Historias de Rumanía

SOFIA IONESCU-OGREZEANU 

(25 de abril de 1920 – 21 de marzo de 2008)

Logros:

  • La primera mujer neurocirujana del mundo.
  • Innovadora de las técnicas de cirugía cerebral que se convierten en conocimientos de vanguardia en el campo de la neurocirugía.

Fuente de la imagen: 

https://www.eans.org/page/SofiaIonescu-Ogrezeanu-Bio

Sofia OGREZEANU nació en Fălticeni, Suceava (este de Rumanía), en el seno de la familia Ogrezeanu. Su padre, Constantin Ogrezeanu, trabajaba como empleado de banca y había estado casado anteriormente. Tras la muerte de la hija pequeña de su primer matrimonio, se divorció y se trasladó de Bucarest a Fălticeni para alejarse de la tristeza por la pérdida de su hija. Su madre, Maria Șincai, un ama de casa 25 años más joven que su padre, era originaria de Bucovina, en el norte del país. Se llamaba Sofía, que significa “sabiduría” en griego, y Gherghina, que es un sinónimo de la flor llamada Dalia. Ambos nombres describen características de su personalidad que se manifestaron durante toda su vida. Tenía una hermana cuatro años menor que ella.

Asistió a la escuela primaria y luego al ” Instituto de Enseñanza Secundaria para Niñas” de su ciudad natal. Cuando tenía 13 años, fue con su hermana a pasar unas vacaciones con sus abuelos maternos. Debido a que tenían que coger un tren muy temprano, su padre las despertó cariñosamente con una canción y le ofreció a cada una rosa del pequeño jardín que había delante de la casa. Iba a ser el último recuerdo de él, porque muere mientras las hermanas están fuera. A partir de ese momento se acerca a la familia de su compañera de colegio y amiga, Aurelia Dumitriu, cuyo padre, Vasile Dumitriu, era médico y “una persona amable y un médico cariñoso”, como ella lo describe. Él se convierte en un modelo a seguir para ella, sustituyendo de alguna manera el vacío dejado por la muerte de su propio padre y, por lo tanto, su interés por la escuela de medicina se enciende.

Más tarde se siente maltratada en la escuela, por lo que pide a su madre que la envíe a “la mejor escuela que haya”, por lo que va a Bucarest a cursar los dos últimos años de bachillerato, asistiendo a la Escuela Central de Niñas “Marica Brâncoveanu”. Animada por su profunda compasión por el sufrimiento de la gente y por su convicción de que puede ayudarles, desea presentarse a la Facultad de Medicina Humana de Bucarest, pero la Comisión Tutelar (compuesta por un abogado, su madre y otros familiares) se opone. Según la ley de la época, las madres viudas no tenían derechos completos de decisión sobre los hijos. Su madre lucha por el deseo de Sofía y finalmente se impone, por lo que comienza a estudiar Medicina en 1939.

Durante las vacaciones de verano de 1942 cuida de los soldados heridos en un hospital de guerra organizado en su ciudad natal Fălticeni. En febrero de 1943, todavía en la escuela, compite por una plaza de oftalmóloga en el hospital “Profesor Doctor Cantacuzino” de Bucarest, que consigue. Durante las vacaciones de verano de 1943 trabaja como médico en una clínica rural de Baia, en el condado de Suceava.

En noviembre de 1943, empieza a hacer prácticas en el Servicio de Neurocirugía del Hospital nº 9 de Bucarest, entrando en el primer equipo de neurocirujanos rumanos, coordinado por el profesor Dr. Dimitrie Bagdasar – considerado el fundador de la neurocirugía rumana. Los otros miembros del equipo eran Constantin Arseni e Ionel Ionescu, su futuro marido.

En 1944, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, un niño con heridas en la cabeza a causa de un bombardeo es llevado al hospital. El profesor Bagdasar tiene una lesión en la mano y no puede realizar la operación. Los demás miembros del equipo también tienen impedimentos para realizar la operación. El niño corre el riesgo de morir, por lo que Sofía, a pesar de ser todavía una estudiante de 5º curso, se ofrece a realizar la cirugía que cambió su vida. La operación es un éxito y ofrece al profesor Bagdasar una buena prueba de sus habilidades, por lo que la invita a quedarse en el equipo y a especializarse en neurocirugía. 

Se licenció en Medicina en enero de 1945.

Se casa en 1945 con Ionel Ionescu, su colega de neurocirugía, convirtiéndose en Sofia Ionescu-Ogrezeanu. Los años siguientes están llenos de preocupaciones y alegrías, trabajando sin descanso (desde las 5 de la mañana) para triunfar en una profesión dominada por los hombres (hasta 1989, en Rumanía sólo había 8 mujeres neurocirujanas). Se presenta a todos los exámenes para alcanzar la máxima distinción en el campo de la medicina y se convierte en una de las mejores mentes en su campo.

La gran aventura neuroquirúrgica iniciada en 1944 dura 47 años de exitosa carrera. Incluso desarrolla sus propias técnicas quirúrgicas, que serán reconocidas más tarde como conocimientos de vanguardia en su campo.  Es autora de más de 120 artículos científicos, publicados y reeditados en revistas científicas de todo el mundo: Acta Chirurgica Belgica, Journal of Surgery, Neurology, Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Revue Roumaine d’Endocrinologie. 

El amplio reconocimiento de sus méritos sólo llega años después de su jubilación. Por su valiosa contribución al desarrollo clínico y científico de la neurocirugía en Rumanía y también por el apoyo profesional ofrecido para la formación de internos de neurocirugía, la Dra. Sofia Ionescu fue nombrada miembro honorario de la Academia Rumana de Ciencias Médicas en 1997. En 2005, en el Congreso Internacional de Neurocirujanas, recibió el reconocimiento por ser la primera mujer neurocirujana del mundo y por los innovadores procedimientos quirúrgicos que ayudaron a desarrollar el campo de la neurocirugía.

Muere en 2008. Se considera que abrió las puertas a las demás neurocirujanas que siguieron sus pasos en todo el mundo.

Literatura y referencias

https://www.eans.org/page/SofiaIonescu-Ogrezeanu-Bio

https://www.worldrecordacademy.org/medical/first-female-neurosurgeon-world-record-set-by-dr-sofia-ionescu-ogrezeanu-219471

SARMIZA BILCESCU 

(27 de abril de 1867 – 26 de agosto de 1935)

Logros:

  • La primera mujer europea que se licenció en Derecho;
  • La primera mujer del mundo con un doctorado en Derecho (por la Universidad de París);
  • La primera mujer europea admitida en un Colegio de Abogados (antiguo Colegio de Abogados de Ilfov, actual Colegio de Abogados de Bucarest, en Rumanía);
  • Fundadora de la “Sociedad de Señoritas Rumanas”, una de las primeras asociaciones feministas de Rumanía;
  • Miembro de varias asociaciones feministas en todo el mundo.

