 19th century and financially supported them. She also helped the national Sokol physical education organisation, was a committee member of Dijaške in ljudske kuhinje (Student and Folk Cooking) and a supporter of charitable societies. As an excellent Slovene, she worked tirelessly for the development of national consciousness among women and became the leader of Ljubljana national wives. In 1892, she called for the founding of a women’s branch of the national defence Society of St. Cyril and Methodius, which she headed until her death. She died on 20 March 1894 after being afflicted with dropsy. As a paragon of a patriot, the most magnificent funeral that any woman had had until then was prepared for her.


Summarised from Nataša Budna Kodrič: Marija Murnik Horak, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of women in the 19th and 20th centuries in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 52–56.

Gaslights burned along the streets by which the funeral moved, they were lined by citizens as far as the cemetery; it was a real double line. At the head of the procession were children from the orphanages, behind them girls from the municipal school at sv. Jakob. Then marched ‘Ljubljana Sokol’with its banner, Šiška reading society with banner, Ljubljana reading society with banner, the‘Slavec’Choral Society with banner, the Ljubljana Choral Society with banner, the‘Ljubljana’Slovene Cycling Club, a deputation of the‘Drama Society’and after them, which was the finest part of the whole procession, a long line (up to a hundred couples) of national women dressed in black, who thus clearly showed how they valued the services of their prematurely deceased leader.” (Novice, 23. 3. 1894) MTP


JOSIPINA HOČEVAR (1824–1911) a woman of the 19th century: businesswoman, patroness, benefactress Josipina Hočevar was born on 6 April 1824 in Radovljica. She came from a wealthy family, which enabled Josipina to have an education for girls, which at that time was devoted mainly to care for the family and the household. She finished her schooling at the public school and the Škofja Loka Ursuline school at the age of fourteen. Life bound her to the businessman, Martin Hočevar (1810–1886). They were married on 9 October 1842 and settled in Krško. Between 1860 and 1862, they lived in Graz, where they had the Hotel Zur Stadt Triest. They became benefactors after 1860, when successful business had brought them more property and they had probably stopped hoping for descendents. Josipina was aware of the importance of education, so she devoted herself mainly to educating girls and she supported a number of schools and courses for girls, as well as orphanages and hospices. In 1891,

she provided funds for a new church to be built at Krško cemetery. She also gave a considerable amount (30,000 goldinars) for building a municipal hospital in Krško, completed in 1899. She also provided a large sum for constructing a municipal water supply in Radovljica. She received a number of recognitions for her services. She was an honorary citizen of the municipalities of Radovljica, Krško and Kostanjevica. The public followed her work in the central Slovene newspapers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. She died in Krško on 16 March 1911, at the age of 87. After her death, great public attention was devoted to her will and its appendices, from which Josipina’s breadth and goodheartedness can be seen. In the will, among other things she provided scholarships for young people from Krško and Radovljica. As a woman, Josipina realised both the power of personality and the power that derives from property. Traces of her progressive and charitable activity for the community have been preserved in numerous towns and other places: Radovljica, Krško, Videm, Mirna, Novo mesto, Ljubljana, Graz and elsewhere. AČK, TP


Josipina and Martin Hočevar in private, around 1860, presumably in Graz (Austria). Original kept in the Valvasor Library Krško.

Ivan and Franja Tavčar. They were a mutually supportive couple: Franja was an inspiration to him in his literary creativity, Tavčar helped her to become socially established; photographed circa 1920. (Original kept by HAL, Škofja Loka Unit)

FRANJA TAVČAR (1868–1938) champion of national ladies She was born on 8.2.1868 in Ljubljana, to the family of the head telegraphist Gustav Košenini and Frančiška Arca. She lost her parents in early childhood and grew up at the Špickramar, in the house of a wealthy old uncle, the lace trader Fran Lukman. Her mother’s brothers and sisters cared for her, especially Josipina (Aunt Ajka). They were without heirs and Franja became a rich heiress. She was raised with every attention and love, and it was also significant for her further development that she grew up in a nationally aware environment. Aunt Ajka took her to the Ljubljana reading room, to performances of the Dramatic Society and other national events. She was self-confident and an excellent organiser from the very beginning. During the visit of Emperor Franc Jožef (1883) to Ljubljana, she took part in the procession with a programme that expressed loyalty to the monarchy and played a part in a scene depicting a Slovene rural wedding. The actors were dressed in national costume. The event was organised by Marija Murnik, who introduced Franja to public life and national charitable work. She quickly discovered Franja’s abilities and, after her death, Franja became her successor. Her positive energy, perseverance and decisiveness gained her many co-operators. The, at that time still an attorney, Dr, Ivan Tavčar, also noticed these notable characteristics. She quickly took on the role of leader of the Ljubljana national women. She was president of the city branch of the Society of St Cyril and Methodius, a co-founder and later president of the General Women’s Society, of the Atena Women’s Gymnastics Society, she headed the Circle of Yugoslav Sisters, cooperated in the founding of Mladika, the grammar school for girls, the Children and Mothers’ Home in Ljubljana and a holiday home for children in Kraljevica in Croatia. She was also the leader and member of other women’s organisations and national societies. She generously supported the poor, war orphans, students, artists and others working in culture. At the time of the radicalisation of the Slovene national movement


during the First World War, she played an important role in several pan-Slovene campaigns. In 1917, she was among the main initiators of the collection of signatures for the May Declaration. Together with Cilka Krek, she collected 200,000 signatures from women and in March 1918, they ceremoniously handed them over to Dr. Anton Korošec, president of the Yugoslav Club. In the inter-war period, she became an undisputed authority and almost no events were considered without her presence. She was decorated with the Order of St. Sava, the Czech Order of the White Lion, a high Bulgarian order and numerous honorary diplomas. In 1925, she became the first Slovene ladyin-waiting to the Yugoslav Queen Marija and, in 1928, on her sixtieth birthday, received honorary citizenship of Ljubljana. Mrs Franja Tavčar, widow of the Slovene politician, provincial and national delegate, Ljubljana mayor and author, Dr. Ivan Tavčar, national lady, leader of Slovene womanhood and Together with Cilka Krek, the representative of Slovene Catholic womanhood, she played an important role in the May Declaration movement. They handed the 200,000 women’s signatures for the May Declaration to Dr. Anton Korošec on 24 March 1918. Declaration postcard with the scene of handing the signatures to Dr. Anton Korošec. (Original kept by MGCL)

generous benefactor, lady-in-waiting at the court and honorary citizen of Ljubljana, died on 8.4.1938 at the age of 70. She is buried in the family tomb in Visoko in Poljanska dolina. MF


CILKA KREK (1868–1943)*

Cilka Krek. Kept by the NMGH.

fighter for women’s rightsin many Catholic women’s societies Cilka Krek, born on 11 November 1868 in Sv. Gregor above Velike Lašče, was one of the Slovene women who certainly appeared most often publicly, including on radio. Her public activity was particularly directed into campaigns that were committed to the rights of women, the poor and the uneducated. Her brother, Janez Evangelist Krek, probably with her help, founded the Catholic Workers’ Society and Cilka was among the founders of the Catholic Women’s Alliance in 1901, which she also headed for a good number of years. After the First World War, for a short time she lead the central organisation of »all Christian thinking women«, the Slovene Christian Women’s Society (SKŽZ) and was throughout one of its leading lecturers. At the same time, she worked in the charity field. Her commitment to the unification of all women, irrespective of political affiliation, in the struggle for their rights, was also important. As president of SKŽZ, she cooperated with the National Women’s Alliance of the Kingdom of SHS, which in 1926 was committed to the active and passive voting rights of women. She was also active in the sphere of journalism. She wrote for Naša gospodinja and the Ljubljana Slovenka and, as one of the leading personalities in the founding of a girls’ physical training organisation within the Orel Society, was among the first editors of its broadsheet, Vigred. Among her political rivals, Cilka Krek was always considered a very committed collaborator in all the important national movements. Best known is her cooperation with Franja Tavčar in collecting signatures from Slovene national women and girls for the May Declaration in 1917-1918. Franja and Cilka collected around 200,000 signatures, which they handed over to the president of the Yugoslav Club in the Vienna parliament, Dr. Anton Korošec, on 24 March 1918. Right up to her death on 22 October 1943 in Ljubljana, Cilka Krek regularly attended various meetings. She was buried on 24 October 1943 at Sv Križ in Ljubljana and, in the opinion of many Slovene women, there had never before been such a magnificent funeral, despite the time of war. MTP



Summarised from Katja Stergar: Cilka Krek, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of women in the 19th and 20th centuries in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 103–107.

ENTRY OF SLOVENE WOMEN INTO POLITICS The entry of women into the political field was a lengthy process throughout Europe. It meant not only efforts to obtain suffrage but also their endeavours to influence decision-making on social and political questions. Women entered the political process gradually; it required a great many small steps. An important activity in this direction was the »sociability of politics«, which belonged under unwritten rules within the sphere of activities of women. It was a logical extension of the traditional women’s role. To have a spouse who supported the political activities of her husband in the social field was extremely important. Franja (1868-1938) and Ivan Tavčar (1851-1923 were such a couple; he was an important Liberal politician and Ljubljana mayor, she was president of almost all the women’s societies in Ljubljana, and above all a capable organiser.

immediately recommended Dr. Žerjav to g. Gašperlin, at a

chance meeting in Belgrade with the vice-president of the provincial government, who promised me that he would take care of him. I hope that my intervention was successful and I will be happy if in this way (...) I succeed, most respected madam, in doing you a small favour. It is also my pleasure to send the attached letter to you both. The Government has decided to provide for our poor countrymen who do not have the means to return to their homeland” .

HAL, LJU 331, Tavčar Franja and Ivan, šk. 1, Correspondence between Franja Tavčar and Albert Kramer. IŠ



Members of the General Slovene Women’s Society. Kept by HAL. LJU

Women first responded to the political agitation in 1848 within the framework of the national affirmative movement and the programme of Zedinjena Slovenija (United Slovenia). They operated politically in many societies. Because they were not allowed to be members of political parties during the Austrian period, they worked in cultural and educational societies and religious associations. One of the most important paths of entry of women into public life was activity in the national defence Society of St Cyril and Methodius (CMD). The first all-women branch of the CMD was founded in 1887 in Trieste. At the turn of the century, women then founded a series of exclusively women’s societies, which for the most part worked within the framework of the political camps in Slovenia. The first demands for women’s rights appeared at this time. The women’s social democratic society, Veda, was founded in 1900 in Idrija. In 1901, liberally oriented women in Ljubljana founded the General Slovene Women’s Society (SSŽD) and members of the Catholic camp the Christian Women’s Alliance and the Christian Social Women’s Alliance. Religious societies (Society of Mary, Third Order of St. Francis, Society of St Ursula) also represented an important stage in the entry of women into public life. Women’s charitable societies had a special role in the context of church societies. Through their activities in societies, women helped shape public opinion and obtained experience for public appearances and writing. They also responded to the question of the legal establishment of women’s equality and demanded the most direct method of deciding on politics – the right for women to vote. Teachers, the first educated women, were primarily active in social life. However, although the first generation of teachers had a Slovene orientation, the last pre-war generation of students of teacher training colleges became Yugoslav oriented. While the first generation showed their political point of view modestly, by wearing ribbons in the colour of the Slovene tricolour,


285, General Slovene Women’s Societies.

Elvira Dolinar and Minka Govekar, for example, women like Pavla Hočevar (Poldka Kos) already belonged to the generation of students who were involved in the national radical student movement, with the organisation of ‘circles’. Revivalists were Anica Kos, married name Kozak (wife of Juš Kozak), Angela Kravos, married name Lombar, Sabinka Meglič-Mešiček, Francka Sič, née Sever, Metodija Šlajpah, née Vidmar, Mila Svetličič, married name Hribar, members of the Kessler family (Vera, married name Albreht, Mica, married name Čop and Ani, married name Župančič) and some other secondary students who had contact with the revivalist movement in Serbia. IŠ

Premises of the General Slovene Women’s Society at Rimska cesta 9 in Ljubljana. (HAL, LJU 285; the picture is also published in Splošno žensko društvo: 1901–1945. Ljubljana : ARS 2003, p. 79)

SOCIETY OF ST CYRIL AND METHODIUS (CMD) The initiative for founding the women’s branch of CMD in 1892 came from Trieste, where, under the leadership of Marica Nadlišek, later married as Bartol, a women’s branch of CMD had operated since 1887. The organisation founded Slovene schools and kindergartens. It can be concluded that the idea in Trieste came from Graz, where the first women’s branch of the German private school organisation, Schulverein, was founded in 1883. This set up German schools and kindergartens in nationally mixed regions and germanised Czech and Slovene children, in particular. Schulverein was the largest civil voluntary organisation in Central Europe.

to raise the female sex spiritually from scientific, social and sexual ignorance, to guard women from moral and physical decay, to support womanhood in striving for an improved economic position.”

From the Rules of the Veda Society; Cveto Kristan: Paberki o kulturno-prosvetnem delovanju idrijskih soc. demokrat. Rudarjev (Gleanings on cultural and educational activity of the Idrian social democratic mine workers. In: Idrijski razgledi, 4, 1959, p. 55.

The purpose of the society is to gather members in the purpose of general women’s culture in religious, charitable, social, housewifery and women’s rights fields.”

On the mission of the society, Christian Women’s Alliance ; HAL, LJU 285, Splošno slovensko žensko društvo, šk. 8, Krščansko žensko društvo v Ljubljani.


CHARITABLE SOCIETIES Women only rarely cooperated in charitable societies in the 19th century. Such work was mainly performed by members of the nobility, exceptionally they were Protestants. Only in the eighties were women involved in greater numbers in charitable work. However, the conviction was long held that direct help to the poor was something that was inappropriate for women. This changed with the founding of the Society of Ladies of Christian Love of St Vincent Pavlanski, in 1882 in Ljubljana. Its members visited the poor at home and established more personal relations with them. The Evangelical Women’s Society in Ljubljana (Evangelischer Frauenverein Laibach) was founded in 1852 and for a long time was one of the few societies with exclusively female members. The membership of the society consisted of Ljubljana evangelicals, not only German but also English and Swiss. The Society of the Compassionate Lady, later renamed the Ladies’ Society for Help to Wounded and Sick Soldiers and Support of Military Hospitals, also known as the Women’s Support Society for Wounded Soldiers in Carniola, operated within the framework of the Austrian Patriotic Aid Society in Vienna. It was a forerunner of the Red Cross. In 1879, the society obtained a new statute and became the Women’s Aid Society for Carniola. It functioned independently until 1902, when it was combined with the Provincial Aid Society for Carniola, the membership of which was exclusively male. The basic tasks of the society were help for the wounded by collecting money and goods, the organisation of military hospitals, providing medical personnel and home helps and distributing aid to veterans, widows and orphans. The Society of Ladies of Christian Love St. Vincent Pavlanski in Ljubljana was founded on the model of men’s charitable associations. Similar societies also operated in Novo mesto and Kranj. The society collected money and material goods and the members also visited the poor at home. When those for whom they were caring needed permanent care, the society sent them to a home of the Sisters of Mercy. They also visited the sick and


Franja Tavčar children’s home in Kraljevica. Kept by ARS, SI AS 613, Kolo jugoslovanskih sester, šk. 9, m. 47.

the dying, as well as comforting members of the family. They also distinguished themselves by collecting money for doctors and medicines, seeking jobs for fathers of families and apprenticeships for children. In 1882, under the leadership of Sofija Auersperg, the society founded the shelter the Josephinum (Dobravec house) for impoverished »female scholars« and a school for poor girls, in which nuns taught sewing, and they also gave jobs in the house to unemployed maidservants. The money for founding the first shelter for servants was provided by Josipina Hočevar. The society later moved the shelter to the building of the former Jožefinum children’s hospital, which they bought. »We reported yesterday that Mrs Josipina Hočevar of Krško, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the emperor’s rule, donated 20,000 goldinars as a founding fund for the Josephinum. According to the letter of foundation, the Josephinum has the right to the interest on the capital as long as the institution exists and is caring for at least 12 impoverished disabled servants, otherwise the government must dispose of the interest. In this event, 12 places shall be established for impoverished disabled maidservants who are by right in Carniola or served in Carniola for some years prior to disablement.« (Slovenec, 27. 1. 1898) Women mainly worked in an informal manner for charitable purposes, on various committees, whereby they collected money, took part in floral days etc. They also worked on a committee that set up a people’s kitchen, since »a merely male committee cannot lead such an institution, they will then also appeal to the compassionate ladies of Ljubljana to help for the benefit of the poor«. (Slovenski narod, 6.12.1876) The people’s kitchen was opened on 8 April 1877. The ladies prepared soup, meat and soured cabbage and portions of tripe. The charitable ladies were deeply moved when serving food to the poor and brought into direct contact with poverty. »On Sunday at 8 a.m., for the first time as an experiment, 90 portions of food were handed out in the people’s kitchen. The leadership of the kitchen was graciously taken over on that day by Franja Sirnik and with practised hands she prepared a very tasty lunch, which smelt good not only to the poor but even to the fastidious. It was fine to see how the elegant ladies served the poor and many of the poor were so touched by this compassion that they cried. For ten solden they received good soup, meat and sour cabbage and for 6 solden a bowl of tripe, bread is 1 kronen and crusts, as is the custom, 2 solden.« (Slovenski narod, 10.4.1877) IŠ



Yugoslav Women’s Congress in Bled,

The activity of women in societies was strengthened in the interwar period,. Numerous new societies were founded, many of them included in the international women’s movement. Programme of the Feminist Alliance (J.F.S.) of the Kingdom SHS 1. J.F.S. demands general and equal electoral rights for women for all legislative and autonomous representation, under the same conditions as male citizens of the Kingdom SHS. 2. J.F.S. understands voting rights for women only as a means for the emancipation of women but understands political freedom as the first step to the external and internal emancipation of women. 3. J.F.S. considers that a woman is equal to a man from every point of view. It follows from this that she must be equal with them in public and private life. 4. In order to prepare women for the path to equality with men, J.F.S. demands, in addition to electoral rights, that the following most urgent provisions be introduced into a new civil code: • that the profession of a woman as a mother and housewife is recognised as a productive profession. Because of this, it is necessary to qualify women for this profession with special education and to give women housewives an influence on economic policy; • the economic independence of married women; that the authority of parents over children be recognised, not just that of the father; • that family life is protected in such a way that the existence of mother and children is ensured by the spouse; • a change to the inheritance law to the benefit of married and unmarried women; 5. In order for a wife’s strength to be protected for the physical and mental tasks that only she can execute, J.F.S.