Fuente de la imagen: link 

Miza, como la llamaban su familia y amigos cercanos, fue una niña poco femenina durante su infancia y le gustaba pasar el tiempo al aire libre. Hasta los siete años fue educada por su madre y por un severo profesor particular, Vasile Păun. Después asistió a diferentes escuelas y recibió clases de importantes eruditos de la época, como Spiru Haret y Frédéric Damé. Apasionada por el arte y especialmente por la música, recibió clases de piano del famoso profesor y compositor Eduard Wachmann.

En 1884, a la edad de 17 años, se alista sin dificultad en la Facultad de Letras de la Universidad de París -que había comenzado a aceptar estudiantes mujeres en 1871 (después de que la primera estudiante aceptada en la Universidad de la Sorbona, por la Facultad de Ciencias, ya se hubiera alistado en 1867)-, pero regresa a casa sólo 6 semanas después a causa de una epidemia de cólera que había comenzado en París por esa época. Mientras tanto, su padre, movido por el deseo de que su hija administre mejor su importante patrimonio, la convence para que prepare la carrera de Derecho, por lo que regresa a París -acompañada de su madre, que se quedará con ella durante todos sus años de estudio- y presenta su solicitud de admisión en la Facultad de Derecho. A pesar de que en los Estados Unidos de América (Iowa) las mujeres empezaron a ejercer la abogacía en 1869, Francia y gran parte de Europa aún se resistían a aceptar a las mujeres como intelectuales iguales a los hombres.

En diciembre de 1884 realiza su examen de admisión en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de la Sorbona y las deliberaciones duran dos semanas. Edmond Louis Armand Colmet De Santerre, profesor de Derecho Civil, admite: “Dudamos en conceder a la Srta. Bilcescu la autorización que pedía, temiendo que tuviéramos que vigilar los anfiteatros”. Mientras espera la respuesta en los pasillos durante días seguidos, la madre de Sarmiza se encuentra con A. E. Pichard, secretario de la Facultad de Derecho, y le dice “Vengo de un lejano país extranjero, pero allí no se discute el derecho de las mujeres a recibir educación. ¿Cómo es posible, señor, que en un país en el que incluso sobre las puertas de las cárceles está escrito: “Libertad, Igualdad y Fraternidad”, se impida a una mujer recibir educación?”. El secretario encuentra el argumento realmente convincente y vuelve a contar la discusión al Consejo de la Facultad. Finalmente, Sarmiza es admitida, pero la lucha no ha terminado: tras la aceptación es invitada a salir del aula por el profesor Paul Sonday, que le grita “¡Sin mujeres! ¡La ciencia se hace entre hombres!” y el portero le impide entrar en el edificio de la universidad varios meses después.

Las cosas cambian cuando tiene su primer examen. Ella lo recordará más tarde: “Los profesores son reacios a mirarme. Uno de ellos hace una pregunta difícil. Yo respondo. El profesor insiste. (…) Comienzo entonces a detallar todo, analizo las excepciones, hablo durante un cuarto de hora. Las caras de los profesores se iluminan: “Bien hecho, señorita, muy bien“. El examen continúa durante casi tres cuartos de hora y luego se acaba. Salgo de la sala. Al cabo de dos minutos, el portero me invita a entrar de nuevo en la sala de examen. (…) ¡A partir de ese momento los profesores me tuvieron esa consideración que sólo está reservada a la élite!” Tras finalizar su primer año de estudios, Colmet De Santerre se dirigió al alumnado, mencionando la “implacabilidad más allá de todo elogio y la conducta ejemplar” de Bilcescu y agradeciendo a los estudiantes varones el haberla “acogido como una hermana”; el discurso fue recibido con aplausos por el público. Se licencia en Ciencias Jurídicas en 1887. 

Durante su estancia en París, sigue recibiendo clases de música del célebre profesor Antoine François Marmontel.

El 12 de junio de 1890, a la edad de 23 años, Sarmiza Bilcescu hace historia al convertirse en la primera mujer del mundo que se doctora en Derecho. Periódicos de todo el mundo (Europa, Australia, Estados Unidos) se hicieron eco de su historia. El tema de su tesis doctoral, de 506 páginas, es “Sobre la condición jurídica de la madre en el derecho rumano y francés”, en la que promueve la igualdad de mujeres y hombres en la institución del matrimonio y en el reparto de los derechos sobre los hijos.

Una vez de vuelta a Rumanía, en el otoño de 1890, Sarmiza Bilcescu solicita la licencia para ejercer la abogacía en el Colegio de Abogados del condado de Ilfov (que, en aquella época, también incluía a Bucarest) y el Consejo de Abogados le concede la licencia argumentando que “No hay nada que se oponga a la solicitud de la peticionaria de ser alistada como abogada”. 

Ninguna mujer logró obtener una licencia para ejercer la abogacía en Europa antes que ella. Sin embargo, nunca abogó en los tribunales, porque las mentalidades eran difíciles de cambiar y los clientes potenciales no confiaban plenamente en una mujer abogada, pero pagó todos los honorarios regularmente a lo largo de los años y ofreció asesoramiento jurídico a quien lo solicitara, a veces incluso gratuitamente.  

El 18 de marzo de 1894 fundó la “Sociedad de Señoritas Rumanas”, cuyo objetivo era promover la unidad cultural del pueblo rumano (Rumanía no había unificado todos sus territorios en aquella época) y apoyar a las mujeres para que alcanzaran niveles de educación superiores.

En 1897 se casa con Constantin Alimănișteanu, considerado “el ingeniero más distinguido de las minas”, que la apoya en su trabajo comunitario hasta su muerte, en 1911. En 1898, Sarmiza Bilcescu-Alimănișteanu se convierte en madre de un niño al que adoraba, llamado Dumitru, como su padre.

Por esta época se convierte en jurado de la Exposición Cooperativa, patrocinada por la Casa Real de Rumanía, y entabla amistad con la Reina María de Rumanía, a la que da clases de rumano y con la que posteriormente da conciertos de piano. 

Fue una activa militante de la conservación del patrimonio y las tradiciones culturales rumanas y una importante promotora de la imagen de Rumanía en el extranjero. Participó en la creación de residencias y comedores escolares para estudiantes de Derecho, pero también ofreció su apoyo a otros proyectos relacionados con la educación de los niños.

En 1909 funda una escuela en la zona rural de una de sus fincas, que aún lleva el nombre de su padre, Dumitru Bilcescu. Ofrece becas privadas con su propio dinero a estudiantes pobres que quieren estudiar en el extranjero. 

Fue presidenta de la Federación de Mujeres Universitarias. Presidió varios bailes benéficos. Fue invitada a participar en muchas sociedades feministas de todo el mundo: El Consejo Asesor de la Rama Femenina del Congreso Mundial Auxiliar de la Reforma Gubernamental, la Asociación Reina Isabel, la Sociedad de Amigos de la Universidad de París, El Congreso Internacional de Mujeres. 