25-27.10.1926. (Ilustrirani Slovenec, 14.11.1926, p. 383)

Demands: • general insurance of a mother; • an absolute ban on night work for women; • equal pay for equal work; • a women’s factory supervisor. 6. in order to enable the proper development of a wife’s spiritual capacities, J.F.S. demands: • the arrangement of education for girls in such a way that they have the opportunity to cultivate and deepen their individual capacities and that the way is opened to them for special female professions; • complete freedom for the advancement of a woman in the profession that she performs. 7. On the basis of strict scientific research and the conclusions thus obtained of the value of the productive work of a woman in society and the state, J.F.S. demands that a woman is given the opportunity to be active, in particular in leading places of social and political fields. J.F.S. explicitly stresses that they must be active in such work which, because of their specific capacities, they do better than men. (...) J.F.S. stresses that it exists not to fight for women to have an exceptional place in society and the state but to enable women to be active in public life in a manner that best corresponds to their capacities and brings the most benefit to the nation as a whole. Its movement declares itself to be eminently a cultural movement.« Text of the programme of the Feminist Alliance of the Kingdom SHS (in the text J.F.S. – Yugoslav Feminist Alliance) which was prepared by Alojzija Štebi. (HAL, LJU 285, General Society of Women, šk. 6) IŠ



Marica Bartol Nadlišek and Zofka Kveder ; Kept by NUl,

Mrs Skrinjar came to my apartment in Sv. Ivan in Trieste in the summer of 1896, a quiet and modest but very conscious Slovene woman, and in a few words told me that it would be good to publish a paper for women in Trieste, as a supplement to Edinosti. She had already discussed this with Dr.Gregorin and the two of them had concluded that I should take over the editorship.” NUL, Ms 704.

Marica Nadlišek, married name Bartol, teacher, first editor of the first Slovene women’s newspaper, Slovenka, which was published in Trieste.

When I went to Ljubljana teacher training college, that was from 1885-1889, women were not yet interested in politics. Women were then expected to be housewives so that political events did not concern them ... I also took up my first placing in Velika Dolina. There I became acquainted with a young merchant, Dolinar. He was a passionate adherent of Marx and his theories. He explained to me the unjust neglect of the working people, how workers are without rights and oppressed. He opened my eyes to a new world – the political world. O what a gentle and righteous spirit is that man who so persistently advocates the rights of the oppressed. And thus it happened that I married him. But too late I realised that his fine words concerned only men. A woman is a creation of a lower order, who must be subordinate and obedient to him. A being without rights, who lives only for his comfort, who must be obedient and subordinate. This cynicism made me think. Why shouldn’t a woman be equal to a man? Why should she not enjoy the same rights as him? I expressed my thoughts in an article for a Vienna paper (...) Why in German? Why not in Slovene, in some other daily paper? Because at that time the atmosphere in Slovenia was such that I was sure no paper would print the article (…) Slovenka had begun to be published in Trieste (...) I wrote a feminist article on equal rights for women for each number, although this


did not please my husband at all. When Marica married Bartol, she laid down the editorship at the demand of her husband.” NUKL Ms 1432, Fond Erne Muser, VIII. 1. 5. 1. Elvira Dolinar, Autobiography.

Elvira Sittig – Danica, married name Dolinar, a teacher who alarmed the public with her articles on the equality of women and free love.

I think that our nation also has the right to know how the flowers of heathens drive the excited imagination or passionate longing for the unusual, the original from the sons and daughters. Yes, also daughters! The daughters of the Slovene nation stand in the ranks of the most modern of the modern and before us lies a book of lines from a woman’s life, entitled: Mysteries of a Woman. Price 1 K. Mrs or Miss, we don’t know which, Zofka Kveder wrote these lines, whose appearance is presented to us on the first page. The modern appearance is already unusual. We are looking a little into the interior of this modern.”

Slovenec, 21. 7. 1900, From responses to publication of the book Misterij žene (Mysteries of a Woman).

Zofka Kveder, a writer who had one of the first lectures, Woman in the Family and Society, at the General Slovene Women’s Society. She expressed her feminist radicalism in her work and even in her external appearance. A portrait of her with short hair is published in the book Misteriji žene (Mysteries of a Woman, 1900), which raised a great deal of dust in public (the first wife of the Social Democrat politician Anton Kristan, Božena Kristan, also had short hair). She then visited her friends in Trieste dressed in trousers. Angela Vode, a key personality of the radical feminist movement in Slovenia between the two wars and author of the first extensive study of the position of women in society. Angela Vode; kept by NUL,

IN THE BLAZE OF PARTY POLITICS Women’s societies, too, did not avoid the heated political atmosphere in Carniola. Although they could not become members of political parties, women wanted to be part of societies, as well as in political agitation.

Women are going to the polling stations for the first time. We should rejoice at such a gain, if this rejoicing was not embittered by the realisation that the clerical majority in the proviincial assembly did not introduce this electoral order because of women themselves but only for the purpose of destroying any cultural movement with the aid of women and, of course, uninformed and imprudent women,...” (Slovenski narod, 21.4.1911, From a speech by Franja Tavčar at an election meeting of the Liberal National Pro-

gressive Party for municipal elections, 23.4.1911 in Ljubljana, at which women also voted)

Society member Marija Klepec stressed: It is a matter of our honour as well as our material circumstances and, from this point of view, workers (of both genders) should be unified. We do not let anyone take our honour and if anyone has such a full tailcoat as to be rolling in money, for which he overcharged a farmer, that with such audacity he attacks us, we also must have the decisiveness to reject him. On no account do we remain in debt! (...) Let every voice tell him that we want better pay for our work, not for fraud, not for idling and drinking, but for honest, hard work! Otherwise, it seems to me eminently because every single worker has to made such a jackass that he supports the ‘nation’Some are taken in, at least sometimes, and thus breed vipers in their own breast, and others without any hesitation are taken in by such people who are ‘of the Nation’ and thus also indirectly help the ‘Nation’. That is stupidity. We’ve been familiar with this sheet for a long time. This year was not the first


time that it has attacked us. It has already shamelessly collided with us several times …” From a speech by a member of the trade society of Tobačna

Leadership of the Slovene Christian

tovarna in Ljubljana at the society’s general meeting 5.3.1904. (Slovenec, 21.3.1904)

tury. In the front row, first from right

Response of the Liberal Slovenski narod to the speech by Marija Klepec:

The Amazons were said to be like tigers and Catholic (female) cigar smokers to be as wild as hyenas. This was visible on the 5th of this month when Marija Klepetec [Klepec] stepped onto the speaking platform, which was perhaps decorated with tobacco and other exotic plants, the honour and pride of all (female) Catholic cigar smokers and the right hand of Dr. Janez Evangelist Krek. Marija Klepetec, commonly known as ,verdrus-kosten’, was festively dressed. Around her neck she had the ribbon of the Virgin Mary on which all sorts of sacred things were attached. Since, in other words, M. Klepetec has abandoned her corporal, she has already dressed for full pilgrimage. She has become such a devout women that three times a week she delivers herself to the rope of St Francis. And the hag is evil, so evil that she marries seven hyenas. She pounced on the liberal ‘tailcoats’ in general and especially Dr. Tavčar and ‘Slovenski Narod’ and barked at them so much that the clock on Šenklavški tower stopped, so that two waitresses were confused and the oldest of all the Ljubljana carriage horses was frightened. Marija Klepetec, vulgarly Verdruskosten wants to have more pay. The Liberal tailcoats have horses and dogs and swallow hectolitres of expensive brandy and wine, liberal women have velvet and silk, silver and gold for adornment – Marija Klepetec would also like to drink precious brandy and wine (not just spirits), and would like to dress in velvet and silk and be adorned with silver and gold. She would at least have some corporal then, since she did not divorce from a domestic pigsty in order to live in Ljubljana like the wife of a tradesman. Other friends of Dr. Krek were of the same opinion as Mirija Klepetec. They agreed with Marija Klepetec with great enthusiasm, they shouted so that they already wanted to call the fire brigade for help, and kicked and stamped so that the whole of Turjaški trg shook. (…) Dr. Janezu Krek’s cheeks burned.«

(Slovenski narod, 24.3.1904)


Social Alliance at the turn of the cento left sits Marija Klepec, member of the trade society of Tobačne tovarne in Ljubljana and later president of the Catholic Female Workers Society, second from right to left sits Marija Krivec, first president of the Catholic Female Workers Society. (Ilustrirani Slovenec, 25.4.1926)

DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE Women got the vote very variously in different parts of Europe; in Carniola, at first only (female) tax payers could vote. National Assembly in Vienna

Carniolan Provincial Assembly

Municipal elections (Ljubljana)

1908 – general curiae introduced, only men can vote

1911 – female taxpayers and teachers and all men can vote

1873 – only autonomous Austrian male taxpayers can vote

1896 – Urban and rural landowners (including holders of certain representative positions) and 5 curiae added to Trade and Craft Curiae, in which all male citizens over 24 years old had the right to vote. 1906 – curiae ended, citizens can elect delegates to the national assembly directly

From 1884, women voted in these curia through an authorisation. Authorised persons were usually the spouse or relatives. In 1895 they represented 27%, and in 1912 they represented 18.4% of the curia. IŠ


ACTIVITIES FOR THE POLITICAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN The numerous women’s societies in Slovenia already organised a range of activities for the political rights of women before the First World War. Slovene women in Trieste and Idrija also joined the first celebration of International Women’s Day in the AustroHungarian Monarchy, on 8.3.1911. The women’s movement also had support in individual political parties. Women’s suffrage was not realised in the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia (1918–1941), either. They could not vote on either municipal or national levels. Women’s societies from all the Slovene political camps demanded electoral rights for women. General and equal suffrage for women were first realised in Slovenia within the framework of the national liberation movement in 1942 and this was then part of the electoral system after the Second World War. Resolution for the electoral rights of women to the Provincial Government for Slovenia in 1919. (HiAL, LJU 285, General Slovene Women’s Society, šk. 1)

After the First World War, Catholic, Liberal and Marxist camps in Slovenia demanded women’s suffrage and they were also joined by women’s societies. Calls for protest meetings for general suffrage for women, addressed to the Provincial Government for Slovenia, February 1920 SI AS 68, Kraljevska banska uprava Dravske banovine, Upravni oddelek, f. 7–3, 1920 .

Calls to protest meetings for general suffrage for women, addressed to the Provincial Government for Slovenia, February 1920. Prior to the adoption of the Decree on electoral rights for municipal elections in Slovenia of 15.5.1920, which was issued by the Government of the Kingdom SHS (at that time, only the Slovene Liberal Party (SLS) was in it from Slovenia), the Catholic camp increasingly demanded general suffrage for women. SLS was afraid that under the plans of the Liberal camp, only women who paid taxes (for at least a year) or were landowners or those who were employed or had completed at least eight years of primary school would get electoral rights. When only the Liber-


Call to celebrate the first 8 March in Ljubljana. Kept by ARS, SI AS 16, Deželno predsedstvo za Kranjsko, Index of shelf 1911, record 908.

als of the Slovenes entered the Belgrade government, electoral rights for women for the municipal elections in Slovenia were annulled by a new decree. The first real general electoral rights for women were thus cancelled even before the municipal elections in Slovenia in the spring of 1921. Poster for participation at a meeting for women’s suffrage in 1939 in Ljubljana (NUL Ms 1432, Fond Erne Muser, m. 153.) The poster for participation at a meeting for women’s suffrage called for a public meeting at the end of 1939 for achieving electoral rights for women, at the time of preparation of a new decree on the election of delegates to the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The later decree of the Yugoslav government on the election of delegates to the National Assembly, issued in the middle of February 1940, did not introduce women’s suffrage. Despite the fact that women did not gain electoral rights throughout the inter-war period, political parties advocated them at elections and tried to educate women politically. Brochure: Does a woman really not have the right to be involved in politics? Brochure with which the Catholic side turned to »Christian womanhood« before the elections to the Constitutive Assembly of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Sloves (SHS), 28.11.1920. The brochure argued: »Is it not your duty before God and before the nation to help to victory the party that will enter the National Assembly by deciding on laws on Christian principles? (...) Tell your neighbours, acquaintances, friends, anywhere that your word carries any weight. (...) We are called to defend Christianity and to do our duty here. Persuade everyone to vote for the Slovene People’s Party«. Franc Zabret: Does a woman really not have the right to be involved in politics? ‘’Krek’s Instruction’’, 1920, p. 22.

Womken and girls! (Jutro, 6.11.1931) Appeal by the regime-oriented Liberal Party to Slovene women to persuade men to take part in the elections to the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 8.11.1931. Participation at elections at that time meant that the regime of the dictator, King Aleksander I. Karađorđević, introduced on 6.1.1929, could adopt a constitutional and parliamentary character from a political point of view.

Women, you are twice enslaved. As a wife and as a worker. The capitalists are not giving you the vote. It is therefore your responsibility to give your voice instead to men who will condemn this government.” From the text of a poster for the Communist Party of Yugoslavia for Slovenia before the elections to the Constitutive Assembly of the Kingdom SHS, 28.11.1920 (Viri za zgodovino Komunistične stranke na Slovenskem v letih 1919–1921 (Sources for the history of the Communist Party in Slovenia 1919-1921). Ljubljana: Partizanska knjiga, 1980, p. 196.

In the inter-war period, women also worked in women’s sections of parties. A uniformed women’s section even operated within the Organisation of Yugoslav Nationalists (Orjuna) in


the inter-war period, led by Meta Šlajpah (wife of the Orjuna member France Šlajpah, who lost his life on 1.6.1924 in Trbovlje in fighting with the Communists).

Orjuna gains good agitator material in the persons of injudicious women, young and old. And these women members of Orjuna are courageous. It seems to them modern to talk of revolutions, bombs, daggers. In recent days, a considerable number of female members of the Orjuna movement can be observed in Ljubljana market and whispering with well-known Ljubljana loquacity. And they also know how to threaten. But at a suitable time and circumstance, she often comes across with a dignified answer with (...) instructions and reminders of all that belongs to the profession of woman, mother and wife. And certainly the female members of Orjuna work to the honour of the ‘nation’ and their own reputation, at least if we remember the ‘animation’ with of the Tivoli ‘drunkenness’.” Opinion on female members of Orjuna in a Slovene political newspaper. (Slovenec, 3. 7. 1924)

The decision-making of women on political questions in the Kingdom SHS/Yugoslavia is replaced by other methods of working. The most important was within the framework of the Society for Improving Social Conditions. This society became an increasingly professional organisation in the period between the wars, which managed a number of important social and educational institutions. Minka Gašperlin provided the initiative for founding a children’s home. She was one of the most active public workers from the inter-war period, the treasurer of the General Slovene Women’s Society. She first obtained co-operators for realising her project in the Circle of Yugoslav Sisters and these drew other societies into cooperation. The members of the various women’s societies collected sufficient funds in 1927-1930 for the purchase of a building in Kraljevica on the Croatian coast, where there was a children’s summer colony. Women, wake up! HAL, LJU 285, General Sosiety of Women, šk. 8

Women’s societies protested in relation to numerous questions, among which against the spread of Serbian law of inheritance to Slovenia. The poster, Women, wake up! was made in 1925 by Angela Vode and she almost lost her job because of the content. The activities of women in Slovenia at that time can be placed within the European framework of the feminist movement. Although during the period of existence of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, women’s societies in Slovenia operated within the context of the moderate Austrian women’s movement, during the time and on the territory of the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia, they became an example for resolving many women’s questions. IŠ


WOMEN’S NEWSPAPERS IN SLOVENIA 1897-1945 Slovenka (1897), Slovenska gospodinja (1905), Slovenska žena (1912), Ženski list (1913), Slovenka (1919), Koroška zora (1920), Jadranka (1921), Slovenka (1922) Vigred (1923), Ženski svet (1923), Ženski list (1924), Babiški vestnik (1929), Zarja: The Dawn (1929), Žena in dom (1930), Gospodinjska pomočnica (1931), Gospodinja (1932), Praktična gospodinja (1934), Glasovi kongregacij šolskih sester v Mariboru (1935), Kmečka žena (1937), women’s supplement to Mladina (1937), Deset (1938), Žena (1938), Luč v temi (1939), Naša žena (1941), Naša žena (1942); cyclostyled press: Našim ženam (1942), Naša žena: primorska izdaja (1943), Naša žena: gorenjska izdaja (1943), Slovenka: glasilo svobodnih slovenskih žena, Slovenkam pod Karavankami (1943), Borbena Slovenka (1944), Slovenka: gazette of the Slovene Anti-fascist Alliance, zazette of the Missionary Alliance of Teachers (1945) Summarised from: Žensko časopisje na Slovenkem (Women’s newspapers in Slovenia). Ljubljana: NUK ; 1997, p. 39–47. MTP

WOMEN’S ORGANISATIONS IN THE WORLD AND IN SLOVENIA, 1887 - 1945 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Družba sv. Cirila in Metoda (Society of St. Cyril and Methodius (1887) in Trieste Mednarodna ženska zveza (International Council of Women) (1888); founded on the initiative of English and American women Katoliško društvo za delavke (Catholic Workers’ Society) (1894) Društvo slovenskih učiteljic (Society of Slovene Women Teachers) (1898), in 1931 transformed into Dom učiteljic (Women Teachers’ Centre) Splošno (slovensko) žensko društvo (General (Slovene) Women’s Society (1901) Krščanska ženska zveza (Christian Women’s Association) (1901) Krščanska socijalno ženska zveza (Christian Social Women’s Association (1901) Mednarodna aliansa za žensko volilno pravico (International Alliance for Women’s Suffrage) (1904) Mednarodna katoliška ženska zveza (International Alliance of Catholic Women (1910)/ slovenska Krščanska ženska zveza (Alliance of Slovene Christian Women) Internacionalna liga žena za mir in svobodo (International League of Women for Peace and Freedom) (1914) Mednarodna zveza akademsko izobraženih žen (International Association of University Women) (1919) Narodna ženska zveza Kraljevine SHS (National Women’s Alliance of the Kingdom SHS) (1919) Klub Primork (Club of Primorskan Women) (1920) Kolo jugoslovanskih sester (Ring of Yugoslav Sisters) (1921) Feministična aliansa Kraljevine SHS, kasneje Aliansa ženskih pokretov in nato Ženski pokret (Feminist Alliance of the Kingdom SHS, later the Alliance of Women’s Movements and then the Women’s Movement) (1923) Mala ženska antanta (Small Women’s Entente) (1923) Zveza delavnih žen in deklet (Association of Working Women and Girls) (1924) Sekcija Jugoslovanske ženske zveze za Dravsko banovino (Section of the Yugoslav Feminist Alliance for the Drava Banovina (1928) Jugoslovanska ženska zveza (Yugoslav Women’s Alliance) (1929) Zveza akademsko izobraženih žen (Association of University Women) (1931) Mednarodna ženska zveza proti vojni in fašizmu (International Women’s Alliance against War and Fascism) (1935)