Muere en 1935 de septicemia, causada por una infección hepática. Aunque su carrera de abogada no llegó a florecer, consiguió hacer una carrera de implicación social en el desarrollo de la comunidad y se convirtió en un modelo de conducta y un abridor de caminos para las mujeres que aspiraban a un nivel superior de educación.

Literatura y referencias

https://www.radioromaniacultural.ro/portret-sarmiza-bilcescu-prima-femeie-avocat-din-europa-si-prima-din-lume-cu-un-doctorat-in-drept/ 

https://www.forbes.ro/sarmiza-bilcescu-alimanisteanu-prima-femeie-doctor-drept-din-lume-si-o-feminista-desavarsita-84723 

https://leviathan.ro/sarmiza-bilcescu-prima-romanca-avocat/ 

https://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmiza_Bilcescu-Alim%C4%83ni%C8%99teanu

Elvira Kralj
1900 – 1978

Too nice to be remembered?
Elvira Kralj was a Slovenian actress born in Trieste (then part of Austro-Hungarian Empire). She was born into a family that was politically engaged in defending the Slovenian national cause. The whole family was related to Sokol, a left-wing association addressing physical culture. Elvira was a member of several associations embracing different social causes though not the women’s cause specifically.

She started acting at the age of five when she played Cinderella on a stage in Trieste. After completing her studies in the local German Elementary School and two years of studies at the German Higher Trade School for Girls – boys and girls attended different schools, she started working in a law firm in Trieste. Later she graduated from a Drama school. She embodied more than 200 roles in the Maribor Theatre, and began working in the Ljubljana’s Drama, the national theatre. She convincingly portrayed a multitude of different female characters, from a kind grandmother, a nice aunt, a suffering mother, a tough woman, to evil, ironic characters on the theatre stage, TV and film screen. Her most visible role was that of the kind, loving and caring aunt (typically accepted female characteristics) in the iconic film Do Not Wait for May. Why was Elvira belittled? Despite her many roles for which she was casted...
sigue leyendo

Elvira Kralj
1900 – 1978

Too nice to be remembered?
Elvira Kralj was a Slovenian actress born in Trieste (then part of Austro-Hungarian Empire). She was born into a family that was politically engaged in defending the Slovenian national cause. The whole family was related to Sokol, a left-wing association addressing physical culture. Elvira was a member of several associations embracing different social causes though not the women’s cause specifically.

She started acting at the age of five when she played Cinderella on a stage in Trieste. After completing her studies in the local German Elementary School and two years of studies at the German Higher Trade School for Girls – boys and girls attended different schools, she started working in a law firm in Trieste. Later she graduated from a Drama...
sigue leyendo

Elvira Kralj
1900 – 1978

Too nice to be remembered?
Elvira Kralj was a Slovenian actress born in Trieste (then part of Austro-Hungarian Empire). She was born into a family that was politically engaged in defending the Slovenian national cause. The whole family was related to Sokol, a left-wing association addressing physical culture. Elvira was a member of several...
sigue leyendo

Marie-Claire Chevalier
1955 – 2022

The one whose trial for illegal abortion changed the law against abortion in France
In 1971, Marie-Claire Chevalier was 16 years old when she became pregnant after being raped by a boy two years older than her in high school. The young woman asked her mother to help her have an abortion. The mother turned to an underground doctor, but her daughter suffered a hemorrhage that forced her to go the hospital. Her rapist, arrested for stealing a car, decided to turn her in against his own freedom. She was directly accused, as were four other women, including her mother, because in 1971 the voluntary termination of a pregnancy was illegal in France and punishable by six months to two years in prison. She was then convicted at the Bobigny trial and all were defended by lawyer Gisèle Halimi.

Gisèle Halimi made this trial and Marie-Claire Chevalier a political symbol for the right to abortion. The case will forever mark French history and symbolize real progress for women’s rights. Extremely mediatized, the trial closely followed by many personalities ended with a brilliant victory. Three years later with this judgement, things started to move. This event contributed to the adoption of the Veil law and the legalization of abortion in France in 1975.
sigue leyendo

Marie-Claire Chevalier
1955 – 2022

The one whose trial for illegal abortion changed the law against abortion in France
In 1971, Marie-Claire Chevalier was 16 years old when she became pregnant after being raped by a boy two years older than her in high school. The young woman asked her mother to help her have an abortion. The mother turned to an underground doctor, but her daughter suffered a hemorrhage that forced her to go the hospital. Her rapist, arrested for stealing a car, decided to turn her in against his own freedom. She was directly accused, as were four other women, including her mother, because in 1971 the voluntary termination of a pregnancy was illegal in France and punishable by six months to two years in prison. She was then convicted at the Bobigny trial and all were defended by lawyer Gisèle Halimi.

Gisèle Halimi made this trial and Marie-Claire Chevalier a political symbol for the right to abortion. The case will forever mark French history and symbolize real progress for women’s rights. Extremely mediatized, the trial closely followed by many personalities ended with a brilliant victory. Three years later with this judgement, things started to move. This event contributed to the adoption of the Veil law and the legalization of abortion in France in 1975.
sigue leyendo

Marie-Claire Chevalier
1955 – 2022

The one whose trial for illegal abortion changed the law against abortion in France
In 1971, Marie-Claire Chevalier was 16 years old when she became pregnant after being raped by a boy two years older than her in high school. The young woman asked her mother to help her have an abortion. The mother turned to an underground doctor, but her daughter suffered a hemorrhage that forced her to go the hospital. Her rapist, arrested for stealing a car, decided to turn her in against his own freedom. She was directly accused, as were four other women, including her mother, because in 1971 the voluntary termination of a pregnancy was illegal in France and punishable by six months to two...
sigue leyendo

Maria Lejárraga
1874 – 1974

She was writing and her husband harvesting the glory, fame and money!
Writer, feminist, deputy, polyglot and socialist who opposed to the death penalty and legal prostitution. She advocated for education, work and equal rights for women in Spain. A very open-minded and visionary woman who had to pay a high price imposed by her gender.

María Lejárraga comes from the region of La Rioja from an economically stable middle class family. She was able to receive good education and became a teacher. During her teaching career she discovered her passion for writing. She was very talented and ready to share her ideas and stories with the world. But, that´s where she bumped into a big obstacle. At the beginning of the XX century being a female writer was seen as immoral work, especially for an educator. If she had risked meeting her goals, she could have lost her teaching job. She found a solution to this problem in her marriage by publishing her works under her husband's name. So, she was writing and waiting at home and he was the one receiving praise and applause at the premiers of the plays. Before dying, her husband confirmed the rumours circulating in theatre circles that she was the true author of his works.
sigue leyendo

Maria Lejárraga
1874 – 1974

She was writing and her husband harvesting the glory, fame and money!
Writer, feminist, deputy, polyglot and socialist who opposed to the death penalty and legal prostitution. She advocated for education, work and equal rights for women in Spain. A very open-minded and visionary woman who had to pay a high price imposed by her gender.