(Summarised from Nataša Budna Kodrič: Žensko gibanje na Slovenskem do 2. svetovne vojne (The feminist movement in Slovenia to WW2), in: Splošno žensko društvo 1901-1945 (General Society of Women 101-1945). Ljubljana: ARS, 2003, p. 22-26)




Pavlina Pajk; kept by NUL,

PAVLINA PAJK (1854–1901)*, first lady of Slovene women’s novel and stories After the early death of her parents, Pavlina Pajk was brought up by her uncle, the mayor of Solkan, with whom she got to know members of the Slovene intelligentsia. She was involved in the life of the Solkan reading room and began to publish poems. At the age of twenty-two, she married the widow, Janko Pajk, an older professor of Slovene, and moved to Maribor. Because the parents of Pajk’s first wife were offended by the hasty marriage, the couple were placed in straitened circumstances. For two decades, Pavlina and Janko Pajk then lived in Graz, Brno and Vienna, During this time, Pavlina wrote in the Celovec/Klagenfurt Kres, Slovenska večernica, Koledar Mohorjeve družbe, Dom in svet, Matica slovenska and the liberal Ljubljanski zvon, the central Slovene literary magazine. She created a great deal and her work was so popular that the publisher Hribar decided to publish her selected essays, which were brought out in two volumes, in 1893 and 1895. Her prose was created under the influence of German family tales and was the subject of sharp negative criticism from the naturalists. Her opponents were most enraged by her entry into Ljubljanski zvon. She had the best understanding, though, with the editor of the Catholic Dom in Svet, Frančišek Lampe. Very few men could match the literary creativity of Pavlina Pajk. She wrote a collection of poetry, six novels, eight short stories and eight tales. She also wrote aphorisms and, in 1877, was also the first in Slovenia to write about women’s questions: she was very committed to education and employment for women. Pavlina Pajk was too fruitful and contributed too large an opus for it to be dismissed with polite thanks for her feminist commitment. She was serious competition to the male literary monopoly. She also examined her own choice of genre, since she undertook a women’s novel, for which no place was envisaged



Summarised from Miran Hladnik: Pavlina Pajk, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 65–68.

in the national system of genre. In an exemplary manner, she thus extended the Slovene field of literature and introduced a new historical pattern – a female main character. MTP


Summarised from Suzana Tratnik: Alojzija Štebi, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja

ALOJZIJA ŠTEBI (1883–1956)*, polititical worker,

na Slovenskem. Ljubljana (Forgotten Half: portraits

publicist, editor, fighter for an improved position of women of 19th and 20th cenin society and the family and advocate of the rights of chiltury women in Slovenia): dren and young people Alojzija Štebi was the driving force Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, of the Slovene and Yugoslav feminist movement. She was a p. 193–196. woman of strong character, since for a long time she worked in political circles of only men. Because of difficulties that she had with the authorities because of her political activities and socialist convictions, in 1912 she resigned from the profession of teacher. She joined the Yugoslav Social Democratic Party (JSDS) and was employed in the editorial offices of the socialist daily paper, Zarja, editing it from 1914. She also took part in the art salon of the Kessler family, in which young artists, including Cankar, gathered. She formed a friendship of many years with Cankar. A postcard has been preserved in which he dedicated to her the sonnet, Ten Years. Cankar also portrayed her as the character of the socialist teache, Lojzka, in the play Hlapci (The Serfs). In 1913, she began to publish and edit the (female) workers’ monthly, Ženski list (Women’s Paper), and in 1917 became editor of the JSDS paper, Naprej (Onwards) and president of the publishing cooperative, Slovenska socijalna matica. A year later, she began to edit the monthly Demokracija, which was published by the »youth« in JSDS. When a dispute occurred in 1919 between the left and right, she resigned from it and devoted herself to other questions. At the end of 1918, she was employed in the commission for social welfare of the National Government SHS in Ljubljana. In the mid-twenties, she was officer for the protection of children and young people in the large Ljubljana mayoral office. She was one of the main initiators of the founding of the Children’s and Maternity Home and lectured a great deal on the protection of children and young people. Alojzija Štebi strove constantly in the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia for women to be treated as equal citizens. She saw feminism as a form of political, social and cultural activity for achieving the ideals of socialism and humanism. She actively cooperated in two of the largest Yugoslav women’s organisation, the National Women’s Alliance SHS and the Feminist Alliance of the Kingdom SHS. The latter, for which she also wrote the programme, was founded on her initiative in 1923 in Ljubljana. At her initiative, three years later in Ljubljana, the organisation, the Women’s Movement, was founded with the aim of uniting all Slovene women in a common programme for the cultural improvement of women of the widest social strata and in the struggle for civil rights. In 1926, Alojzija became president of the Alliance of Women’s Movements in Yugoslavia (the former Feminist Alliance), which was committed to resolving the women’s question by peaceful means, and for general women’s suffrage. She was also active in the international women’s movement. She represented Yugoslav women at the Xth International Congress for Women’s Suffrage in 1923 in Rome and at the Congress of the International Women’s Alliance in Washington in 1925. In 1927, Alojzija was appointed an official of the Central Hygiene Institute in Belgrade, where for some time she was also administrator of the shelter for women at moral risk. From 19331940, she was assistant secretary at the Ministry of Social Policy and National Health, and then retired. She was again employed after the Second World War and, until 1950, was officer for partisan orphans and then apprenticeship matters at the Ministry of Social Policy. MTP


IVANKA ANŽIČ KLEMENČIČ (1876-1960)*, first professional female journalist, narrator, author of contributions on women’s questions, fighter for the rights of the employed Ivanka Anžič Klemenčič significantly helped shape the feminist space in Slovenia at the turn of the 20th century. She began writing for the Trieste women’s publication, Slovenka, in 1899 and edited it from 1900 to 1903, when it ceased publication. During this time, Slovenka changed into a real women’s paper aimed at preparing women for the future and informing and educating them. In line with these aspirations, the paper was committed to the rights of women workers, officials, teachers and other employed women. The inner circle of collaborators of Slovenka included the main creators of the Slovene modern, Ivan Cankar and Oton Zupančič. Ivanka, who based emancipated woman on her essence – motherhood and her marital role – showed in her contributions the gulf between the social ideas of women and their actual position and role. Slovenka, within this framework, drew attention to the modern opinions on women’s right to freedom, on the double morality and advocated the abolition of celibate teachers and the legalisation of prostitution. Because of her decisive and very often sharp approach, the paper was in dispute with various political newspapers and in opposition to all the political parties. In 1908, Ivanka was employed in the editorial offices of the Catholic Slovenec and moved with her husband to Ljubljana. Here for a short time she again devoted herself to publication of a women’s newspaper, which was also this time ** Summarised from Nina called Slovenka. The paper had a similar content to the Trieste Vodopivec: Ivanka Anžič Slovenka, a novelty was the demand for the political rights of Klemenčič, in: Pozabljena women. At the same time, she continued working in the edipolovica : portreti žensk torial offices of Slovenec and cooperated in the papers Ženski 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovsvet and Socialna misel. She also published contributions on the enskem (Forgotten half: women’s question and its aims and the women’s movement in portraits of women in the Yugoslavia, in Korrespondenzblatt für den Katolischen Klerus in 19th and 20th centuries Österreich and the Berlin paper, Die Frau. She later devoted herin Slovenia). Ljubljana: self to analysis of literature and pictorial art. She withdrew from Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, public life after the Second World War. MTP p. 88-92. ZOFKA KVEDER (1878–1926)*, the first independent female writer (I. Cankar) and pioneer of women's emancipation Zofka Kveder is among the most important Slovene women. When she left her parents because of difficult family relations, she was employed in 1897 in Ljubljana in the law office of Dr. Ivan Šušteršič and, at the same time, started to create original literary works. She began to publish in the first magazine for women, Slovenka, in which she later published a large number of articles on the problem of the subordination of women, the position of female workers and possibilities of study. In 1899 she moved to Trieste, where she was employed for a short time in the editorial offices of Edinost and Slovenka. In the same year, as one of the first female Slovenes to study abroad, she enrolled in the University in Bern. Because she could not survive from her literary work, she left university, moved from Switzerland to Munich and from there to Prague, where her fiancée, the Croatian poet Vladimir Jelovšek, was studying medicine. In Prague, she wrote her literary original Misterij žene (Mystery of a Woman, 1900). It upset the Slovene cultural public, who had difficulty accepting a book with such audacious images from a woman's life. In the German speaking area, readers of the magazine Dukumente der Frauen and the workers' newspaper Arbeiter Wille got to know some lines from the book and in Switzerland they were printed by the magazine Schweizerisches Familien-Wochenblatt. Through her original literary works and articles, Zofka Kveder became one of the central actors of the


Slovene feminist movement. She had a wide network of contacts with women from various countries of Central and Southeast Europe. The committee members of the General Slovene Women's Society justifiably chose her as lecturer on the founding evening of the society in September 1901 in Ljubljana. In 1906, she moved with her husband to Zagreb, where she edited the supplement to Frauenzeitung, at Agramer Tagblatt. After being divorced, she married the journalist Juraj Demetrović, later Social Democratic Minister in the Yugoslav government. She wrote her first novel in 1914. The novel presents in a complex way various images of womanhood. During the world war, she also wrote her most important novel, Hanka. In 1917, she began to publish the magazine, Ženski svijet (Women's World), in which she also published articles on the feminist movement in other Slavic nations. After the war, fate undermined her health and she lived for a number of years in health spas. In the period before the Second World War, the peak of interest in her work occurred with the publication of Izbranega dela Zofke Kveder (Selected Works of Zofka Zveder) (1938–1940) and, after the war, the centenary of her birth (1978) was publicly celebrated. It was above all stressed that, as a journalist, she contributed to the history of the Yugoslav workers' movement. MTP


Summarised from Katja Mihurko Poniž: Zofka Kveder, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half; portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 154–157.

MARICA NADLIŠEK, BARTOL (1867–1940)*, editor of Slovenka, the first Slovene women’s paper, teacher, writer, journalist and translator Marica Nadlišek, married name Bartol, first expressed her commitment to the active participation of women in the national sphere in 1888, in the Trieste paper, Edinost. A year earlier, she had been one of the founders of a women’s branch of the Trieste Society of St Cyril and Methodius. In articles that she published in the Trieste Edinost, Slovanski svet and then in Slovenka, she encouraged women to all-round national commitment and taking a more active role in national cultural activity. At the same time, she was also active in the literary field. She entered Slovene literature in 1889, when she published her first story in Ljubljanski zvon. Her first novel, Fatamorgana, was also published in it in 1898. Marica’s literary mentor in the years 1889–1890 was Janko Kersnik; she later characterised their correspondence as »the happiest time of my life«. Her prose creativity achieved a peak in the period 1894–1900, when she came close to a Slovene variant of naturalism. She was also the first to introduce a psychologically profound crime theme into Slovene prose. Marica Nadlišek stepped to the fore in the Slovene public in the mid-nineties, when, in a polemic with Anton Mahnič, she took sharp issue with his opposition to the creation of women’s societies and women making public appearances. As one of the most active Slovene journalists and established writers, the editorial board of the Trieste Edinost in 1896 offered her the post of editor of Slovenka, which began publication in 1897. Under her editorship, this became a place of lively female discussion and information about feminist matters.



Summarised from Marta Verginella: Marica Nadlišek, por. Bartol, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 93–97.

In publishing women’s themes, Marica Nadlišek was an advocate of a middle way; she was not in favour of women’s demands being politically too radical women’s. As the editor of Slovenka, she maintained contact with Simon Gregorčič, Fran Govekar and Ivan Trink. After her marriage, she abandoned her former profession of teacher, resigned as editor of Slovenka (1900) and devoted herself to motherhood. In 1911, because of her family obligations, she also abandoned writing. In 1919, she moved from Trieste to Ljubljana and, at the beginning of the twenties, again became active publicly. She was one of the founders of Kola Jugoslovanskih sester (1921), cooperated with Ženski svet and was its responsible editor from 1931–1934. Because of illness, she withdrew from public life for the last two years of her life. MTP

WOMEN ARTISTS The first Slovene art exhibition in Mestni dom in Ljubljana laid the foundations of Slovene modern art. The pivotal artistic event also signified the start of the continuous exhibiting of women artists. At the exhibition, which opened on 15 September 1900, Ivana Kobilca, Avgusta st. Šantel, Henrika Šantel, Jessie Vesel and Mary Wrede exhibited their work. The exhibition was prepared by the Slovene Art Society, as was also the 2nd Slovene Art Exhibition in Narodni dom in 1902. In addition to the painters Luiza van Raders Jama, Roza Klein Sternen, Ivana Kobilca and Melita Rojic, Elza Kastl also exhibited, who showed full size statues, in addition to pictures. BS

IVANA KOBILCA had already organised the first independent exhibition of pictures in the premises of the secondary modern school on Vegova ulica in Ljubljana, between 15 and 22 December 1889. Indisputably one of the most important events in the history of asserting Slovene women, it was at the same time a key event in Slovene art history; until that time, no Slovene artist had held an independent exhibition. BS


1st Slovene Art Exhibition, 15.9 – 15.10.1900, Large auditorium, Town Hall, Ljubljana. Kept by NUL, Anonymous (1900). Dom in svet, year 13, no. 23. URN:NBN:SI:DOC-4PToMDLJ from

Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926), painter; kept by NUK;


WOMEN IN WAR 1914-1918

Kranj ladies trading with Italian

The 1914-1918 war left an indelible trace among the civilian population, since mobilisation drew in all available economic and human forces, in addition to men of military age. Countless families were left without fathers, sons and husbands who had been called up. The fields were left uncultivated or field work was taken over entirely by women and children, together with prisoners of war and older members of families. In the wartime conditions, because of the lack of a male labour force, women increasingly took over numerous new social roles. On 14 August 1914, before the mass of soldiers had experienced their baptism of fire in Galicia, two soldiers unfortunately shot Countess Lucy Christalnigg, by Srpenica by the River Sava, when she was on a charitable journey from Gorica, driving her car with material for Red Cross and did not stop at their command. The initial enthusiasm for war subsided when the first transports of wounded arrived at the railway station and filled the military hospitals, and later also schools and other public buildings, throughout the monarchy. There was a constant shortage of doctors and nurses. Many Slovene women attended nursing courses. In the difficult conditions and shortages, together with the Sisters of Charity of the Society of St. Vincent they helped the wounded during operations, rehabilitation and hospital care. Proclamations appeared in the streets inviting people to charitable events for collecting contributions and raw materials for aid to prisoners, soldiers, refugees and the children and families of fallen soldiers. Refugees from the east, at that time called the »northern front«, soon arrived in the interior of the monarchy. Representatives of pre-war charitable and women’s societies were among the first volunteers who tried to alleviate the intolerable wartime conditions. When the Kingdom of Italy attacked Austro-Hungary, in May 1915 fighting began on the western edge of Slovene territory, along the River Soča. Approximately 80,000 Slovene refugees from Primorska, the majority women, old people and children, went to relatives and refugee camps in the interior of the monarchy: Gmund, Brück beside the Litva, Wagna by Lipnica, Strnišče by Ptuj. Many educational courses


prisoners, Kranj 1917. Kept by the NMCH.

were held in the refugee camps, conducted by representatives of women’s societies. Despite the good organisation of the refugee camps and the care of voluntary societies for refugees, numerous diseases and a high mortality of children spread amongst them. The majority of work for preserving normal life remained on the shoulders of the mothers. Preserved testimony shows that many women were involved in a variety of heavy work, which additionally exhausted them. Alice Schalek, with her war reports from the Soča valley and Gorica, became the best-known Austro-Hungarian female war reporter. Her reports and the fact that the profession of war reporter was not entirely normal for her sex, drew attention and through her work she considerably extended the boundary of women’s emancipation in the monarchy. Under the conditions of war, for entirely other reasons, this spread with unimaginable speed. In Ljubljana, they marvelled at female »conductors« on the trams and railways, dressed in trousers. The sight of women and girls working machinery seemed similarly unusual to many contemporaries. The hospitals and streets of the cities were full of invalids returned from the fronts. There were many blind soldiers among them. Thanks to the teacher, Minka Skaberne, a Slovene library in Braille was started for the blind and poorly sighted. At the first session of the newly revived Vienna parliament, Slovenes, together with other Yugoslav delegates, in the May Declaration of 1917 demanded autonomy and reform of the state. Collecting signatures in their support grew into a mass movement for the Declaration. Representatives of women’s organisations, such as Franja Tavčar, Cilka Krek, Minka Govekar and others, had a decisive role in the organisation of the movement and collecting signatures of support, which was one of the most important mass manifestations in Slovenia. Their letters of public support, which above all expressed the wish for peace and reform of state organisations, made an important contribution to the peaceful mobilisation of the population and the later creation of a new state, which replaced the fallen monarchy. MŠ


Literature: Encyclopedia of Slovenia, Forgotten Half: Portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia, Ljubljana, 2007.