María Lejárraga comes from the region of La Rioja from an economically stable middle class family. She was able to receive good education and became a teacher. During her teaching career she discovered her passion for writing. She was very talented and ready to share her ideas and stories with the world. But, that´s where she bumped into a big obstacle. At the beginning of the XX century being a female writer was seen as immoral work, especially for an educator. If she had risked meeting her goals, she could have lost her teaching job. She found a solution to this problem in her marriage by publishing her works under her husband's name. So, she was writing and waiting at home and he was the one receiving praise and applause at the premiers of the plays. Before dying, her husband confirmed the rumours circulating in theatre circles that she was the true author of his works.
sigue leyendo

Maria Lejárraga
1874 – 1974

She was writing and her husband harvesting the glory, fame and money!
Writer, feminist, deputy, polyglot and socialist who opposed to the death penalty and legal prostitution. She advocated for education, work and equal rights for women in Spain. A very open-minded and visionary woman who had to pay a high price imposed by her gender.

María Lejárraga comes from the region of La Rioja from an economically stable middle class family. She was able to receive good education and became a teacher. During her teaching career she discovered her passion for writing. She was very...
sigue leyendo

María Bernaldo de Quirós
1898 – 1983

As public opinion evolves, people will realize that women can do more than just embroidery.
María de la Salud Bernaldo de Quirós y Bustillo was the first Spanish woman to obtain a pilot's license and to take advantage of the Divorce Law of the Republic.

She came from an aristocratic family and received a good education, but was attracted to aviation at a young age. She was married twice, the first marriage being a real tragedy (she lost her husband and 2 children). During her second marriage, thanks to her friendships in aviation circles, she decided to follow her vocation and started training.

When María enrolled in the Spanish Royal Air Club, she was the only woman out of eighteen students. Her instructor claimed that women lacked the spirit of sacrifice necessary for flying, but he considered María an exceptional student. By the time she received her license, she had already separated from her husband. She was also one of the first women to take advantage of the Divorce Law of the second Republic. Once she had the license...
sigue leyendo

María Bernaldo de Quirós
1898 – 1983

As public opinion evolves, people will realize that women can do more than just embroidery.
María de la Salud Bernaldo de Quirós y Bustillo was the first Spanish woman to obtain a pilot's license and to take advantage of the Divorce Law of the Republic.

She came from an aristocratic family and received a good education, but was attracted to aviation at a young age. She was married twice, the first marriage being a real tragedy (she lost her husband and 2 children). During her second marriage, thanks to her friendships in aviation circles, she decided to follow her vocation and started training.

When María enrolled in the Spanish Royal Air Club, she was the only woman out of eighteen students. Her instructor claimed that women lacked the spirit of sacrifice necessary for flying, but he considered María an exceptional student. By the time she received her license, she had already separated from her husband. She was also one of the first women to take advantage of the Divorce Law of the second Republic. Once she had the license...
sigue leyendo

María Bernaldo de Quirós
1898 – 1983

As public opinion evolves, people will realize that women can do more than just embroidery.
María de la Salud Bernaldo de Quirós y Bustillo was the first Spanish woman to obtain a pilot's license and to take advantage of the Divorce Law of the Republic.

She came from an aristocratic family and received a good education, but was attracted to aviation at a young age. She was married twice, the first marriage being a real tragedy (she lost her husband and 2 children). During her second marriage, thanks to her friendships in aviation circles, she decided to follow her vocation and started training...
sigue leyendo

María Goyri
1873 – 1954

The fact that she was a woman put her in the shadow of the famous man - her husband.
Researcher, philologist, educator, writer and active advocate of women’s rights. She is the first woman to graduate from a Spanish university with a degree in philosophy and writing. Her studies on Spanish ballads, carried out with her husband Ramón Menéndez Pidal, laid the foundations for research in the field, although only her husband’s name became known. She was also one of the first women to go to a gym to fight the arthritis she suffered from at a young age, a very unusual activity for a girl at that time.

Maria Goyri was born in Madrid and raised by her mother who made sure that her daughter received a very well planned and organised education at home. She continued her formal education and received the titles of Governess and Professor of Commerce as well as the title of a teacher. First, she attended the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters without enrolling, and a year later applied for permission to open a women’s study programme. The authorization was granted, but on the condition that she wouldn’t communicate with male students, enter the classroom next to the professor, and sit in a separate chair next to him during class. She was the first official female student...
sigue leyendo

María Goyri
1873 – 1954

The fact that she was a woman put her in the shadow of the famous man - her husband.
Researcher, philologist, educator, writer and active advocate of women’s rights. She is the first woman to graduate from a Spanish university with a degree in philosophy and writing. Her studies on Spanish ballads, carried out with her husband Ramón Menéndez Pidal, laid the foundations for research in the field, although only her husband’s name became known. She was also one of the first women to go to a gym to fight the arthritis she suffered from at a young age, a very unusual activity for a girl at that time.

Maria Goyri was born in Madrid and raised by her mother who made sure that her daughter received a very well planned and organised education at home. She continued her formal education and received the titles of Governess and Professor of Commerce as well as the title of a teacher. First, she attended the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters without enrolling, and a year later applied for permission to open a women’s study programme. The authorization was granted...
sigue leyendo

María Goyri
1873 – 1954

The fact that she was a woman put her in the shadow of the famous man - her husband.
Researcher, philologist, educator, writer and active advocate of women’s rights. She is the first woman to graduate from a Spanish university with a degree in philosophy and writing. Her studies on Spanish ballads, carried out with her husband Ramón Menéndez Pidal, laid the foundations for research in the field, although only her husband’s name became known. She was also one of the first women to go to a gym to fight the arthritis she suffered from at a young age, a very...
sigue leyendo

Elisabeta Rizea
1912 – 2003

Despite suffering severe torture, she kept defending her beliefs and supported a group of anti-communist partisans.
Elisabeta was born into a family of peasants (Șuța) in a village in Southern Romania – Domnești, Argeș county. She got married at 19 years old and took the last name of her husband, Gheorghe Rizea.

She was set on track for an ordinary country life, but little did she know that the end of World War II would mean the beginning of her own war with the communist authorities, imposed by the Soviet army during that time. Her uncle, a local leader of the National Peasants’ Party, was killed by the secret police, which led her husband to join an anti-communist guerilla group, led by Colonel Gheorghe Arsenescu. Thus, Elisabeta became an informant and supplies provider for the group.
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Elisabeta Rizea
1912 – 2003

Despite suffering severe torture, she kept defending her beliefs and supported a group of anti-communist partisans.
Elisabeta was born into a family of peasants (Șuța) in a village in Southern Romania – Domnești, Argeș county. She got married at 19 years old and took the last name of her husband, Gheorghe Rizea.