MARIJA MAISTER (1885–1938)*, fighter for women’s equality, primarily voting rights, founder of social health institutions for children and single mothers. Marija Maister was educated at the public school in Rijeka and then completed the three year College for Girls in Ljubljana. She had a very good education for girls of that time and her syllabus devoted major attention to learning foreign languages. She had very good mastery of German and, above all, French. With her knowledge of foreign languages, she assisted her husband, General Rudolf Maister, when he negotiated with the Entente delegates, acting as interpreter during the negotiations. Marija Maister made the clearest mark in her social, cultural and patriotic activity as the founder and president of the Maribor Slovene Women’s Society. The society already began functioning in 1918, when Maribor was not yet Yugoslav. Social work took place in three areas: national defence, social and cultural. Members of the society devoted special concern in the national defence field to primary schools in border areas, which they strongly supported financially. The society also performed an important mission in the social sphere. The members founded day shelters for children, arranged holidays and collected money for the Queen Marija Holiday Home in Šmartno on Pohorje, as well as in Bakarac on the coast. In addition, Marija Maister committed members of the society who were the wives of industrialists and politicians, as


Marija Maister. Kept by the ULM.

well as private businesswomen, to providing work and material support for single mothers when this was needed. The society used collected contributions to provided scholarships for female students – one of the well-known ones was the later heroine, Slava Klavora. Members of the society were very active in the struggle for women’s suffrage. The society’s president, Marija Maister, visited Minister Dr. Miha Krek and the Ban of the Drava Banovina, Dr. Marko Natlačen, in connection with this question. Together with the committee for the Congress of the League of Nations in 1936 in Geneva, she prepared a lecture on equal rights for men and women. In the same year, the Maribor Slovene Women’s Society founded a feminist section and invited young female intellectuals to cooperate. It also supported the economic independence of women and organised an exhibition Women in Small Industry, during Maribor Week. In addition to all this, Marija also worked in the French Club and at the Adult Education Institute in Maribor. The French government awarded her the Palme academique and Mouchan d´Isticar for her excellent leadership of the French Club. The most important sphere of Marija Maister’s public activity remained leading the Women’s Society; her penetration, perseverance and power of persuasion decisively contributed to its success. OH, MTP

ANGELA BOŠKIN (1885-1977)*, the first nurse and social worker in Slovenia and Yugoslavia. Angela Boškin devoted her life to the struggle to improve the health and social position of the population, especially mothers and children. She began her career in Vienna, where she enrolled as a nursing student in 1912. She did her practical training in the world famous Wertheim Clinic and, after completing her training, she became an assistant to the senior gynaecologist, Dr. Wagner. In 1917, she was appointed head nurse in a reserve military hospital and, a year later, completed the school for social and health work in Vienna. She did not at first obtain a suitable post in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slo-



Summarised from Majda Šlajmer Japelj: Marija Maister, in: Pozabljena polovica: portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of women of the 19th and 20th century in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 212–215.

venes (SHS) but, after the mediation of Alojzjia Štebi in 1919, she started work in the workers’ centre in Jesenice, as the first social welfare nurse in the Kingdom SHS. She devoted herself to educating mothers on hygiene conditions during birth and the care of babies and young children. At her initiative, an Advisory Centre for Mothers and Babies was founded in Jesenice. The foundations of social and healthcare work of home care nursing in Slovenia were laid. In 1922, she continued her work in Ljubljana, where she participated in the founding of the Institute of the Social Hygiene Protection of Girls. From 1923-1926, she lectured in home nursing services at the institute’s school for nurses and was then transferred to the advisory centre for mothers and children in Trbovlje. She remained there until 1939, when she was called to the Hygiene Institute in Ljubljana and entrusted with the leadership of travelling hygiene exhibitions. In the same year, though, she was transferred to Škofja Loka, where she worked in the health centre caring for mothers and children and in the anti-tuberculosis service, until her retirement in 1944. MTP

MINKA SKABERNE (1882-1965)* She was born on 10 January 1882 in Kranj, completed studies at the Ljubljana teacher training college and was employed as a teacher in Ljubljana. She completed a course in Vienna for teaching the blind even before the war. The war itself brought the problem of blindness and teaching the blind to the fore, since the wounded soldiers included many who had been blinded in the fighting. At the start of the war, she worked in the society, Dobrodelnost, and became acquainted in Graz with the work of the institute for the blind there, in which many Slovene soldiers were also nursed. Minka Skaberne discovered her life mission and began lecturing and creating a Slovene library for the blind in Braille. She realised her idea with volunteers who, under her leadership, transcribed Slovene literary works and laid the foundations of a Slovene library for the blind. The Slovene Institute for the Blind was founded in 22 November 1918, which could also take care of blind Slovene soldiers after the end of the war. She continued her work until her death in July 1965 in Ljubljana. MŠ



Summarised from Irena Rožman: Angela Boškin, in: Pozabljena polo-vica: portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (The Forgotten Half: portraits of women in the 19th and 20th centuries in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 202–206.

SLOVENE TEACHERS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO CULTURAL, NATIONAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Were not the majority of »national ladies« teachers? Nurturing children and their education was considered to be one of the »natural« professions for women, training as teachers one of the first possibilities of women for higher education. Considerably before being »Miss Teacher«, women were »Sisters« and »Mothers«: nuns were also among the first teachers here. From the start of the 18th century, there were prominent and influential »honourable ladies« among the Ursuline nuns, including teachers and headmistresses of schools. From the 19th century, several monastic communities operated, which, as “educational sisters” had girls’ education as their mission. There were also a significant number of private female teachers. To become a teacher! This profession was more widely accessible after 1870, with teacher training colleges for women, which thus enabled equal secondary education to all teaching staff. Teacher training college became very popular education for girls from middle class families and teaching also a profession of choice. Although some of them also left the teaching profession (e.g., after marriage) a few years after matriculating as teachers, education at teacher training college brought them knowledge and thus also the necessary self-confidence for public activity. Teachers who came from teacher training colleges from the mid-seventies of the 19th century were slowly but steadily included in teaching as a formerly explicitly male profession. Despite the fact that by the end of the 19th century, half (and in some places even more) of the teaching staff were already female, the leading positions remained firmly in men’s hands. The mass employment of women in an intellectual profession, although teaching only paved the way to an equal position among the educated, also encouraged the women’s movement. Precisely teachers significantly shaped it. Just as pluralism of ideas applied among the intelligentsia, with teachers, too, there were significantly different conceptual orientations: the Catholic religious point of view competed with Liberalism and also the Social Democratic standpoint. Concep-


Forming new classes and schools was connected with the work of numerous teachers, Form 3 at the school in Radvanje, with the teacher, R. Ledinegg, 1917. Photograph from the school archive, publ. in Šolska kronika 2007, no. 2, p. 258.

tual differences were joined by political ones. There was less extremism among teachers in opposing different thinking. When Slovene women teachers combined into their own association in 1898, the causes were not conceptual differences but male chauvinism. It was a matter of money and gender equality. Through a decision that marriage generally signified voluntary resignation from a job, the state also regulated the private lives of its officials, including teachers. In the Austrian period, the normal image of a teacher was a single woman who was primarily dedicated to professional work for the young and the nation. Although the marriage of a teacher no longer meant resignation from a job after 1918 – even previously, there were differences among individual provinces – the Yugoslav state also tried to save some money with similar restrictions of the rights of female teachers. Both on the Liberal and on the Catholic side, there were hesitations about the entry of women into public life. Although men liked to have them as (subordinate) workers in national, cultural and religious activities, they did not want them as equal collaborators. With entry into public life, the teaching profession marked a minor recognition in the wider circle. A female teacher was known by her pupils, perhaps it also gave a (good) message in the neighbouring parish, but those who were involved in literary and cultural work became better known. It was actually no better with male teachers, since we actually know only poets and writers among them. Female teachers in teaching posts throughout Slovene lands essentially contributed to bringing culture to the Slovenes. In schools, together with encouraging state (Austrian, provincial, then Yugoslav) orientations and Slovene national awareness, they significantly contributed to general literacy and extending knowledge, a culture of health and a culture of behaviour and dress. Female teachers also brought to schools more friendliness, a woman’s (maternal) feeling for children. The establishment of a ban on corporal punishment and the feminisation of the teaching profession took place simultaneously. Female teachers distinguished themselves in women’s education and girls’ upbringing in general, especially teaching in the early school years. Their work in demanding teaching in special schools was also important (for the blind, deaf and less talented). The cooperation of female teachers in the work of national and cultural societies, in the professional and pedagogic press, as well as in literary creativity and a broad range of charitable activities, was interwoven with the strivings of women for equality.

When it is simply not possible to get a good schoolmaster in some community, one could perhaps then find a willing woman – let her without concern teach – even women can be good teachers for primary schools in rural areas. Since women also have clever heads and better know how to talk in dealings with children than men. Except in this, there is no sorcery teaching in primary schools, such that women could not be trained in it. Experience also shows us that women often teach more than men and that more young men are corrupted under the cane of schoolmasters than girls from the compassion of schoolmistresses. ... But if ... I recommend a schoolmistress for rural schools, this is only perforce and due to the lack of good masters to recommend because I know well that a schoolmistress cannot be compared with a good schoolmaster.” L.P.(Lovro Pintar), Svetovanje. Po kterim bi se zamoglo več ljudskih

ali malih šol po deželi napraviti (Advice by which we could have more primary schools in rural areas). Kmetijske in rokodelske novice, 1845, p. 48.


Girls’ Ursuline (grammar) school in Ljubljana. All who were present in experiences of this excellent girls’ grammar and technical school, cannot over-praise its good success and marvel at the hard work and diligence of the schoolmistresses, who with their cordial instruction brighten the minds and ennoble the hearts of the young ladies of Ljubljana. It is also well known to all in the city that the hearts of a pupil and teacher are bound by love, such as we would wish in all our classrooms. From this derives the excellent success of this school and the confidence that the whole city has in it. ... . In addition to the normal subjects, the grammar school also teaches: women’s handiwork, our own and the French language, geography, drawing, natural history, singing and music on the piano. A fine range of useful and soothing matters! … It is evident from this we have not exalted too highly the hard work and diligence of the honourable schoolmistresses. Glory to them! What national spirit is in this classroom is already shown by the spelling of the Slovene surnames of the appointed classifications, that we set for the example in future years for our elementary schools. It is a pity that we cannot also give such thanks within the Ursuline school ...” Dekliška glavna šola pri Uršulinkah v Ljubljani (Ursuline grammar school in

Ljubljana), Kmetijske in rokodelske novice, 1865, no. 31, p. 24.

Why is so little said about the pay of schoolmistresses, and if it is spoken of, only the percentages are mentioned, why are women teachers behind men in this? Consider! Are women teachers not trained for bringing up the young, or do they have less to do, or are they incapable of this? // To the first I answer that the teaching of schoolmistresses is the same as that of masters. It is also no easier for them. They have just as much to do with school teaching; probably as much again because of handiwork, so that they are left with no time. Some pedagogues do not willingly allow women teachers to teach the young. Why not? Experience shows that schoolmistresses. not just in our land but also elsewhere, have taught many young women well.” Marija Jäckel: Iz Idrije. (Plača ljudskih učiteljic.) (From Idrija. (Pay of primary

schoolmistresses). Učiteljski tovariš 1872, p. 205

The very useful fruit of the new time is classes for women’s handiwork. Their purpose is this: to teach and train girls in all work that a woman performs in life in a house: in addition, it also teaches them in all the virtues that will be a pride of a woman. Since women’s handicraft is very important, it is even more necessary to each girl, normally more essential than any other subject at primary school.” Ana Stumpfi: Poduk o ženskih ročnih delih za učiteljice, učiteljske pripravnice in gospodinje (Advice on women’s

handiwork for schoolmistresses, trainee teachers and housewives). In Trieste, 1877, p. 3.

At a girls’ school, schoolmistresses must train girls and qualify them in the necessary qualities that adorn a future housewife. These are: love of the mother tongue, love of order, cleanliness, thrift, diligence and piousness.”

Ana Pour: Črtice iz dekliške šole (Lines from a girls’ school). Učiteljski tovariš 1890, p. 196.

To a careful teacher the meaning and significance of the upbringing of girls is important, which

differs in many respects from that of boys; with them proper judgment should always have priority over memory. Their lessons should, if possible, be even more precise, more thorough, in order to prevent the opposite character: superficiality and frivolity. Regular instruction exercises perseverance.” Janja Miklavčič: Kaj zahteva sedanja doba od učitelja glede vzgoje oziroma šolske discipline? (What does the present age require of teachers in relation to upbringing or school discipline?) Učiteljski tovariš 1891, p. 33.

Female teachers claim that, in terms of their capacity and with regard to the existing education act, they should have the same right to leading positions as male teachers. Male teachers are not of this opinion, on the grounds that female teachers by their very nature are not capable of leading positions. We will not today go into the causes for and against. It is clear that male teachers are deprived when a female teacher obtains a leading position and it is also clear that females teachers are worse off if they are overlooked in the giving of leading positions. The interests of male and female teachers in such circumstances are very different and it would be very difficult to find some modus vivendi on this question.” O jednakopravnosti učiteljev in učiteljic (On the equality of male and female teachers), Učiteljski tovariš, 16.

6. 1896, p. 217.

Why are Slovene female teachers founding their own society? A strange question! Because they need it! The present time is a time of unification, a time of organisation, Each profession


that wants to represent its own interests is uniting, organising – and which does not have such? The profession of primary school (female) teacher is not and for long will not be such that it does not need support – and where should it find it if not in a society of fellow sufferers?” Vita Zupančič: Zakaj si slovenske učiteljice ustanove svoje društvo? (Why are Slovene female teachers founding their own society?) Popotnik 1898, p. 152.

Anyone who wants to work in public must above all gain respect and reputation. A teacher will achieve these two by first gaining the heart of the young school persons, then by conscientiously fulfilling her professional responsibilities, with truthfulness and impartiality, with exemplary behaviour and a character of steel. But if we remain in the schoolroom, between four walls, where nobody sees us, neither will anyone respect us. If we want to be the nation’s nurturers we must also be among the nation; so our slogan will be: »Whenever possible, out of school among the nation!” Mira Regali, O socialnem delovanju učiteljice (On the social activity of teachers), Slovenski učitelj, 15. 9. 1907, p. 144.

What tasks has a (female) teacher’s activities outside the school? She has many tasks. … A teacher encourages the common activity of parents and teaching staff in upbringing. … To nurture within the nation respect for schools and teaching staff. … to work to raise education and economic progress among the people. Comrades, let us set about the organisation of our womanhood. ... teachers also work outside the Society of Mary! ... We teach our girls a practical life ... We have a clear aim before us: the wellbeing and happiness of our nation. To achieve it is the task of our life.” Mira Regali, O socialnem delovanju učiteljice (On the social activity of (female) teachers), Slovenski učitelj, 15.9.1907, p. 143-146.

On leaving school, girls should be prepared for their profession. The main profession of girls – independent housekeeping – is the most neglected. It is considered an incidental matter. So human society is worsened also from a moral and not just a religious point of view. A schoolmistress should be more closely attached to the girls – when they take their leave from daily school, she should be a real second mother in upbringing. She should continue educational work outside school.” Gdčna učiteljica Vider, Izobraževalno delovanje

učiteljice izven šole (Miss Teacher Vider, the educational activity of a teacher outside school), Slovenski učitelj, 15. 9. 1908, p. 193.

The explanation that a married (female) teacher must neglect school or both does not hold true, or at least not completely. On the contrary, it is true that from a general human pint of view, we must leave to a person, and that means also a female teacher, as much freedom as possible in their activity or in their not being active, because this is already embraced by the free will that was given by God and which raises mankind over all other beings. A (female) teacher also has the right to life, to a quiet family corner where, in the circle of her dear ones, she rests after strenuous work, just like her male colleague. Since never and nowhere did she make a vow of celibacy. She may not then lose the fruit of all her many years of study and torture, even if she, too, by chance remembers that she is human.” Tržačanka, Celibat učiteljic (A Triestine, Celebate Schoolmistresses). Učiteljski tovariš 4. 2.1910, no. 5, p. 1.


Fine, important, strenuous you are, the profession of teacher! You demand the whole heart and also the whole mind if we want to perform you conscientiously and worthily. You are fine; since in you we have contact with the most beautiful thing that the world offers: with the unadulterated, innocent spirits of our youth. ... In you blossoms happiness, which is closest to motherhood, that which in a certain sense it even surpasses. Among professions for women, which are still multiplying in the present time, there is no profession to which women have such a natural right as to you.” Marica pl.

Kleinmayr, Kaj zahteva sedanja doba od slovenske učiteljice (What does the present era require from a Slovene (female) teacher), Slovenski učitelj, 15.2.1912, p. 25.

A schoolmistress, who is distinguished by great unselfishness, who expressed these sincere words: ... We get pay like that of male teachers, who have greater care for their family and are barely victorious in their life struggles. And we single teachers? My colleague X in a neighbouring village walks in silk among the tattered farmers, hat at a tilt, and is even grateful for the high price! Another colleague boasts in society: Dear me, I don’t really need to work at school any more, since I have so much money I don’t know what to do with it. – Such matters then go from village to village and do us incalculable harm. …. Bridka Resnica (Bitter truth).” Učiteljski tovariš, 7.1.1920, no. 1, p. 13.

How should our schoolmistresses dress? Minister of Education Vukičević issued order O.N. no.

31,084 of 28 July 1925 by which he orders that female teachers must dress in the streets and especially in school in a dignified dress, which corresponds to their position and profession. The minister bases his decree on the grounds that teachers had until now skirts to the knee, arms bare to the shoulder and a low neckline that does not correspond either to beauty or to the circumstances in which they live.” Učiteljski tovariš, 19.9.1925, p. 6.

The second paragraph of one of these circulars reads: »Teachers shall not be fashionable ladies, with shorn hair, painted cheeks, luxurious and fashionable clothes and glittering jewellery, all of which turns on it the attention of the street and gives cause for suitable and unsuitable remarks and degrades the dignity and importance in particular of the upbringing side of her profession …” Obleka

učiteljic v šoli in izven nje (Dress of female teachers in and out of school), Slovenski učitelj, 15.7.1926, p. 127.

So one of the crucial tasks of the Society of (Female) Teachers is to educate teachers into being conscious and independent members of their profession and thus also their professional organisation, so that they will once really share decision-making as full actors not just as numbers in voting.// And as a second existential right, the society of teachers sees wise and in depth work for raising our women culturally. A woman in today’s society is such an important part of the national vanguard that educated women must place themselves among it as one of their most important tasks, to raise its cultural and ethical level ... we are above all a women’s cultural society with a very important role, to spread culture among the womanhood of the nation.” Angela Vode, Smoter društva učiteljic in njegovo stališče naprem skupni stanovski organizaciji UJU (The significance of the Society of Women Teachers and its standpoint towards thea common professional association UJU), Učiteljski tovariš, 12.6.1930, p. 1.

it is necessary to point out the great injustices to which women teachers have been subjected, to point out the inequality that divides them from male teachers, with whom by education and by work they are entirely the same. A married female teacher lost the right to full inflation allowance and allowance for rent and heating and the Damocletian sword of the amendment to Article 93 of the Primary Schools Act, by which partial celibacy was enacted, hangs over single female teachers. ... Both these questions do not signify merely inequality but also the slighting of female teachers and encroach deeply into the development of the question of teaching mothers. ... The difference was enough and it should already be the time to accede to enforcing the slogan of equal pay for equal work and removing all differences in the rights of male and female teachers..” Za enakopravnost učiteljic (For the equality of female teachers), Učiteljski tovariš, 17.2.1938, p. 1.


TEACHERS – ACTIVISTS FOR WOMEN RIGHTS MINKA GOVEKAR (1874-1950)*, teacher, translator, journalist and activist for women’s rights Minka Govekar was one of the most important personalities of the feminist movement in Slovenia. She was present in it from its beginnings at the turn of the 20th century to the end of the movement after the Second World War. She was a co-founder of the first Slovene women’s society the General Slovene Women’s Society (1901) and its secretary for 27 years. During the war, she was subject to political persecution because of the democratic activities of the society in the political sphere. In her work for guaranteeing women’s rights, she advocated social justice, the alliance of all, both men and women, and sisterhood as the basis of the feminist movement. She talked about the modernisation of maternity because she was convinced that uneducated women who do not step beyond the threshold of being housewives, threaten the cultural development of the nation, since they stick to traditional values that do not allow change and thus progress, which is important precisely for women. In 1924, she led one of the largest campaigns for a hospital for women and a maternity hospital in Ljubljana and in 1926 edited the book Slovenska žena (Slovene Woman), which is one of the most important sources for understanding the feminist movement in Slovenia. She also cooperated in the international feminist movement. In addition, she was active as a translator, journalist and editor. She wrote in leading liberal newspapers, edited the monthly Slovenska gospodinja (Slovene Housewife) and a supplement to the magazine Ženski svet (Women’s World). She translated more than 50 dramatic texts and comedies for Ljubljana Drama, mainly from Russian, Polish, German, Croatian and Serbian. Before her death, she regretted the disbandment of women’s societies in 1945 and the lack of interest in the feminist movement before the Second World War. MTP

ANGELA VODE (1892–1985)*, teacher, defectologist, activist for women’s rights, publicist, author of the first books on the position of women and the first to write about prisoners in socialist prisonsAfter completing her matriculation, Angela Vode taught from 1912 in villages in the surroundings of Ljubljana. In 1917, she joined the campaign for collecting signatures for the May Declaration, which was led and carried out by women. She was a very much employed, extremely committed woman of her period, who never married or had children and was never even really domestic and or interested in housekeeping. She joined the Communist movement as early as 1922. She began writing during the inter-war period and published a great many different articles, although right from 1921, when she trained in defectology, she was regularly employed in schools for children with special needs. She also had the courage to publish books; her studies “Women in Contemporary Society” (1934), “Gender and Destiny” (1938 and 1939) and “Fascism and the Woman” belong among important milestones in the development of Slovene social thinking. Throughout the entire period of the first Yugoslavia, she performed a variety



Summarised from Vesna Leskošek:



ekar, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 134–138.

of functions, including that of president, in societies that were worthy of her special interest – in the General Ladies Society, the Women’s Alliance, the Society of Teachers, the Alliance of Working Women and Girls. She did not have a very prominent role in the illegal Communist Party; she was excluded from the Party because of her opposition to the Hitler – Stalin Pact (1939). She cooperated with the Communists, although reluctantly, in the formation of the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation (OF) in 1941, when the committee members of the General Women’s Society decided that they could not offer a better person than her for the plenary meeting of the OF. Because of her critical views of the political aims and behaviour of the Communists in the liberation movement, she soon withdrew from the leadership of the OF. She was primarily involved in charitable activities for internees, mainly collecting packages in which the basic essentials were sent to internees. Among her explicitly non-charitable resistance activities was the organisation of a letter of protest to Mussolini, under which there were 2,000 signatures; this protest was in May and June 1942 because of the shooting of hostages. Communist activists seized the letter and it never reached its destination. She was arrested by the Germans in 1944. She was sent to Ravensbrück, the main German concentration camp for women. She was released at the end of the summer 1944 through the mediation of contacts of her friend, Evgenija Rak. Her experience of the concentration camp severely shook her physically and mentally. After the war, because of her critical views about the new social and political practice, she was sentenced in 1947 to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour and thereafter to five years removal of citizen’s rights. She was imprisoned until 1953. She later described the terrible time that she experienced in the Central Prison of the State Security Administration, the court prison in Ljubljana and the women’s penitentiaries in Begunje and Rajhenburg/Brestanica. She also described the persecution with which she was confronted after release from prison, when she had no possibility of employment, was denied health and social insurance, deprived of her service years, without the right to social assistance, even without the right to


Meeting of teachers of an auxiliary school 1936. Kept by the SSM.


Summarised from Alenka Puhar: Angela Vode, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of women of the 19th and 20th century in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 275–279.

buy a typewriter; she expended a great deal of energy, time and money for the right to be given a typewriter. When she regained citizen rights in 1958, she was employed for two years as secretary in a trade school, in order to obtain sufficient service years and a modest pension. As a pensioner, she wrote her memoirs and hid her text. These memoirs were published in 2004 under the title Skriti spomin (Hidden Memory). MTP

ELVIRA DOLINAR (1870–1961)*, teacher, publicist and one of the first feminist authors, who with her writing increased opportunities for women’s public activity Elvira Dolinar expressed for formed and determined opinions from 1897, when she began to publish the first women’s magazine, Slovenka. She used the meaningful pseudonym, Danica. She raised the question of the gender order and demanded equality at a time when patriarchy was still abundantly supported by laws. Her husband to a large extent shared her views and was known for his consistent liberal views. Elvira Dolinar – Danica did not see men and women as two poles in complete antagonism that only together create a whole but understood them as two wholes with equal capacities and abilities, between which there is no hierarchy. She drew attention to the deliberate obstruction of middle class women in seeking jobs that offer advantages, are creative and sufficiently well-paid to enable an adequate existence. She wrote about women scientists, doctors and educated women who, in addition to their professions, also had a family and thus showed that education and a profession do not destroy women but enrich them. She devoted particular attention to the double morality in demands on women. She pointed out that they had to pay taxes but could not vote; they had to work in factories but could not work in intellectual professions; they could be seamstresses but not tailors; they received only 80% of the pay of men for their work, although many supported a family. They could only survive within marriage but the price of this was subordination and submission and suppression of their own wishes and desires. She also stressed as an important question the need for the socialisation of boys and girls for the construction of gender roles. The ideas of Elvira Dolinar – Danica were too radical for many women and so they publically distanced themselves from and attacked them so that they would not be identified with them. She was also sharply attacked by the Catholic Slovenec and the Liberal Slovenski narod. Only Zofka Kveder experienced so much angry opposition as Danica. In the thirties, Danica began slowly to withdraw from public life. Ideas of equality and gender emancipation, which do not limit either maternity or housekeeping, nor the role of a woman in marriage, were thus also less in the public eye. MTP



Summarised from Vesna Leskošek: Elvira Dolinar, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 120–124.

PAVLA HOČEVAR (1889–1972)*, teacher, journalist


and feminist. Pavla Hočevar already began to be interested in public life when at the higher girls’ school in Ljubljana; Zofka Kveder had a great influence on her. She also read Omladino (Youth) and Rdeči prapor (Red Flag) and thus became familiar with questions of the workers’ movement. In 1907, she took part at a Sokol meeting of the Pan-Slavic Congress in Prague, which gave her a wider view of the emancipation movement and so-called »unhistoric nations«. She also began to publish unsigned articles in the social democratic press. In 1908, she started work as a teacher, first in Notranjska and Kočevje and from 1910 in Trieste, where she remained until 1929. There she became an active member of the women’s branch of the Society of St Cyril and Methodius, the pedagogic section of the Society of Teachers and the Workers’ Educational Society but her work with the St. Nicholas Institute, a shelter for unemployed maids, was most valuable. She was secretary of the institute, she cooperated in everyday tasks, helped the girls with advice, by writing requests for support, mediating with the police, obtaining various documents for them, teaching them and arranging workbooks for them. Her cooperation with the Women’s Charity Association, which opposed the Fascist undermining of the Slovene national, cultural and economic identity, was also important. She was a founding member of the Association and editor of its journal, Ženski svet (Women’s World). She edited it from 1923 to 1936 (from 1929 in Ljubljana, to where she moved when the Italian authorities banned schools with the Slovene language and Ženski svet was also closed down). She gave birth to a daughter, Vida, in Trieste and decided on the role of single parent, since she felt that this would be more a support than a hindrance in her life. In Ljubljana, she continued work in the feminist movement. She was a committeewoman of the General Women’s Society, she worked in the Feminist Movement, the Alliance of Home Assistants and the Yugoslav Feminist Alliance and was also a member of the Yugoslav Teachers’ Association, Sokol, the Society of St. Cyril and Methodius, Branibor, the Red Cross, the Adriatic Guard and the pedagogic section of the Society of Friends of the Soviet Union. She cooperating in the International Women’s Movement from the start of the thirties. As a member of the Yugoslav delegation, she participated in the International Congress of Women in Vienna (1930), cooperated in the international congresses in Dubrovnik (1936) and Edinburg (1938) and contributed several articles for the journal of the International Feminist Alliance, Bulletin, on the Yugoslav feminist press. At the time of the occupation in 1941, the Slovene section of the Yugoslav Feminist Alliance (JŽZ) joined the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation (OF). Because of different political views in the OF, JŽZ was expelled from the OF at the end of the year, on the grounds that they only wanted a monopoly over women in the OF. She was arrested after the war in 1947 and included in the Nagodet process. She was sentenced to 14 years in prison but was conditionally released in 1952. The judgment was only annulled in 1991. Before her death, Pavla wrote her memoirs Pot se vije (The Path Winds), which was published in Trieste in 1969. MTP


Summarised from Metka Gombač: Pavla Hočevar, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 229–233.

EXHIBITIONS Setting up exhibitions was only one of the many fields of public activity for women, but it is a field to which the professional public has devoted little attention, despite the fact that it was one of the indicators of equality and the development of women’s equality in Slovenia from the start. Exhibitions played both an educational and political, economic, national, cultural and artistic roles and were not just an aim in themselves, to which the crowds of visitors to such exhibitions also testify.

“ “

Quietly but thus with greater zeal and seriousness, our womanhood, organised in the General Women’s Society, arranges events that are intended to document the cultural awareness and maturity of women” (Slovenski narod, 22 May 1937; Week of Slovene Women’s Books). The purpose of the exhibition: to reawaken among women a love of craftwork from our national wares, to provide schools with an initiative for a deeper and broader elaboration of national motifs, to create a new image of women’s national cottage crafts and thus alleviate, at least a little, the poverty of many women or families. These products will certainly be a great feast for the eyes of foreigners who come and will come to Slovenia” (documentation of the General Women’s Society; Review of Slavic

national women’s products at Ljubljana Fair 1939).

To draw attention to cultural values that women create is undoubtedly the responsibility of a women’s society, of which the main aspiration is not just to show the complete equality of women’s intellectual and handiwork with men’s work but also to struggle for the equality of women in all aspects” (Slovenski narod, 22 May 1937; Week of Slovene Women’s Books).

“ “

Understand that we can only exhibit genuinely good things; since women are exposed to particularly harsh critics” (letter from the General Women’s Society to the Society of Slovene Teachers in

Maribor, 1926; exhibition Slovene Woman).

It is desirable that no Ljubljana woman misses it – since, quite frankly, it deserves to be a surprise even to men. The exhibition is thus really necessary for the world of women, whether it is of practical value in today’s time, is another question” (Jutro, 20 May 1934; Exhibition of Women’s Handiwork

through History).

The arrangement of the exhibition is in general satisfactory, especially some sections but it would have been even better if the organisers had received suitable support for this purpose. Such a large exhibition cannot be better arranged merely by sacrifice” (Slovenski narod, 7 June 1939; Exhibi-

tion of Slavic National Women’s Products).

So let this exhibition show what has been preserved from the past with faithful love and devotion and what a diligent woman’s hand has created in the present. The purpose of the exhibition is to nurture in our women a taste for the really beautiful and to accustom them to this, so that they will know how to distinguish in any work the genuine from the false, the carefully and artistically made from the superficial and careless” (Slovenski narod, 22 May 1930; exhibition »Faithful Heart and Diligent Hands«).

To the very distinguished General Women’s Society in Ljubljana!! /.../ It is our pleasure to congratulate you sincerely on the excellent success of the exhibition and to thank you for cooperation. To our congratulations we join the wish that we will have further opportunities at fairs to see such a fine and important exhibition for our cottage crafts, which most eloquently testifies to the ability,


diligence and good taste of our womanhood. Please accept the expression of our thanks and assurance of our most excellent respect”

Exhibition organised and set up by

(letter from the presidency of the International Sample Fair in Ljubljana, 8 October 1936: exhibition

285, General Slovene Societies.

Domestic Rugs).

The first Slovene women’s exhibition showed that Slovene woman was and is highly cultured in her heart and aspirations. In her is developed what Goethe called »eternal womanhood , which rises and ennobles mankind ” (from Ženski svet, 15 June 1926; exhibition Slovene Woman).

After the bitter disappointment that we have experienced in the sphere of Slovene politics, we feel that we Slavs must rely on each other as never before, that we revive once again pan-Slavic reciprocity. Slovene women believe that a joint exhibition of Slavic national products could contribute a lot to closer links and cooperation among the individual Slavic nations. Let them not be joined only by literature, music, dance, art ... we can also be permanently joined by embroidery, national craftwork, which is the most lively expression of national thought and feeling” (documentation of the General Women’s Society; Review of Slavic National Women’s Products at Ljubljana Fair 1939).

It is certain that national costume also raises national awareness. National costume is thus a mirror from which is reflected our national consciousness” (letter from the General Women’s Society to Ljubljana Fair, 25 July 1927; exhibition and competition of national costumes).

Because this day is devoted to a manifestation of national costumes, it is the responsibility of each Slovene, woman and man, personally to participate in this event and it would be a national sin if anyone left even a single item of these treasures at home, shut in a chest or cupboard, and thus reduced the fame and magnificence of the manifestation” (documentation of the General Women’s Society: exhibition and competition of national costumes 1927).

Commentary to the photography from the exhibition, Slovene Woman: This seemed an important opportunity to look back on their work. They were aware that »great perseverance, dili-


Slovene women. Kept by HAL, LJU

gence and a warm love of the creations, as well as a spark of inspiration and cooperation with every single women’s society in Slovenia is necessary« (documentation of the General Women’s Society; exhibition, Slovene Woman 1926). MG, UP The General Ladies Society has an exhibition in Jakopič Pavilion of sundry craftwork, made by the diligent hands of our women and girls. The exhibition is simple but nevertheless arranged with great taste and does honour to all the ladies of this society who have cooperated in the exhibition; Mrs Lindtner, in particular, is distinguished, who lead all the work of the exhibition and collected so much beautiful, interesting material. On the left of the entrance stands a loom, with the start of work on a Persian rug. By means of such looms, anyone, women and also men, can make a rug according to Persian patterns, which will survive and give several generations pleasure and pride. Along the walls and on the floors are spread already completed Persian rugs: Samarkand, Beluchistan, Daghestan, Bahara etc., which have been made on looms, and also knotted by hand, all according to Near Eastern motifs. Particularly fine rugs have been made with embroidered chalices. Handmade rugs from Dalmatia and Bela krajina are also executed very beautifully. In addition to the rugs, a great variety of embroidery is exhibited, made according to domestic patterns, as well as Chinese. The white embroidery sent by the members of the women’s society from Maribor is especially beautiful, in particular the rugs that are connected with national motifs (Prof. Sič collection) on cheese silk. Ženski svet has also exhibited very lovely products of white and coloured embroidery. The small Gobelin tapestries of various stitches and needlepoint work are also finely made. Various stitchwork laces of domestic and foreign origin are exhibited under glass on two rows of tables. Among the domestic specimens, those from Dalmatia and krkonoške should be mentioned and, among foreign ones, those from Venice


and Brussels. The »church lace« and Brabantine lace are famous. Brabantine laces are made from such thin thread that the naked eye cannot distinguish one from another. There is also a whole variety of lace that cannot be mentioned individually because there is insufficient space. Works in various other techniques are also represented: bobbinlace, knitting, crochet, filet, friolite point lace, Toledo lace, Richelieu lace, etc. The technique of batik can also be seen in various, very successful works. The abundance of various things, a variety of works in all kinds of techniques, which have been sent by the Ljubljana Ursuline convent and Monsignor Tomo Zupan are also very fine. The items in knotwork and knotwork tassels are also excellent. The exemplary explanation of how to wash and dry lace so that it does not stretch or tear will also be of great use to the prudent housewife. The start of printing decorations on leather must also be seen by those who enjoy this fine technique. Ženski svet has also exhibited shades, frames and an ornamented screen, with the decorations chased in copper. The exhibition thus provides the most varied work and it is to be hoped that it will be seen by as many citizens as possible.

Letter about the exhibition (21.3.1934): Your Worship! The General Ladies Society is arranging in Ljubljana, from the middle of May to the end of June 1934, an Exhibition of Craftwork for the decoration of churches, apartments and clothing, with particular regard to the styles of various periods. It wants to exhibit mainly embroidery, laces and, as far as possible, also other items, such as furniture, pictures, candlesticks, clocks, glass and porcelain dishes etc., in short, everything that is particularly characteristic of individual styles and periods. The exhibition will not perhaps be of very great extent but it will be serious, interesting and will have a completely scientific character. The undersigned committee is turning to you with the cordial request that you deign to contribute to this certainly very important exhibition, either with objects from your treasury or with good advice or in any other way through your cooperation. Any kind of embroidery (national or civil), of older periods, coloured or white, on canvas, silk or velvet, as well as Gobelin, woven


Exhibition organised and set up by Slovene women. Kept by HAL, LJU 285, General Slovene Societies.

or embroidered, and old lace of all techniques and periods, would be welcome. For the moment, deign only to inform us as soon as possible whether you are prepared to help, what of value you perhaps have available and the possibilities of delivery and other historical particularities of each individual item. There are still many hidden treasures, national or imported from elsewhere and domesticated here; it would certainly be a worthy task to collect these treasures and show them to the citizenry in the form of a professionally composed exhibition. The exhibition will be held in museum premises under the supervision of professionals, so that the objects will be completely safe from damage or theft. Showcases are also available. We kindly ask you to help us honourably to perform this task. � JH



University of Ljubljana.