She was set on track for an ordinary country life, but little did she know that the end of World War II would mean the beginning of her own war with the communist authorities, imposed by the Soviet army during that time. Her uncle, a local leader of the National Peasants’ Party, was killed by the secret police, which led her husband to join an anti-communist guerilla group, led by Colonel Gheorghe Arsenescu. Thus, Elisabeta became an informant and supplies provider for the group.
sigue leyendo

Elisabeta Rizea
1912 – 2003

Despite suffering severe torture, she kept defending her beliefs and supported a group of anti-communist partisans.
Elisabeta was born into a family of peasants (Șuța) in a village in Southern Romania – Domnești, Argeș county. She got married at 19 years old and took the last name of her husband, Gheorghe Rizea.

She was set on track for an ordinary country life, but little did she know that the end of World War II would mean the beginning of her own war with the communist authorities, imposed by the Soviet army during that time. Her uncle, a local leader of the National Peasants’ Party, was killed by...
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Florica Bagdasar
1901 – 1978

A doctor, a politician, the first female minister in Romania, a person who led to change everywhere she had been.
Florica Bagdasar, maiden name Ciumetti, was born in Monastir, now Macedonian territory, in a Macedo-Romanian family – Romanians originating from the South of Danube. Because of World War I, the family was forced to move a lot and after attending different secondary schools, she finally graduated in 1925 from the Medicine Faculty in Bucharest.

In 1927 she married a fellow doctor, Dumitru Bagdasar, with whom she soon left to study in the United States, at Harvard University. While there she received a Rockefeller scholarship and specialized in neurosurgery. After their return to Romania, they opened a neurosurgery clinic in Bucharest, which they managed as a team. Further down her professional road, she chose to specialize in infantile neuropsychiatry – a specialty that she would also promote during her teaching position – and elaborated several educational materials for children.
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Florica Bagdasar
1901 – 1978

A doctor, a politician, the first female minister in Romania, a person who led to change everywhere she had been.
Florica Bagdasar, maiden name Ciumetti, was born in Monastir, now Macedonian territory, in a Macedo-Romanian family – Romanians originating from the South of Danube. Because of World War I, the family was forced to move a lot and after attending different secondary schools, she finally graduated in 1925 from the Medicine Faculty in Bucharest.

In 1927 she married a fellow doctor, Dumitru Bagdasar, with whom she soon left to study in the United States, at Harvard University. While there she received a Rockefeller scholarship and specialized in neurosurgery. After their return to Romania, they opened a neurosurgery clinic in Bucharest, which they managed as a team. Further down her professional road, she chose to specialize in infantile neuropsychiatry – a specialty that she would also promote during her teaching position – and elaborated several educational materials for children.
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Florica Bagdasar
1901 – 1978

A doctor, a politician, the first female minister in Romania, a person who led to change everywhere she had been.
Florica Bagdasar, maiden name Ciumetti, was born in Monastir, now Macedonian territory, in a Macedo-Romanian family – Romanians originating from the South of Danube. Because of World War I, the family was forced to move a lot and after attending different secondary schools, she finally graduated in 1925 from the Medicine Faculty in Bucharest.

In 1927 she married a fellow doctor, Dumitru Bagdasar, with whom she soon left to study in the United States, at Harvard University. While there she received a Rockefeller scholarship and specialized in...
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Dimitrana Ivanova
1881 – 1960

If you want to know what perseverance looks like, read her story.
Dimitrana Ivanova, maiden name Petrova, was the daughter of a craftsman and trader and of a priest’s daughter. She was born in Rousse, a big city in Bulgaria at the time, and she graduated the high school for girls there. She married Doncho Ivanov in 1914, thus becoming Dimitrana Ivanova.

Because at the time the high school for girls had one grade less than the boys, this would serve as a pretext to deny women access to higher education at the Bulgarian University in Sofia, so Dimitrana had no other choice but to enroll in a foreign university, Zurich University in Switzerland, where she took pedagogy and philosophy classes. Due to several family tragedies and her family’s bankruptcy, she had to return home before her final exam and could not get back to take it, so she did not graduate. She was forced to seek employment and she became a teacher, passing all the legally required exams to become one. As a teacher, Dimitrana’s career was often affected by several discriminatory laws (married women were not allowed to work; later they were permitted to work after getting married, but they had to accept a reduced salary; female teachers had to retire by the age of 40 and the number of female teachers in a certain district could not exceed the number of male teachers).
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Dimitrana Ivanova
1881 – 1960

If you want to know what perseverance looks like, read her story.
Dimitrana Ivanova, maiden name Petrova, was the daughter of a craftsman and trader and of a priest’s daughter. She was born in Rousse, a big city in Bulgaria at the time, and she graduated the high school for girls there. She married Doncho Ivanov in 1914, thus becoming Dimitrana Ivanova.

Because at the time the high school for girls had one grade less than the boys, this would serve as a pretext to deny women access to higher education at the Bulgarian University in Sofia, so Dimitrana had no other choice but to enroll in a foreign university, Zurich University in Switzerland, where she took pedagogy and philosophy classes. Due to several family tragedies and her family’s bankruptcy, she had to return home before her final exam and could not get back to take it, so she did not graduate. She was forced to seek employment and she became a teacher, passing all the legally required exams to become one. As a teacher, Dimitrana’s career was often affected by several discriminatory laws...
sigue leyendo

Dimitrana Ivanova
1881 – 1960

If you want to know what perseverance looks like, read her story.
Dimitrana Ivanova, maiden name Petrova, was the daughter of a craftsman and trader and of a priest’s daughter. She was born in Rousse, a big city in Bulgaria at the time, and she graduated the high school for girls there. She married Doncho Ivanov in 1914, thus becoming Dimitrana Ivanova.

Because at the time the high school for girls had one grade less than the boys, this would serve as a pretext to deny women access to higher education at the Bulgarian University in Sofia, so Dimitrana had no other choice but to enroll in a foreign university, Zurich...
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Thérèse Clerc
1927-2016

Activist for the rights of elderly women, the third wave of feminism
Thérèse Clerc, was a French feminist activist, born on December 9, 1927 in Paris and died on February 16, 2016 in Montreuil, who worked to defend the rights of women, and more specifically those of older women.

At the age of 20, she learned the fashion design profession and married a small entrepreneur who owned an industrial cleaning business. At the turn of May 1968, she advocated for free abortion and contraception within the MLAC movement (Movement for Free Abortion and Contraception). A year later, in 1969, she divorced her husband and bought an apartment in Montreuil, where she performed abortions for free.