Education in the 19th and at the start of the 20th century was not in favour of women. The system at this time limited women’s educational rights above all in secondary schools and colleges, and universities. By 1919, 12 Slovene women had completed university studies. There were most female professors among them. Those who had obtained sufficient pedagogic capability through many years of successful activity in the educational field were also awarded the title of professor by permission of the ministry and Ljubljana city hall. The first university educated Slovene woman, who graduated in 1906 from the Faculty of Arts in Graz, was Marija Wirgler (1879–1974). In 1907 and 1908, the physicians Eleonora Jenko Groyer and Klara Kukovec also completed their studies. Ángela Piskernik, the first female Slovene doctor of science and modern scientist, completed her doctorate in biological sciences in 1914 at Vienna University. Women could only study law when the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana began functioning. Until 1929, when the Attorneys Act brought the first major changes, the basic legal professions were not available to women. Until then, they could only be court assistants and administrators of penal institutions. In the academic field, too, room for women was only opened gradually, with a great deal of hesitation and persistence in the old traditional shackles of understanding the individual and society. In the field of culture and art planning, this dragged on until 1945, when the Academy of Fine Arts was founded. MTP

Kept by the NMCH.



Summarised from: Aleksandra Serše: Profesorice. Zdravnice. Jelka Melik: Pravnice na Slovenskem (Professor. Physician. Jelka Melik: Lawyers in Slovenia). In: Splošno žensko društvo (General Women’s Societies) 1901–1945. Ljubljana : ARS, 2003, p. 231, 238-240, 256-257.



lik: Eleonora Jenko Groyer, in: Pozabljena polovica :


portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem

first Slovene female physician Eleonora Jenko Groyer completed the study of medicine in 1907 at the Medical Faculty for Women in Peterburg. After graduating, she worked for two years in Bohemia and then in Voloski near Opatija and in 1915 she was employed as a physician in Ljubljana, with a practice that also covered the surroundings. During her medical practice, she wrote a great deal for Ženski svet, since she wanted to educate women especially in those fields in which great harm was done because of lack of knowledge. Her contributions included advice for children in the period of development, already in 1931 she stressed the need for sex education and she wrote a great deal about the skin, the part of the body that is most visible and thus receives the greatest care. She stressed the need for health education in order for women to be better able to cope with infirmity in old age, which at that time was a common accompaniment of aged women overburdened with work. She also wrote about vitamins in food and the illnesses and nutrition of children in the development period. Despite the great advances that medicine and pharmacology has made in the last fifty years, the majority of her contributions have not become outdated even today. From them shine fervour and indefatigability, courage and a determination to fight against ignorance, poverty and the suffering of people whom she met in her professional and private life. MTP

ALMA SODNIK (1896–1965)*, the first female philosopher scientist in Slovenia Alma Sodnik provided the foundation and standard of research into the history of philosophy in Slovenia. As a girl, she obtained an exceptional education for her time, completing her schooling at a classical gymnasium. She was educated as a private pupil, since it was not at that time normally possible for girls to attend such schools. After the founding of the University of Ljubljana (1919), she enrolled in the same year in the Faculty of Arts in studies of philosophy (as main subject), professional pedagogy and Slavic philology. After defending her doctoral thesis (1923), she continued work as an auxiliary assistant at philosophy seminars at the Ljubljana University, which she had actually already been performing as a student. In 1933, she became a private assistant professor for the history of philosophy, a position she held right up until 1946. This meant a series of unpaid pedagogic obligations, so that she had to struggle through life with her husband’s pension. From 1946-1951, she was an associate professor and then until her retirement (1959), full professor. From 1952–1953, she was dean of the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana and was probably the first woman in Yugoslavia to achieve such a position. She completed her studies in Rome, Milan, Vienna and Graz. The history of philosophy was the history of ideas or the development of philosophical systems. From the history of 62

Summarised from Živa Me-

(Forgotten half: portraits of women in the 19th and 20th centuries in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 162–166.



Summarised from Bojan Žalec: Alma Sodnik, in: Portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of women of the 19th and 20th century in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 313–317.

Slovene philosophy, she studied the works of the scholastics, humanists, the enlightenment and the proto-mathematicians (Hvale, Erber, Karpe, Misle) and wrote about the works of her teacher, F. Veber, on Ušeničnik and also problems of the theory of form and Masaryk’s philosophy. She studied the work of the Slovene aesthetics (Stritar, Kersnik, Aškerc, Lajovic, Mladina, Ozvald). She also touched on the women’s question; in 1924 she published a socially committed work on the position of women in contemporary society, “Guidelines for the upbringing of girls”, intended for the wider intellectual public. She believed that the place of women is not just in motherhood and housekeeping. Although she did not advocate the political equality of women, she stressed that they must achieve professional equality. Alma Sodnik was above all a scientist and did not stir the public with her work but, as a scientist, she was a quiet leader with a durable impact. MTP

ÁNGELA PISKERNIK (1886–1967)*, first Slovene female botanist and natural historian Ángela Piskernik, the first Slovene female doctor of science and modern scientist, received her doctorate in biological sciences from Vienna University in 1914. During the time of her university studies, she took part in cultural and educational life in Vienna as a member of the Catholic society, Danica, and also wrote and lectured on the role of women, especially educated women. In 1916, she became trainee and then assistant in the Provincial Museum in Ljubljana. In the spring of 1919, Ángela was actively involved in work connected with the struggle for the northern Slovene border and she lead propaganda activities for Yugoslavia among women of Koroška/Carinthia. She organised the Alliance of Women’s Societies in Koroška (with 56 societies and more than 6,000 members), made public appearances and wrote newspaper articles. She then returned to the study of plant anatomy and physiology and, at the beginning of the twenties, published a modern and applicative paper, Influence of Fluorescent Colours in the Setting of Seeds, at the Viennese Academy of Science. She became a full


Alma Sodnik; kept by NUL,

member of the German Botanical Society in Berlin on this basis. Dr. Ángela Piskernik was president for some time of the central Slovene Christian Woman’s Alliance, she was among the leadership of the physical education organisation Orel and the national defence organisation, Jugoslovanska matica. She also headed the society of academically educated women. After leaving the museum in 1926, she taught in various secondary schools in Ljubljana and Novo mesto and was vice-president of the Club of Koroškan Slovenes in Ljubljana for many years; after the Second World War she was vice-president at Prežihov Voranc. Enthusiastic about popular education and technical achievements, in 1929 she began lecturing on linguistics and natural history on Ljubljana radio and her name as a botanist was confirmed with the publication of a handbook, Ključ za določanje cvetnic in praprotnic (Key for Identifying Flowering plants and Ferns; 1941, 1951). She performed professionally important functions as a botanist after the war. From 1945–1953, she was director of the Natural History Museum in Ljubljana, and then until her retirement in 1963 was the first professional official for nature conservation in Slovenia. Already as director of the museum and then as a nature conservation official, she laid a sound basis for the protection of nature in the period of fast industrialisation of Slovenia. She revived the Julian Alpine Garden in Trenta, helped found Gorska straža (Mountain Guard), contributed to the foundation of Triglav National Park and the conservation of the unspoilt valley of the Soča and the karstic Planinsko polje. It was thanks to her that the journal Varstvo narave (Nature Conservation) was founded. She also achieved a legal ban on the export of songbirds from Yugoslavia. Dr. Ángela Piskernik published dozens of papers and articles on nature conservation, both at home and abroad. She was particularly active in the International Alpine Commission and the International Union for Protection of Nature. As a protector of nature recognised in Europe, in 1967 she received the prestigious international Van Tienhoven Award. In the last years of her life, she cooperated in writing the botanical terminology for Slovar slovenskega knjižnega jezika (Dictionary of Slovene Literary Language). MTP

HELENA GIZELA STUPAN, NÉE TOMINŠEK (1900–1992)*, first doctor of archaeology, university professor, Germanic scholar and author of German literature Helena Gizela Stupan, née Tominšek was one of the best educated girls in Slovenia in her time. In Maribor, where her father, a well-known Slovene educationalist, Slavic scholar and mountaineer, Dr. Josip Tominšek, headmaster of the classical gymnasium, she was the first girl to attend this school alongside the boys. After secondary school, she studied Slavic, Germanic and Romance languages in Graz and also took her doctorate there in archaeology. She also studied and completed further studies at the University of Strasbourg, in Paris at the Sorbonne and at Charles University in Prague. After finishing studies in Graz, she also graduated from Zagreb University in Slovene, German and Czech. She taught from 1919, first



Summarised from Janez Stergar: Ángela Piskernik, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 220–224.

at the girl’s public school in Maribor, from 1927 at the national teacher training college there and, after 1935, at the classical gymnasium. During the Second World War, she and her family were exiled to Serbia and she and her husband found employment in the gymnasium in Knjaževec. She continued teaching at the Maribor classical gymnasium after the war. She was simultaneously the republic inspector for Slovene and foreign languages at vocational schools in the Maribor district and assistant republic inspector for gymnasiums in the same languages and the same district. Her pupils from that time remember a professorial caricature; how she carried a bag with vegetables on her arm, from which also peeked a bust of Ivan Cankar. In 1952 she moved with her husband to Ljubljana, where until 1959 she was the headmistress of the IXth Gymnasium (Vič Gymnasium). She then became a lecturer for German at the Department of Germanic Philology, and from 1960 to 1974 lectured on German literature. She published her most important work at that time, Nemška književnost (German literature, 1968), the first overall presentation of German literature in the Slovene language. She received the decoration of the Order of Work, with silver garland, for her fruitful pedagogic and cultural activities. MTP

LJUBA PRENNER (1906–1977)*, lawyer, writer Ljuba Prenner, after her first years of gymnasium in Ptuj and Celje, in 1927 continued her education at the 1st Female Gymnasium in Belgrade. Here she was befriended by the teacher and poet, Desanka Maksimović, who addressed Ljuba in letters as “my little lad”. After her return to Slovenia (1929), she completed the Municipal Girls School in Ljubljana and started her literary career. She published her first book, a student novel, Trojica (Trinity), but before that had already published in the paper, Jutro, and the magazine, Ženski svet. She wrote several novels and tales in the thirties and in 1939 – for a bet - Neznanega storilca (Unknown perpetrator), the first Slovene crime story. The work was very well received and successful, so that she was accepted in the same year into the Society of Slovene Authors (SSA). At the same time as her literary work, she studied at the Faculty of Law and, after her graduation in 1936, was employed as a probationer in Ljubljana. During the Second World War, she played an active part in the resistance movement and as a lawyer saved Slovene patriots from the occupier’s repressive system. In 1944, because of false applications by which she had achieved the release of internees from Italian concentration camps, she was arrested by the home guard. In the investigatory prison, as a professional colleague, she was saved by a Viennese advocate in Gestapo uniform, since he burned the evidence. Ljuba Prenner was an independent and rebellious person. As a “convinced democrat in thought and socialist in practice by deed” - as she characterised herself – during the war she demanded the erasure of her membership of the Communist Party, in which Vida Tomšič had arbitrarily affiliated her. After the war, she was in disgrace under the new authorities. In September 1945, she took part in a meeting of democratic parties that tried to organise a legal opposition, and she also incurred



Summarised from Anton Janko: Helena Gizela Stupan, née. Tominšek, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 369–372.

the displeasure of the Communists because of her demand for an independent judiciary and she soon became a victim of the Communist regime. In 1947, she was expelled from the SSA because of scornful denotations in the newspapers (“an attorney of the old stamp”) and she resigned from the legal profession; in the same year she was arrested and sent for a month into investigatory imprisonment. She was then employed at the Academy of Sciences and Arts but the State Security Administration sent her to the women’s concentration camp, Verdreng near Kočevje, and later to prison in Škofja Loka castle. After release from prison, only in 1954 did she return to public life. She began to work as a lawyer again and wrote a libretto for the premiere of Slovene Opera, Farewell to Youth. She lived and worked in Slovenj Gradec, where she had spent her childhood and youth. Ljuba Prenner had dressed as a man since her years in the gymnasium, and enjoyed her social life as a man. In private speech and letters, she expressed herself in the male grammatical form and, similarly, the first person narrator of her prose works is male. She practically abandoned writing after the war; her only work from this time, a comedy Gordijski vozel (Gordian knot), was staged in very changed form by Ljubljana Šentjakob Theatre in the 1972/73 season. She was re-accepted into the SSA two years before her death. MTP



Summarised from Suzana Tratnik: Ljuba Prenner, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 436–439.


Title page of the magazine Ilustracija, 1930. Kept by the NMCH.

Fashion was an important motive power for change in the process of modernisation, and was ever more widespread in the Slovene space. Fashion products or goods – clothing, footwear and numerous fashion accessories (hats, gloves, scarfs, jewelry etc.), of which the main characteristic was constant fast change, are among typical consumer products. In the inter-war period, many individuals were involved in their production, distribution and consumption; designers, craftsmen (tailors, seamstresses, cobblers, milliners), industrialists (owners of textile factories, clothing factories), merchants (shopkeepers and bulk retailers), journalists (writers of fashion contributions), editors (fashion pages) and numerous artists (illustrators, painters, photographers, film makers). Through their property, education, values, consumer and working customs and social roles and links, or cultural »capital«, they influenced the importance, form and extent of fashion consumption in the period between the wars. Women greatly stood out among them, since fashion in modern society became a phenomenon that was attributed to the female sex. In the inter-war period, except for rare exceptions, fashion became a constant content of the Slovene press, both women’s and the political, cultural and entertainment press. It was connected almost exclusively with women. Women, as »consumers of fashion« were usually shown in fashionable attire (illustrations, photographs, advertisements). Such an approach, especially in advertising, with industrialisation and mass production was considered modern and was used by the media throughout the world. So women, although in terms of their social position were above all bound to the home, paradoxically became visible representives of public life. The »feminisation of consumption« was most developed in the last decade of the 19th century in the USA. It soon shifted to Europe and thus also to the Slovene space. Women were not just consumers of fashion goods but also cooperated in the process of creation and communicating them


to the public. In the inter-war period, they were owners of clothing factories, shops and fashion salons, editors of fashion magazines or fashion supplements, journalists who wrote fashion contributions, teachers of fashion and artists that visualised fashion. They were also creators of fashion. They cooperated in the process of production (sewing, tailoring, painting, drawing) and distribution (writing contributions, publishing advertisements, consultancy, organising fashion magazines, lecturing) of fashion or fashion products and were in many instances the initiators of new trends. They had various educations and performed a variety of professions. They were educated both at home and abroad, where most had close contacts. Outstanding among them were the editor of the fashion section of the most widely distributed women’s monthly between the wars, Ženski svet, Milka Martelanc, the fashion journalist, artist and designer Nada Souvan, the owner of a fashion salon, author of a range of fashion contributions in the Slovene press and organizer of the first Slovene fashion magazine (1924 in Ljubljana) Marija Šarc, and the owner of a specialized fashion shop for select clients in Ljubljana and one of the most prominent mediators of fashion to the Slovene public, Albina Hity. MG


Evgenija Šumi Hribar.

OTHER SOCIAL IMAGES OF SLOVENE WOMEN EVGENIJA ŠUMI HRIBAR (1875-1936)*, businesswoman Evgenija Šumi Hribar was born on 16 October 1875; her father was France Šumi and mother Josipina, née Avbelj. She went to the Ursuline primary school in Ljubljana and then to a girls school run by nuns in Škofija Loka. In May 1896, she was married to Dragotin Hribar, editor, founder and owner of Slovene newspapers and printing houses. At the turn of the century, they established the »first Carniolan mechanical automatic factory of knitting and weaving«, which they moved from Tržaška cesta to Zaloška cesta in Ljubljana. Equipped with at that time the most up-to-date machinery, the factory soon employed 100 workers. Evgenija Šumi Hribar managed the overall running of the factory and worked from morning to night and thus listened to the singing of the girl employees. Her surname is closely linked with the »Factory of pastries and confectionary products, sale of liquors and distilled drinks in bottles«, which she officially took over on the death of her mother, Josipina, although she had already managed it before then. In the period between the wars, manual production was replaced by machinery and, under her management, production greatly increased. Evgenija Šumi Hribar was an extremely successful and capable businesswoman, who managed two factories and behaved on the principle that the »best medicine for troubles is any kind of work«. Her work, in which she did not forget charity, created a firm basis for Slovene entrepreneurship. She had thirteen children and, after her death on 2 April 1936, her descendants, above all Rado Hribar, continued and extended her work, although social circumstances became ever less inclined to entrepreneurship and the middle classes. MŠ

JULA MOLNAR (1891–1967)*, business woman, who built the best hotel in Bled Jula Molnar, the daughter of Anton Vovek, the initiator of Slovene tourist provision in Bled, with money that she earned in her father’s guesthouse and a high-risk bank loan, in 1919


Privately owned by Angelika Hribar.





Chronicle of Dragotin Hribar and Evgenija Šumi, Ljubljana: Historical Association of Slovenia 2008. Angelika Hribar, Lord of the manor of Štrmol, Rado Hribar, and his family, Kronika no. 2, 2006, p. 213-232.

bought the old, wooden Hotel Luisenbad, where there is a natural warm spring. She renovated the old building, erected an annex in the vicinity, supplemented the baths with cabins and then ambitiously began building a new hotel – giving it the name Toplice. The hotel was completed in 1925; it was the first hotel with its own covered swimming pool (with thermal water) and is still today the best known hotel in Bled, with a distinguished tradition that preserves the memory of many famous personalities who have stayed and many important events. The hotel grew up in the most developed and easily accessible part of the new Yugoslav state. The royal dynasty liked it, which made Suvobor Mansion out of the mansion of Duke Windischgrätz. When King Aleksander I. Karađorđević proclaimed it the summer royal residence, the nearby Hotel Toplice became the seat of the most important politicians, diplomats, nobility and other important people. Jula Molnar was a financial genius, since the debts did not destroy her and the bank did not swallow her. With her natural intelligence and practical experience, she was well up to managing a top hotel. Her servants liked her because she was good, caring and fair to all, so they respected her and remained faithful. She was a visionary; the first golf course was created under her patronage, with a view of Stol, and guests started coming from all over the world. During the Second World War, the German provincial administration occupied the hotel but, nevertheless, abundant packages were wrapped for internees and help sent to the partisans. After the war, the hotel was nationalised, its former owner had to move out and shifted all over Bled for twenty years, in more or less poor rooms and apartments. She survived in her old age by the production and sale of puppets in national costume. She died in Bled, in a house in Zaka, which the then leadership of Hotel Toplice provided for her, since it seemed to her former employees very unfair that their former employer had been left with nothing from her property. MTP

KRISTINA GORIŠEK NOVAKOVIĆ (1906-1996)*, the first Slovene, Yugoslav and woman in general in the Balkans to fly a plane solo. She was born on 15.12.1906, in Stična. Because her home environment was too constricting and too predictable, after completing commercial school in Ljubljana she sought work in the department for international telephone traffic in Belgrade. In 1930, she applied for the civil aviation school, successfully passed the strict health examination before the military commission in Novi Sad and, with her own funds, trained at Belgrade Aeroklub. She first flew solo on 9.11.1932 and received her pilot’s tourist (sports) air certificate on 3.2.1934. In the first half of the 20th century, only two other girls in Yugoslavia succeeded in doing this. Kristina passed her practical flying test in very difficult weather conditions before the military commission in Zemun; the Ministry of the Army at that time awarded her a medal for courage. Kristina then took part in air meetings for a number of years; a great deal of interviews, praise and fame awaited her. She also wrote about the



Summarised from Melita Vovk, Alenka Puhar: Jula Molnar, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 255–258.

sky blue sport. She stressed in Slovenec on 3.3.1939: »Today I stand as a female pilot – on a par with men. There is probably no civilised country in which a woman could not also contribute her work in aviation. She wants to be equal to men. (...) Small successes and records are also today no longer enough. A flight around the world is no longer a problem for her«. In 1936, Kristina moved to Zagreb, where she worked as a telephonist at the airport. There she met the merchant, Novaković, and they were married three years later three years later. After the war, in 1946, she set off for Austria, to where her husband had withdrawn a year earlier. After a while, she and her husband moved to Great Britain. After various more or less heavy jobs on farms, they had saved some money, opened a guest house and she successfully ran it. Kristina died in 1996. Cvetka Klančnik-Belin in 1975 published an article in the magazine Krila, on the woman who was the first here to cross the magic boundary and fly. Kristina Gorišek Novaković did not receive any other kind of recognition in the post-war period. MTP

Kristina Gorišek Novaković, Forgotten Half: Portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia, Ljubljana, 2007.


Summarised from Alenka Puhar: Kristina Gorišek Novaković, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 428–431.

TEREZIJA KALINŠEK – SISTER FELICITA (1865-1937)*, author of the »perennial« Slovene Cook Terezija Kalinšek – After completing the second year of teacher training college with the teaching order of nuns in Maribor, Sister Felicita took over the convent kitchen and, from 1898, was teacher of cooking in the school for housekeeping in Ljubljana. She remained in this post until her death. Hundreds of girls mastered cooking under Sister Felicita, from throughout Slovenia and from different social layers, although predominantly middle class. She continued to further her own training and constantly tested new recipes and still not established methods of storage and conserving foodstuffs. Soon after her arrival in Ljubljana, her reputation was such that she was entrusted with the preparation of a reissue of the first original Slovene cookbook, Slovenska kuharica (Slovene Cook, 1868). Sister Felicita supplemented and rewrote it, so that her name was also inscribed on its new (sixth) edition in 1902, in addition to the name of the original author, Magdalena Pleiweis. The cookery advice of Sister Felicita


shows that she had a sense of observation, empathy, a feeling for the needs of her fellow people, inborn cosmopolitanism and a spontaneous sense of democracy. Terezija Kalinšek – Sister Felicita already achieved fame in her own time. The editors of the miscellany, Na bregovih Bistrice (On the banks of the Bistrica), which was published in 1938 by the Kamnik Student’s Holiday Society, without hesitation counted her among famous compatriots. MTP


Summarised from Katarina Marinčič: Terezija Kalinšek – s. Felicita, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007,

MINKA KROFTA (1888–1954)*, president of the first Slovene women’s publishing house Belo-modra knjižnica (Blue-white library) Minka Krofta contributed to the feminist movement in the inter-war period through her charitable activities and participation in women’s organisations. She was a member of the General Women’s Society in Ljubljana, the section of the Yugoslav Feminist Alliance for the Drava banovina and on the financial committee of the Alliance, and president of the Atena Physical Culture Society (TKDA). In 1936, she lectured on rural women to the Congress of the International Feminist Alliance in Dubrovnik. In the thirties, she proposed to the General Women’s Society the founding of a newspaper for housewifery, Gospodinja (Housewife). She kept a vigilant eye on the situation of maidservants in Ljubljana middle class families and was godmother to numerous children from poor families. She also encouraged care for the young with efforts to found a library and reading room for young persons in Prečna ulica in Ljubljana. In addition, together with the members of TKDA, she looked after the Queen Mary school kitchen in Ljubljana, maintained a children’s playground and gym in Tivoli and organised orthopaedic examinations of children with back troubles. Her concern for familiarising children with Slovene texts led to the founding of the publishing house Belo-modra knjižnica, which was something special well beyond the Slovene geographic area. The publishing house, which she headed from 1927 to the termination of activities in 1941, at first published Slovene books for children and young people and later also many scientific and literary works. Among them, the collected works of Zofka Kveder and the publication of first authors who were unable to get their work published by other publishing houses, gained the widest response. In addition to activities in the feminist movement, as a wealthy Ljubljanan she was also a patroness; her support is well-known for Karla Bulovec Mrak, who did her portrait. During the Second World War, she was the active women’s representative in the leadership of the Slovene Red Cross. She sent help to the partisans from 1941, because of which the Italians sent her to a concentration camp. She continued her work for the Red Cross under German occupation. Because of her cooperation with the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation, in 1944 she was arrested and interned in Ravensbrück and Mauthausen. The camp destroyed her health and the events after the war broke her. The new authorities seized her property and moved her to a single room in Kolizej; she had only her disability pension on which to survive. MTP


p. 79–82.


Summarised from Katja Mihurko Poniž: Minka Krofta, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in



Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 225–228.

VIDA JERAJ (1875-1932)*, lyrical poet of the modern and author of attractive poems for children Vida Jeraj already began to publish as a student (1893). Writing poetry was in her family, since her father, France Vovk from Vrba, was the son of Prešeren’s sister Mimi. After education at teacher training college, she taught in Ljubno and then in Zasip in Gorenjsko and, at the same time, established contact with young literati and theoreticians, including Josip Murn and Ivan Prijatelj. She gave everything of herself as a teacher and her free thinking methods were extremely effective. At the same time, this was the period when a feeling for children’s poetry was awakened in her. In 1897, she began to correspond with Anton Aškerc, who was her mentor for some time. After marriage to a member of the Vienna Royal Opera, the musician Karl Jeraj, at the turn of the century she moved to Vienna, where she devoted herself to family life and friendship with the composer Anton Lajovic and Lojze Kraigher, Zofka Kveder, Ivan Cankar and Oton Župančič. She and Župančič planned a joint collection of children’s poems together. On Cankar’s initiative, in 1908 she published an independent collection of poetry “Poems”. In 1919, she moved with her family to Ljubljana and was involved in cultural circles. In 1921, she published poems for children “From Ljubljana across Poljane”, with illustrations by Gojmir Anton Kos. She wrote in Ženski svet, and also became a member of the Society of Slovene Belletrists, the Socio-economic and Cultural Women’s Society and a member of the committee of Slovenska matica. In 1935, her Collected Works were published in a prestigious edition by Ženski založbi Belo-modre knjižnice, in the Collection of Slovene Authoresses. MTP

LILI NOVY (1885–1958)*, Slovene poet Lili Novy is the only woman whom Josip Vidmar ranked among his Faces, famous portraits of Slovenes who had made a mark on the literary and cultural political scene in the first half of the 20th century. Her life spanned an arc from German speaking noblewoman brought up in the aristocratic spirit of the Hapsburg monarchy, to the Slovene authoress of successful stories of love, mortality and death. She entered the literary scene largely thanks to her husband, who discovered that she was writing (German) poems, which until then she had hidden from him. The husband sent the poems to the editor of the magazine Western Monatshefte, which published them 1921. At the same time, he encouraged her to make contact with the Slovene literati – at that time Slovene literature was being intensively discovered. She therefore took her German translations of his poems to Oton Župančič. The poet was delighted and Prager Presse published them in 1925. She became increasingly rooted in the Slovene cultural environment at that time. She translated Slovene poets, mainly for the Zagreb newspapers Morgen and Abramer Morgenblatt. with Prešeren, Gregorčič, Gradnik, Kette and Murn joining Zupančič. She also prepared a collection, Blätter aus dem Slowenischen Lyrik, for the international PEN Congress in Dubrovnik in 1933 and three years later, a selection of Yugoslav women’s lyrics, Jugoslawische Frauenlyrik, for the Congress of the Women’s Alliance. 73


Summarised from Miriam Drev: Vida Jeraj, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 146–149.


Summarised from Seta Knop: Lili Novy, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 207–211.

In 1935, she began to publish Slovene poems in Sodobnost, which were republished immediately before the Second World War in the collection, Temna vrata (1941). The collection was edited by Josip Vidmar, whom she had got to know in 1925 in the literary salon organised by her friend, Vida Novak. Vidmar, as she said herself, was her spiritual father: not just a faithful friend but also an indispensable literary collaborator. In the first years after the war, she devoted herself to children’s poetry and, at the same time, translated from German to Slovene: Goethe, Heine, Storm, Kästner and Brecht. She no longer wrote any poems in German but throughout in Slovene. Her second collection, Oboki (Arches), was published a year after her death. MTP


Summarised from Barbara Sušec Michieli: Marija Vera, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, str. 175–179.

PIA MLAKAR (1908–2000)*, contemporary dancer, creator, pedagogue and woman great energy of the Mlakar dance pair Pia Mlakar, by birth from Hamburg, dreamed from her childhood of becoming a ballerina. She first trained in her birthplace, under the creator and theoretician of the modern dance movement, Rudolf von Laban, and then from 1928– 1929 at the Institute of Choreography in Berlin. She got to know her future husband there, the Slovene dancer Pino Mlakar At the beginning of the thirties, they both became members of the chorus of the ballet at Hessen Provincial Theatre in Darmstadt, and then Friedrichstheater in Dessau. In 1932, the couple moved to Maribor, where they prepared a dance concert Mlada pota (Young Paths, later Plesni večer/Dance Evening), by which they presented their vision of the art of dance. After premieres in Maribor and Ljubljana, they also appeared in Zagreb, Prague and Belgrade, where they worked in 1933–1934. They also performed in Novi Sad and Skopje, and their art was received enthusiastically everywhere. The Belgrade period was followed by extremely successful seasons in Stadttheater in Zürich. At that time, they prepared a full length ballet, Vrag na vasi (Devil in the Village), an excellent linkage of drama and dance, which is characterised by an original interweaving of originals of ballet technique and folk dance, all in the spirit of modern dance trends. They also set up their own ballet, the Legend of Joseph and Till Eulenspiegel. In 1938, they performed Devil in the Village in Munich and the response of the public, which applauded Pia on the open stage, was exceptional: there were 43 curtain calls! The following year, they put on in Munich a pre-performance of a dance poem Lok (Arc), in which they declared their personal view of the art of dance and their experience of life as a pair and in establishing a bridge between male and female worlds. They signed a five-year contract with the Bavarian State Opera. In 1945, they returned to Slovenia. Pino was appointed to the post of full professor at the newly founded Academy of Theatre Art in Ljubljana, and Pia leader and first soloist of the ballet ensemble of Ljubljana Opera. In 1952-1954, they choreographed a series of ballets in Munich and then again worked in Ljubljana, where until 1960, Pia was leader of the ballet. In 1956, her only independent choreograph, Plesalec v sponah (Dancer in Bonds),



Summarised from Neja Kos: Pia Mlakar, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of 19th and 20th century women in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma ; SAZU, 2007, p. 457–461.

Pia and Pino Mlakar; kept by NUL,

was premiered, a half-hour work in modern dance techniques, without musical accompaniment. Because of problems with her hips, Pia stopped dancing in 1949. At the beginning of the sixties, the Mlakars more or less withdrew and stopped working in the Ljubljana ensemble. They began to realise the idea of a dance farm, an institution for studying research on the phenomenon of dance and practical dance work, which they did not succeed in realising because of legal obstacles. They complete a book, Unsterblicher Theatertanz (Immortal Theatre Dance), a history of the art of dance in Munich, where the work was also published. MTP

MARIJA VERA (1881–1954)* with the real name Frančiška Ksavera Marija Eppich, married name Osten-Sacken, actress, producer and pedagogue in three cultural environments Marija Vera, as the first academically educated Slovene actress, created more than 280 female characters – from combative heroines to aged mothers, from visionary prophetesses to dangerous rebels. She performed from Zürich to Berlin, from Vienna to St. Petersburg, from Gdansk to Sarajevo, from Belgrade to Ljubljana. In the years from 1907 to 1954, she was engaged in eleven theatres, which today are in eight countries. She performed in German, Slovene and Serbo-Croat. When she abandoned the teaching profession at the age of twenty-four, she trained at the Vienna Conservatory and then from 1908-1910 performed in Zurich, where she experienced huge success as Rhodopa in a staging of Gyges and His Ring, by Friedrich Hebbel. She first depicted a radical woman in this role, who asserted the demand for self-affirmation and independence. Interest in women’s questions later appeared in many other of her character creations, especially in the plays by the first author-fighter for women’s liberation, Henrik Ibsen. In 1911 she became a member of Deutsches Theater in Berlin and remained there until 1914. She continued her career in 1916 in the German theatre in Gdansk, playing on German stages, where she appeared with the leading actresses of her time. She finished in Basel in Switzerland.






Marija Vera, actress in a dynamic labyrinth of cultures, Ljubljana, Slovene Theatre SGM, legacy of Marija Vera, M 107, diary, 27 December 1904.

At the invitation of the newly founded Yugoslav state, in 1919 she travelled to Sarajevo, then to Novi Sad and Belgrade and in 1923 to Ljubljana. Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian critics were enthusiastic at the spirit of modernism and the scent of Europe in her performances. After her arrival in Ljubljana, Marija Vera most developed her all-round creativity. She played more than 100 roles in Ljubljana theatres, directed an extensive cycle of Ibsen’s plays, Goethe and Shaw. Similarly, in Ljubljana she touched on specific women’s themes, such as the drama by the Polish authoress, Zofija Nalkowska, Home for Elderly Women, with an exclusively female cast. She also wrote professional articles in theatre papers and magazines. At the time of the founding of the Academy of Theatre Art (1945), she was appointed professor of drama and artistic texts. Although she did not do very much acting after the war, she made an important contribution to the artistic revival and opening of Slovene theatre to the world. In 1949, she received an award from the Ministry of Education and in 1941 the Prešeren Award.

Sometimes when I’m sitting above the books, I have a burning desire to know and understand everything that the human spirit has conceived and discovered. Then, with terrible, nameless sorrow, I see how little I know. Unfortunately, this wish, demand, that is in me can never be consoled. So I must at least try once again to feel, express, all the shades of my feelings, the richness of heart, spirit, inner being, all the beauty of love, passion – yes, sin. I thus so much want to love these beauties, I long for them, marvel at them, gaze – learn. Will I not become a martyr to my own high aims? Will not my passion for life nail me to the cross? ” * MTP

DANA KOBLER (1891-1929)* The first Slovene female concert pianist, Dana Kobler, born on 6.6.1891, began learning the piano at Glasbena matica (Music Society) in Ljubljana, under the well-known teacher of Czech origins, Josip Prochazka, and continued under Karl Hoffmeister. She completed master’s school in piano in the class of Wilhelm Kurz, at the Conservatory in Prague. After her return to Ljubljana, she had numerous concerts both in Yugoslavia and in neighbouring countries. In 1919, the Yugoslav heir to the throne, Aleksander I. Karađorđević, personally awarded her the Order of Sv Sava for her piano art and for numerous charitable concerts in aid of the victims of war. Dana Kobler’s repertoirs covered the top works: Liszt’s Ballad in H-minor, Hungarian Rhapsody no. 13 and Dream of Love, Chopin’s Islamey, or Oriental Fantasy and numerous compositions by the Czech composers Smetana, Vitezslav Novak and others. She also devoted attention to Slovene piano literature. In addition to concert activities she taught at Glasbena matica and later at the Conservatory. Dana Kobler was well known in cultural circles. Before the First World War, she was a valued guest at Kessler’s famous literary and cultural salon, which was regularly attended by Ivan Cankar, Oton Župančič, Vladimir Levstik, Etbin Kristan and others. She was an inspiration for Ivan Cankar, who took her musical and womanly image as the central symbol of fe-



Summarised from Igor Dekleva: Dana Kobler, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem (Forgotten Half: portraits of women of the 19th and 20th century in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 247–251.

male beauty in the short story Dana, in the collection of short stories Volja in moč (Will and Power). She was depicted in paintings by Ivana Kobilca and Ivan Vavpotič. Dana, whose health deteriorated at an early age, died on 27.10.1929. She made an important contribution to Slovene musical history. MTP

ALMA KARLIN (1889-1950)*, German-Slovene writer, polyglot and explorer of exotic foreign worlds Alma Karlin, a woman who lived before her time, was born on 12.10.1889 in Celje. She soon showed exceptional ability for learning foreign languages. After completing secondary school in Graz, she studied languages in London. She learned English, French, Latin, Italian, Norwgian, Danish, Finnish, Russian, Spanish and Sanskrit, and later also Persian, Chinese and Japanese. In 1914, she won first prize and a gold medal at the London Society of Arts and passed exams in eight languages. Even at that time, she wanted to become an explorer and writer. After the end of the First World War, she returned to Celje, where she founded a school for foreign languages, bought a typewriter with her savings, her famous »Erika«, and in 1919 set off on her journeys. She crossed Peru, went to Panama, several countries of Central America, California and then Hawaii and Japan. While travelling, she wrote articles that she sent to German and Japanese newspapers, and also around 150 to home, to Cillier Zeitung. She continued her journey to Korea, Manchuria, China, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Her most exotic journey was in 1924, when she travelled the islands of the South Pacific, Indonesia, Thailand and Burma. She almost ended in the pot of one of the cannibalistic tribes in New Guinea. She completed her journey in India and returned home. In Celje, she devoted herself intensively to writing. Because of her middle class origin, she wrote in German: travelogues, novels, poems, dramatic works and articles. Her books were published in Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Great Britain. Three of her travel books, even by today’s standards achieved very respectable editions of 80,000 copies. Her picturesque style was noticed by the Swedish writer, Selma Lagerlöf and she proposed 77

Alma Karlin; kept by NUL,


Summarised from Miriam Drev: Alma Karlin, in: Pozabljena polovica : portreti žensk 19. in 20. stoletja na Slovenskem


Half: portraits of women of the 19th and 20th century in Slovenia). Ljubljana: Založba Tuma; SAZU, 2007, p. 234–237.

her for the Nobel Award. The possibility of further establishing herself was interrupted by the Second World War. During the war, she opposed the Nazis and in 1944 joined the partisans who, because of her membership to the German cultural world, even intended to execute her. After the war, the villa that she had inherited from her father was nationalised and with a friend, the English artist Thea Gammelin, she moved into a miserable shack in PeÄ?ovnik, where she died of pulmonary disease on 14.1.1950. She long remained misunderstood and unknown to the Slovene public but, in the nineties, her personality also began to be revived among the Slovenes. The opus of Alma Karlin extends to 24 published books and more than 40 prose works and poems remain in manuscript. MTP


»IT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR SLOVENE WOMANHOOD MERELY TO PIN RIBBONS ONTO THE SOKOL BANNER« : Slovene women, gymnastics and sport The modern women’s question also opened the question of involvement in gymnastics, sport and mountaineering, or the question of physical education. Society responded variously to it. Liberally oriented Sokal gymnasts supported women’s gymnastics, Catholic ones opposed it. There were also differences of view on the activity of women in sports disciplines, especially in relation to competitions, which were equated with fighting while women were supposed to belong only to play. The doyen of the first Slovene gymnastics society, Southern Sokol (later Ljubljana Sokol), Etbin Henrik Costa, founded in 1863, already stressed the importance of exercise for young women; someone who cultivated gymnastics would be healthier and would give birth to healthy generation of the nation. Women’s gymnastics flourished with the activity of Viktor Murnik at the end of the 19th century. Murnik trained the first female coaches since, under Sokol practice, on principle, women should train women. In 1901 the “First Women’s Gymnastics Society” (ŽTD), which was lead by Franja Tavčar, was founded from the women’s section of Ljubljana Sokol. On the tenth anniversary of ŽTD, Viktor Murnik stressed on behalf of Ljubljana Sokol that “today’s festivity ... the celebration of the tenth anniversary, is a remarkable moment, when, in an independent women’s society, real expression is given to the idea that it is not enough for Slovene womanhood merely to pin ribbons onto the Sokol banner, merely to strew flowers on the Sokol path; it is necessary for a Slovene woman also to step herself on the Sokol path«. Slovene Sokols defined their view of their fellow female Sokols after the First World War in 1919. They stressed the »national importance« of physical health and moral strengthening of women, both in the family and in the social context. Women were equal members of the Sokol society and the society had appropriate male and female sections for this, which had a joint administration but separate gymnastics and adapted in terms of content both to biological differences and also aesthetics. In distinction from gymnastic practice up until 1914, women Sokols also started to compete in the Yugoslav state. This shift achieved its peak in the Olympic Games in 1936, when a women’s rank of Yugoslav Sokol appeared.