Always with the aim of helping women, in 2000, she founded in Montreuil the “House of Women” open to women of all ages, victims of violence, in insertion or reinsertion. Then, in the same year, still in Montreuil, she wanted to found the “House of Babayagas”, an “anti-retirement house” self-managed by the residents, elderly and low-income, around the values of citizenship, secularism, solidarity, ecology and feminism. But she faced some discrimination because...
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Thérèse Clerc
1927-2016

Activist for the rights of elderly women, the third wave of feminism
Thérèse Clerc, was a French feminist activist, born on December 9, 1927 in Paris and died on February 16, 2016 in Montreuil, who worked to defend the rights of women, and more specifically those of older women.

At the age of 20, she learned the fashion design profession and married a small entrepreneur who owned an industrial cleaning business. At the turn of May 1968, she advocated for free abortion and contraception within the MLAC movement (Movement for Free Abortion and Contraception). A year later, in 1969, she divorced her husband and bought an apartment in Montreuil, where she performed abortions for free.

Always with the aim of helping women, in 2000, she founded in Montreuil the “House of Women” open to women of all ages, victims of violence, in insertion or reinsertion. Then, in the same year, still in Montreuil, she...
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Thérèse Clerc
1927-2016

Activist for the rights of elderly women, the third wave of feminism
Thérèse Clerc, was a French feminist activist, born on December 9, 1927 in Paris and died on February 16, 2016 in Montreuil, who worked to defend the rights of women, and more specifically those of older women.

At the age of 20, she learned the fashion design profession and married a small entrepreneur who owned an industrial cleaning business. At the turn of May 1968, she advocated for free abortion and contraception within the MLAC movement (Movement for...
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Rosalind Franklin
1920 – 1958

British biologist and DNA pioneer
On October 18, 1962, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three men, James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. However, this discovery was made possible by the research of Rosalind Franklin, a British chemist and pioneer of molecular biology, who formulated the DNA helical structure in an unpublished report.

In 1951, Rosalind Franklin took up a post at King’s College London and worked on the structure of DNA in collaboration with the physicist Maurice Wilkins. Through her research, she was the first to demonstrate the double helix structure of DNA...
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Rosalind Franklin
1920 – 1958

British biologist and DNA pioneer
On October 18, 1962, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three men, James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. However, this discovery was made possible by the research of Rosalind Franklin, a British chemist and pioneer of molecular biology, who formulated the DNA helical structure in an unpublished report.

In 1951, Rosalind Franklin took up a post at King’s College London and worked on the structure of DNA in collaboration with the physicist Maurice Wilkins. Through her research, she was the first to demonstrate the double helix structure of DNA...
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Rosalind Franklin
1920 – 1958

British biologist and DNA pioneer
On October 18, 1962, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three men, James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. However, this discovery was made possible by the research of Rosalind Franklin, a British chemist and pioneer of molecular biology, who formulated the DNA helical structure in an unpublished report.

In 1951, Rosalind Franklin took up a post at King’s College London and worked on the structure of DNA in collaboration with...
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Franca Rame
1929 – 2013

Actress, writer and activist for the rights of women to be seen and respected
Franca was from Villastanza, Milan, born in a family with ancient theatrical traditions, mostly related to puppet and marionette theater, dating back to the 1600s: her father was an actor and her mother was first a teacher, then an actress. On June 24, 1954, she married actor Dario Fo. From their union on March 31, 1955, their son Jacopo was born in Rome. The Fo-Rame artistic partnership lasted for more than fifty years, with hundreds of shows in different genres: farce and commedia dell’arte (including “Isabella, tre caravelle e un cacciaballe”, from 1963, in which for the first time the protagonist was a “giullaressa” a typical male figure (giullare, in english jester) played by a woman and feminized in its name); political theater (including “Bandiere rosse a Mirafiori – basta con i fascisti!” by Fo, Rame and Lanfranco Binni, 1973); civil and social theater, including “Lo stupro” (the rape), which is the most dramatic demonstration of how theater was for her the way to transform experience. The monologue evokes in a dry style the violence the artist suffered in 1973 by five neo-fascists in Milan, who would be convicted many years later. The Fo-Rame pair had become a political target, but her especially as a woman. Over the years, the shows have brought the news of the moment more and more directly to the stage, addressing social, historical and political issues including the status of women, the status of working mothers, divorce, abortion, sexual violence, drug abuse, the condition of prisoners in jail, fascism and the Resistance. In 1969, Soccorso Rosso, a movement...
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Franca Rame
1929 – 2013

Actress, writer and activist for the rights of women to be seen and respected
Franca was from Villastanza, Milan, born in a family with ancient theatrical traditions, mostly related to puppet and marionette theater, dating back to the 1600s: her father was an actor and her mother was first a teacher, then an actress. On June 24, 1954, she married actor Dario Fo. From their union on March 31, 1955, their son Jacopo was born in Rome. The Fo-Rame artistic partnership lasted for more than fifty years, with hundreds of shows in different genres: farce and commedia dell’arte (including “Isabella, tre caravelle e un cacciaballe”, from 1963, in which for the first time the protagonist was a “giullaressa” a typical male figure (giullare, in english jester) played by a woman and feminized in its name); political theater (including “Bandiere rosse a Mirafiori – basta con i fascisti!” by Fo, Rame and Lanfranco Binni, 1973); civil and social theater, including “Lo stupro” (the rape), which is the most dramatic demonstration of how theater was for her the way to transform experience. The monologue evokes in a dry style the violence the artist suffered in 1973 by five neo-fascists in Milan, who would be...
sigue leyendo

Franca Rame
1929 – 2013

Actress, writer and activist for the rights of women to be seen and respected
Franca was from Villastanza, Milan, born in a family with ancient theatrical traditions, mostly related to puppet and marionette theater, dating back to the 1600s: her father was an actor and her mother was first a teacher, then an actress. On June 24, 1954, she married actor Dario Fo. From their union on March 31, 1955, their son Jacopo was born in Rome. The Fo-Rame artistic partnership lasted for more than fifty years, with hundreds of shows in different genres: farce and commedia dell’arte (including “Isabella, tre caravelle e un cacciaballe”, from 1963...
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Karla Bulovec Mrak
1895 – 1957

She was trying hard to get out of the cage
KARLA BULOVEC MRAK was a Slovenian sculptor, painter and writer who lived in three successive States that existed on the same territory. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Karla was a stubborn and rebellious person which caused her many problems and regardless of the State, she was always marginalized. She was well educated but decided to be, not a teacher, but a (female) sculptor which was not in conformity with social expectations. In 1917 she left the cage of the small provincial city of Ljubljana, and went to Munich, Vienna, Prague and Paris, where she felt relatively freed of social chains. She participated in joint exhibitions with famous Slovenian and European artists in different European countries. Her independent exhibitions, however, were sharply criticized.