Photographs kept by the MS, FS, SAM.

Women were not just gymnasts but also sportswomen. Sport spread in Slovenia after the First World War and women’s sections were formed in the larger sports clubs. A special women’s club, Atena, operated as a continuation of ŽTD. Until the Second World War, women for the most part took part in “hazeno” (a form of small handball; it had already died out before the Second World War), athletics, swimming, tennis, fencing, skiing and skating. Just as in gymnastics, the idea was also present in sport that, because of their »gentleness« and »gentle character« women should not be involved in some sports, such as football, because »according to medical findings« such sports were harmful for them. Slovene sportswomen achieved some prominent results at this time. At an athletics meeting in Prague in 1926, Marija Križ threw the discus 31.25 metres. This was one of the longest throws to date in world athletics. Slovene women ‘hazeno’ players were also members of the Yugoslav team that in 1934 won a ‘hazeno’ tournament in London. The tournament could be considered a world championship. TP, PM



Mountaineers at Triglav Hostel on

The first documented climbs of the mountains were by those who were closely connected with nature and the mountain environment and who also studied and described it. These were in particular natural historians from the period of the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries. They slowly dispelled the myths of the world of peaks, measured them and studied their nature and triggered a process of visiting and moving in the medium and high mountains, and arranged trails and shelters suitable for this. The following period brought tourism to the mountains. A feeling for physical culture developed through mountaineering and skiing, and alpinism provided the opportunity for the psycho-physical transformation of man. The mountains became part of cultural and physical-cultural life. The Slovene Mountaineering Society was created at the end of the 19th century, which was the basis for all events in the mountains. Climbing developed from it, and partially also skiing. The younger generation, above all educated young people from Ljubljana, who were called Drenovci (from the Dren Climbing Club), even before the First World War were no longer satisfied only with summer mountaineering. The Drenovci, who came together as a friendly society in 1906 on the initiative of Bogumil Brinšek and Rudolf Badjur, began extreme climbing and skiing. The Dren Climbing Club disintegrated during the war but, soon after the war’s end, extreme climbing and skiing became even more established among the young. In 1921, the Skala Tourist Club was founded. TK Skala developed summer and winter tourism, skiing and mountain photography. Skala essentially contributed to skiing becoming the Slovene national sport. By the time of the Second World War, the major climbing problems on local faces had been solved. In 1926, Mira Marko Debelak and Stanko Tominšek climbed the direct route to Špik in 31 hours, which was the most important event of Slovene alpinism to that time. The climb by Joža Čop and Pavla Jesih by the central (Čop) column of the Triglav face in 1945 was the peak achievement of the pre-war climbing generation. TP, PM

Kredarica 18.8.1918, during a climb


to Triglav (Source SAM)

Combatants, women and men, of the Third Company of the North Littoral Detachment First Battalion in camp on Ĺ entvid plateau in the second half of April 1943.



Girls from Belokrina decorated at the

With the start of war, traditional roles and relations were destroyed, also because of the exceptional events. Women became active in new fields, which had previously been off-limits for them and, at the same time, they still performed all the work that had been traditionally expected of them. They were confronted in this by prejudice and the advocates of tradition. Under the occupier’s measures, many women were sent into exile, prison and concentration camps, mostly on Rab, in Ravensbrück and Auschwitz. Many women, from patriotism or political conviction and in order to avoid being sent to the concentration camps, joined the Liberation Front of the Slovene nation (OF) and the partisan movement. Many of them were also captured and sent to the concentration camps as members or supporters of the liberation movement. Partisan units contained about 4% women, most in the Šercer battalion. Special female military units were also founded. There were a great many doctors and nurses among the partisans. Numerous artists also joined partisan units, and worked in cultural groups. Slovenes who had been imprisoned in Italy joined the partisan units and, after the capitulation of Italy in 1943, were included in the overseas brigade. Twenty-one Slovene women received the order of national hero, and many received orders or awards for bravery. Because of an awareness that a special women’s organisation was needed, which in addition to Slovenska narodne pomoči (Slovene National Aid) and Zveza slovenske mladine (Alliance of Slovene Youth), would operate within the OF and be an integral part of the Anti-fascist Front of the Women of Yugoslavia, the Slovene Anti-fascist Women’s Alliance (SPŽZ) was created at the end of 1942. The 1st congress of the organisation was held on 16 and 17.10.1943 in Dobrnič, at which women called for responsibility to the nation and stressed the importance of mass active participation in the struggle against the occupier. In the field, a network of women was created, organised within the SPŽZ. They collected food and clothing, looked after combatants, orphans and refugees, competed in cultivating the land and harvesting fruit and also had a political impact on women. The large number of independent women’s organisations was transformed after the 2nd

district conference of OF activists, 15


and 16 January 1945, in Črnomelj. Kept by the NMCH.

Congress of the SPŽZ on 9 and 10.6.1945 in Ljubljana, into the Antifascist Front of Women of Slovenia. In May 1942, the Executive Committee of the OF issued a decree on holding elections to the National Liberation Council (NOO) on liberated territory. Women also took part in them for the first time and an Assembly of Delegates of the Slovene Nation was then held from 1 to 3.10.1943 in Kočevje. Sixty-two women took part; 12 of them were elected to the Slovene National Liberation Council (SNOO), the supreme representative and legislative body of the Slovene national liberation movement. Women thus first became involved in parliamentary activities. The Slovene National Liberation Council (SNOS), as the SNOO was renamed on 19.2.1944, called elections to local NOO and delegates for district national liberation assemblies, to be held on 1.3.1944. In article 7 of the decree on elections, the SNOS stressed that every single male and female person over the age of 18 had active and passive voting rights. Partly because of traditional prejudices, few women were elected and few of them were politically active. During the Second World War, the members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovenia, Vida Tomšič and Lidja Šentjurc, were politically most prominent. In the National Government of Slovenia, formed on 5 May 1945 in Ajdovščina, Vida Tomšič was the Minister for Social Policy. Throughout the war, the anti-partisan side stressed the traditional image of a woman, who stands beside her man and supports him to the best of her ability. The image of mother was also stressed, who protects the home and nurtures the new generation. Representatives of the anti-partisan side took part in anti-communist meetings, charitable campaigns and other activities. Because of her position, Olga Rupnik, the wife of the President of the Provincial Administration in Ljubljana and Inspector General of the Slovene Home Guard, General Leon Rupnik, most stood out. Few women took an active part in ant-partisan units. They were mainly intelligence, administrative and sanitary personnel, mostly with the Slovene Home Guard. The only organised women’s anti-revolutionary organisation was the Girl’s Legion. At the end of the war, a variety of individual women’s stories were woven. Their span ranged from joy, relief and home-coming, to sorrow, farewell to home and departure into emigration. They were also accompanied by the known fate of some prominent pre-war and post-war activists – Angela Vode, Milena Mohorič and others, who fell into disgrace in the new system after the war. MKK

MAJDA ŠILC (1923-1944) was born in 1923 in the village of Kržeti by Ribnica. In the summer of 1942, she departed to the Dolomite detachment, in which she was detachment nurse. In 1943, she was accepted into the Party and soon became secretary of SKOJ in the Ljubljana Brigade. She also took part in the fighting on Ilova gora. In March 1944, she was a delegate at the USAOJ Congress in Drvar. She died on 14 July 1944 in the fighting by Gornja Težka Voda. She was proclaimed a national hero on 19 June 1945. MKK

VIDA TOMŠIČ (1913-1998) was born in 1913 in Ljubljana. She was already politically active in the thirties and became a member of the KPJ. She was several times arrested. After the occupation, she worked for some time underground in Ljubljana, and in December 1941 was arrested and sentenced to 25 years imprison-


ment. Her husband, Tone Tomšič, was shot as a hostage in May 1942 in Gramozna jama. After the capitulation of Italy, she returned to Slovenia and was elected to the SNOS and worked as organisational secretary to the CK KPS. On 5 May 1945, she ws appointed minister in the National Government. After the war, she worked in various central party, state and socio-political organisations. She was proclaimed a national hero in 1953. She died in 1998. MKK

Mother of Knaus and Benčin, from Livold near Kočevje, at elections, autumn 1944.

PAVLA JERINA LAH (1916-2007) was born in 1916 in Borovnica and was educated in Vrhnika, Ljubljana and Zagreb, where she graduated from the Medical Faculty in 1940. She worked as an activist in the OF from 1941 and secretly collected medicines and hygiene materials for activists, underground workers and wounded partisans. She was twice imprisoned by the Italians and a third time by the home guard. She evaded arrest a fourth time by leaving Ljubljana. She joined Dr. Franja Bojc in the partisan hospital in Ribnica and, at the time of the German offensive in November 1943, she accompanied the wounding during the evacuation of the hospital to Travna gora. The Germans captured both physicians there, massacred the most seriously injured and took Dr. Pavla and Dr. Franja to Reka, and from there to Trieste and Ljubljana. Both successfully escaped from the train and, on the orders of the OF, left for Primorska. Her task was to build and lead a secret partisan hospital. From 1943 to the liberation, Pavla was the physician and administrator of a hospital in Trnovski gozd, which was called »Pavla« after her. In August 1944, Dr. Pavla accompanied 50 seriously wounded and invalids from Primorska to Notranjska, to Nadlesk airfield. After the liberation, for a short time she headed Postojna Hospital and in 1948 left for Belgrade. She later took over the leadership of the Institute for Blood Transfusion of SR Serbia. She also headed the Faculty Council at the University of Ljubljana. He best known work was in the Section for Partisan Healthcare SZD. With Dr. Božena Grosman she edited a list of doctors, medical students and nurses in the book “Gradivo o slovenski partizanski saniteti (Material on Slovene Partisan Healthcare)”. She died in 2007. MKK


MARIJA HAFNER (1895-1942) was born in 1895. She had property in Stražišč by Kranj and worked in the underground, together with members of her family. Her house was a meeting place for the most prominent members of the OF. Leaflets and other propaganda material were duplicated in her house. In February 1942, after betrayal, the Germans arrested Marija, her daughter and son and imprisoned them in Begunje. She was chosen as a hostage in the context of retaliatory measures. The fifty persons were not shot in Draga by Begunje but were taken to Mauthausen concentration camp and shot on 20 April 1942, including Marija Hafner and her daughter. MKK


Comrade Ančka with baby.

* IN GERMANY SPRING 1945 The water in the lakes splashed along the banks, the last snow still lay at the edges of the fields, abandoned and broken boats among the rushes were filled with bodies. Along roads uprooted by grenades amidst a fleeing army, old men, farmers drove us with guns and bayonets onwards, on towards the west. In debilitating fear millions fled with us from planes A deranged nation among wagons, horses, confused, fell in hopeless agitation wildly danced its own dance of death. In red heather, amidst white birch, we waited hidden in a ditch. Is is hallucuination? Madness? Hellish dreams? From downtrod earth the scent of spring The nation trundles onwards, on towards the west

Kept by the NMCH.


Vera Albreht: Ravensbriške pesmi, in: Antologija slovenskih pesmi 2 (Anthology of Slovene poetry 2: 1941-1980. Murska Sobota, 1977, Ljubljana: Založba

Vera Albreht *

Tuma, 2005, p. 22.


FEMINIST DEMANDS OF WOMEN UP TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR* The demand for equal education for both sexes and the opportunity to pursue all professions Advocates of the feminist movement in Slovenia in the second half of the 19th century first raised the problem of unequal education of men and women. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy was among the last countries of Europe to allow women to study in higher education. Of the better professions, those of teacher, nursery school teacher, postal official and shopkeeper were available to women. They were only allowed permanent employment in town halls from 1910. Women had long performed the role of midwife and they were also nurses from the second half of the 19th century. By the end of the 20th century, all professions were already accessible to women in Yugoslavia, except those of judge and priest (although the latter was possible in Protestant churches). Feminists between the two wars demanded access to all jobs for women, employment equality between married and unmarried women, equal pay for the two sexes for the same work, the ending of night work and the work of children up to eighteen years of age, an eight-hour working day, the foundation and reorganisation of women’s vocational and secondary schools, the introduction of the subject of handwork also at gymnasiums and colleges, ending teacher celibacy, recognition of housework as a profession, with the possibility of pension insurance. The demand for women’s suffrage Political rights were a precondition for obtaining all other rights. When it was possible to vote, by participating in the decision making process they would thus gain other rights and, in addition, could also mitigate the activity of their male colleagues. They were convinced that they could bring more philanthropy into politics.



Summarised from: Nataša Budna Kodrič: Feministične zahteve (Feminist demands). In: Splošno žensko društvo (General Women’s Society) 1901-1945. Ljubljana : ARS, 2003, p. 35–43.

The demand for equal rights before the law Their demands in this field were the ending of the provision of man is the head of the family, the arrangement of property law relations within the family (the two partners should have equal rights, business and legal capacity, they should decide in agreement on all matters of common life and the household). The demand for the possibility of divorce Because numerous abuses occurred when men entered another faith, divorced and remarried, and a Catholic wife in such cases was even left without maintenance, feminists strove for the introduction of compulsory civil marriage, concluded in front of state authorities and the complete exclusion of the Church from marital and family law. Divorce would thus also be possible. The demand for making legitimate and illegitimate children equal and the problem of abortion There was a high incidence of illegal abortions, infanticide and suicide in Slovenia at that time. There were also some cases of voluntary extramarital motherhood – on the example of some well-known feminists, such as Pavla HoÄ?evar. There were around one hundred abortions annually in Yugoslavia, mainly because of poor economic circumstances. Legislation allowed the termination of pregnancy if this jeopardised the health or life of the mother. Feminists demanded the right to abortion also in cases of social indications, i.e., poor economic circumstances. The demand for the ending of double morality One pattern of behaviour applied for men in society; another - stricter - for women. A woman was relegated to second place in relation to husband and children. They were not paid the same wage as men for the same work. In the narrower sense, the demand for the removal of double morality referred to ending regulated (state supervised) prostitution. There was a high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in Yugoslavia and the white slave trade also existed.


Ivan Prijatelj and Zofka Kveder; kept by NUL,

Other demands Throughout the period of classical middle class feminism, there were other, smaller, but nevertheless important demands, including the demand for Ljubljana streets to be named after important Slovene women, for common lessons for boys and girls, for the use of the female forms of the titles professor and doctor. The Society of University Educated Women included in its programme the demand for the title of madam for all women, irrespective of their age, education or (marital) state. Despite the huge efforts by women’s organisations, very little was achieved of what women in the period from around 1900 to 1941 strove for and demanded. They obtained the possibility of education at all secondary schools and colleges. The right to equal pay for equal work was not realised. Women did not gain political rights; they first voted in Slovenia on the liberated territory in part of the Ljubljana Province in September 1943. The man remained the head of the family right up to the laws of the new revolutionary authorities. In the period of the existence of the first Yugoslavia, there was similarly no introduction of compulsory civil marriage and the possibility of its annulment. Illegitimate children were not equated with legitimate ones, and abortion because of poor social (material) circumstances did not become available. As concerns double morality, or the problem of prostitution, this only died out with the better social arrangement of the new Yugoslavia. Improving the position of women, therefore, even with processes of modernisation and cultural changes, remained in many spheres something that was more apparent than real. MTP


The causal link between gender and fate is of sociological and biological origin; and this changes with the development of society and its gains, in which a woman can contribute much to her own benefit. Thinking about my destiny led me to the conclusion that it has not been shaped by my gender but by the attributes of my character. Among the attributes that have burdened me since I started to be aware was a feeling for truth and justice. It is precisely because of these attributes that I strayed (no, I decided myself) onto the path that shaped my destiny. I was disgusted by the injustices that can be seen everywhere, especially by one with a sensitive heart. I did not become attached to socialism by scientic study and envisaging future social development, like many others but was driven into the ranks of the workers merely by emotional recognition that it is necessary to do away with the injustices and it is necessary to fight to change the world.�

(Angela Vode: Spomin in pozaba (Memory and oblivion), Ljubljana 2000, p. 49)




Slovene Women in the Modern Era  
Slovene Women in the Modern Era  

Equality, politics, sports, war, fight, travelling, art, fashion, women societies, education ... - all you ever wanted to know about the wom...