She was looked down on because she was poor most of her life and did not conform with social norms. Still, present-day texts about her and her work start with “Karla Bulovec was married to Ivan Mrak”. Likewise in France the socially disturbing Simone de Beauvoir was often referred to as Jean Paul Sartre’s companion, Karla was not referred to by name. Her husband accepted her otherness and understood her, but he himself was...
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Karla Bulovec Mrak
1895 – 1957

She was trying hard to get out of the cage
KARLA BULOVEC MRAK was a Slovenian sculptor, painter and writer who lived in three successive States that existed on the same territory. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Karla was a stubborn and rebellious person which caused her many problems and regardless of the State, she was always marginalized. She was well educated but decided to be, not a teacher, but a (female) sculptor which was not in conformity with social expectations. In 1917 she left the cage of the small provincial city of Ljubljana, and went to Munich, Vienna, Prague and Paris, where she felt relatively freed of social chains. She participated in joint exhibitions with famous Slovenian and European artists in different European countries. Her independent exhibitions, however, were sharply criticized.

She was looked down on because she was poor most of her life and did not conform with social norms. Still, present-day texts about her and her work start with “Karla Bulovec was married to Ivan Mrak”. Likewise in France the socially disturbing...
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Karla Bulovec Mrak
1895 – 1957

She was trying hard to get out of the cage
KARLA BULOVEC MRAK was a Slovenian sculptor, painter and writer who lived in three successive States that existed on the same territory. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Karla was a stubborn and rebellious person which caused her many problems and regardless of the State, she was always marginalized. She was well educated but decided to be, not a teacher, but a (female) sculptor which was not in conformity with social expectations. In 1917 she left the cage of the small provincial city of Ljubljana, and went to Munich, Vienna, Prague and Paris...
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Anna Kuliscioff
1855 – 1925

I hope, for the triumph of the cause of my sex, just a little more solidarity among women
Anna Kuliscioff, protagonist of Italian socialism and feminism, born in 1854 in Moskaja into a wealthy family of Jewish merchants, was encouraged to cultivate her studies with private teachers and became interested in politics at a very early age. In 1871 she moved to Zurich as women were forbidden to enter the University in Russia. In 1873 Russian students were ordered to leave the University of Zurich otherwise they wouldn’t have been admitted to the final examination in Russia. This was a provocation to women as they were accused of going abroad not for study reasons but for sexual leisure. In 1888, in Italy, Anna continued her studies specializing in gynecology, first in Turin, then in Padua. She first found out about the bacterial origin of puerperal fever saving millions of women from death after childbirth. She then began to practice medicine in Milan, travelling to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. She was called the “doctor of the poor.” She was never recognized as a doctor and this was mainly caused by her social and political position. In Milan she came in contact with exponents of feminism who in 1882 had formed the League for Women’s Interests. From here on, Anna’s commitment to the women’s question became increasingly clear and pressing, culminating in her speech at the Milan Philological Circle in April 1890: The Monopoly of Man. The innovative aspect of Anna Kuliscioff’s intervention, however, lies in the way she conceived gender equality:”It is not a condemnation at any cost of the other sex that women demand; on the contrary, they aspire to obtain the conscious and active cooperation of the best men, of those who, having emancipated themselves, at least in part, from sentiments based on customs, prejudices...
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Anna Kuliscioff
1855 – 1925

I hope, for the triumph of the cause of my sex, just a little more solidarity among women
Anna Kuliscioff, protagonist of Italian socialism and feminism, born in 1854 in Moskaja into a wealthy family of Jewish merchants, was encouraged to cultivate her studies with private teachers and became interested in politics at a very early age. In 1871 she moved to Zurich as women were forbidden to enter the University in Russia. In 1873 Russian students were ordered to leave the University of Zurich otherwise they wouldn’t have been admitted to the final examination in Russia. This was a provocation to women as they were accused of going abroad not for study reasons but for sexual leisure. In 1888, in Italy, Anna continued her studies specializing in gynecology, first in Turin, then in Padua. She first found out about the bacterial origin of puerperal fever saving millions of women from death after childbirth. She then began to practice medicine in Milan, travelling to the city’s poorest neighborhoods. She was called the “doctor of the poor.” She was never recognized as a doctor and this was mainly caused by her...
sigue leyendo

Anna Kuliscioff
1855 – 1925

I hope, for the triumph of the cause of my sex, just a little more solidarity among women
Anna Kuliscioff, protagonist of Italian socialism and feminism, born in 1854 in Moskaja into a wealthy family of Jewish merchants, was encouraged to cultivate her studies with private teachers and became interested in politics at a very early age. In 1871 she moved to Zurich as women were forbidden to enter the University in Russia. In 1873 Russian students were...
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Ondina Peteani
1925 – 2003

It's nice to live free
Ondina Peteani is now considered the “first” partisan relay girl but it took years of constant work after her death, to bring her story to light.

Her son Giovanni tells of how she managed to escape from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, during a prisoner march. It was not the first time she had escaped: she had gotten away with it twice before arriving in Germany. Her story would be very adventurous as it is at this point. But Ondina never let nightmare No. 81627 (her code in Auschwitz), get in the way of her plans, her brilliant idea of life. After the war she chose to be a midwife. Together with her partner Gian Luigi Brusadin, a journalist for the “Unità,” she organized the first agency of Editori Riuniti, a lively place where people could meet and talk about politics. Then Ondina created summer camps for children and organized a tent city in Maiano after the Friuli earthquake (1976). And finally as a “gray panther” with her commitment in the CGIL trade union for retired people, she invoked without mincing words that “only a pact between generations can avoid isolation and injustice”. Her son continues bringing her experience to schools highlighting how fundamental the contribution and support of the Women’s Contingent was to the National Liberation Struggle. Their presenc...
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Ondina Peteani
1925 – 2003

It's nice to live free
Ondina Peteani is now considered the “first” partisan relay girl but it took years of constant work after her death, to bring her story to light.

Her son Giovanni tells of how she managed to escape from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, during a prisoner march. It was not the first time she had escaped: she had gotten away with it twice before arriving in Germany. Her story would be very adventurous as it is at this point. But Ondina never let nightmare No. 81627 (her code in Auschwitz), get in the way of her plans, her brilliant idea of life. After the war she chose to be a midwife. Together with her partner Gian Luigi Brusadin, a journalist for the “Unità,” she organized the first agency of Editori Riuniti, a lively place where people could meet and talk about politics. Then Ondina created summer camps for children and organized a tent city in Maiano after the Friuli earthquake (1976). And finally as a “gray panther” with her commitment in the CGIL trade...
sigue leyendo

Ondina Peteani
1925 – 2003

It's nice to live free
Ondina Peteani is now considered the “first” partisan relay girl but it took years of constant work after her death, to bring her story to light.

Her son Giovanni tells of how she managed to escape from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, during a prisoner march. It was not the first time she had escaped: she had gotten away with it twice before arriving in Germany. Her story would be very adventurous as it is at this point. But Ondina never let nightmare No. 81627 (her code in Auschwitz), get in the way...
sigue leyendo

Marion Dönhoff
1909 – 2002

"I always wished I could see a day when we could come together on one side of the dividing river to exchange ideas, then cross the bridge together and continue on the other side."
Marion Countess Dönhoff was one of the most influential journalists of post-war Germany and editor of the prestigious weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT for 30 years. The highly educated noble woman fled east Prussia during the Russian invasion in 1945 – on horseback. Previously she had been managing the family estate for several years after returning from extensive travels through Europe, Africa, and America. Even though she had lost her beloved East Prussian homeland, she promoted the thought of “loving without possessing” rather than advocating the reclaiming of those territories. In her lifetime, she actively worked for reconciliation between the states of the Eastern Bloc and the West, supported West Germany’s active policy toward East Germany, rejected apartheid in South Africa, and continuously called for liberal thinking, tolerance, and justice in her writing. Marion Dönhoff had the ear of leading politicians during her day, among them Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Richard von Weizsäcker. She not only overcame the challenges of being a refugee, losing many of her inherited privileges and her home, she also defied the restrictive female gender roles of her time, when most women were expected to be well-behaved wives and mothers and leave decision making to men. Not only did she have a voice as a leading intellectual with political influence, she also never married and was famous...
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Marion Dönhoff
1909 – 2002

"I always wished I could see a day when we could come together on one side of the dividing river to exchange ideas, then cross the bridge together and continue on the other side."
Marion Countess Dönhoff was one of the most influential journalists of post-war Germany and editor of the prestigious weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT for 30 years. The highly educated noble woman fled east Prussia during the Russian invasion in 1945 – on horseback. Previously she had been managing the family estate for several years after returning from extensive travels through Europe, Africa, and America. Even though she had lost her beloved East Prussian homeland, she promoted the thought of “loving without possessing” rather than advocating the reclaiming of those territories. In her lifetime, she actively worked for reconciliation between the states of the Eastern Bloc and the West, supported West Germany’s active policy toward East Germany, rejected apartheid in South Africa, and continuously called for liberal thinking, tolerance, and justice in her writing. Marion Dönhoff had the ear of leading politicians during her day, among them Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Richard von Weizsäcker. She not only overcame the challenges of being a refugee, losing many...
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Marion Dönhoff
1909 – 2002

"I always wished I could see a day when we could come together on one side of the dividing river to exchange ideas"
Marion Countess Dönhoff was one of the most influential journalists of post-war Germany and editor of the prestigious weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT for 30 years. The highly educated noble woman fled east Prussia during the Russian invasion in 1945 – on horseback. Previously she had been managing the family estate for several years after returning from extensive travels through Europe...
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Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky
1897 – 2000

Architecture and communism: The inventor of the Frankfurt Kitchen
Magarethe Schütte-Lihotzky was one of the first female architects in Austria. Having grown up in the bourgeois Vienna society, she came into contact with the life realities of the poor working class during her studies. This sparked her interest to improve living conditions through the newly emerging social housing. Her most famous contribution was the “Frankfurt kitchen” (1926) which revolutionized the way kitchens were built. Schütte-Lihotzky designed her modular kitchen with the idea in mind that workflows can be optimized like in a factory in order to make life easier for the women who use it and who would (ideally) have more time for themselves. Politically, she sympathized with communist ideals after being disappointed with the European social democratic parties. In 1930 she is invited to work in Moscow to work in social housing projects. In 1939 she joined the Austrian Communist Party (KPÖ). After leaving Russia, she moved to Paris and then to Istanbul, where she became a member of an Austrian resistance group. In 1941 she was arrested shortly after returning to Austria and sent to serve a fifteen-year prison sentence in the women’s penitentiary in Aichach, Bavaria, from which she was liberated by allied troops in April 1945. She worked as a self-employed architect until 1969.
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Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky
1897 – 2000

Architecture and communism: The inventor of the Frankfurt Kitchen
Magarethe Schütte-Lihotzky was one of the first female architects in Austria. Having grown up in the bourgeois Vienna society, she came into contact with the life realities of the poor working class during her studies. This sparked her interest to improve living conditions through the newly emerging social housing. Her most famous contribution was the “Frankfurt kitchen” (1926) which revolutionized the way kitchens were built. Schütte-Lihotzky designed her modular kitchen with the idea in mind that workflows can be optimized like in a factory in order to make life easier for the women who use it and who would (ideally) have more time for themselves. Politically, she sympathized with communist ideals after being disappointed with the European social democratic parties. In 1930 she is invited to work in Moscow to work in social housing projects. In 1939 she joined the Austrian Communist Party (KPÖ). After leaving Russia, she moved to Paris and then to Istanbul, where she became a member of an Austrian resistance group. In 1941 she was arrested shortly after returning to Austria and sent to serve a fifteen-year prison...
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Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky
1897 – 2000

Architecture and communism: The inventor of the Frankfurt Kitchen
Magarethe Schütte-Lihotzky was one of the first female architects in Austria. Having grown up in the bourgeois Vienna society, she came into contact with the life realities of the poor working class during her studies. This sparked her interest to improve living conditions through the newly emerging social housing. Her most famous contribution was the “Frankfurt kitchen” (1926) which revolutionized the way kitchens were built. Schütte-Lihotzky designed her modular kitchen with the idea in mind that workflows...
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Gerda Taro
1910 – 1937

Pioneer of war photography
Gerda Taro, maiden name Pohorylle, was born in Stuttgart and educated in Leipzig, Germany. As she was from a Jewish family, she fleed from the Nazis to Paris in 1933. There she lived a bohemian lifestyle with her friend Ruth Cerf and eventually met Endre Ernő Friedmann, better known today as Robert Capa. Together, they started documenting the Spanish Civil War in 1935, after Gerda had invented their alter egos in order to better sell Endre’s and her own pictures. Inspired by their own political convictions, they only took pictures of the fight of the republican soldiers against the rebellious francoist soldiers. Both of them tried to be as close to the action as possible – a goal which eventually led to Gerda’s death. Despite the fact that her pictures only cover 1 year of the war, her pictures are those that went around the world. Together with Robert Capa and with David Seymour, during this short period of time she developed modern war photography as we know it today. Since she officially was Capa’s agent and he sold many of her pictures as his own, it took until the 2000s until people began to recognize her as an artist in her own right rather than just his partner: In 2007, the so-called Mexican Suitcase was found in Mexico City, a suitcase containing thousands of negatives believed to be lost by Capa, Taro and Seymour. Since then, many photographs originally attributed to Capa are known to have been taken by Gerda. However, during her short life, Taro was well known and when she was killed in 1937 by a tank, – she was only 26 – thousands of people attended her funeral in Paris. The funeral procession...
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Gerda Taro
1910 – 1937

Pioneer of war photography
Gerda Taro, maiden name Pohorylle, was born in Stuttgart and educated in Leipzig, Germany. As she was from a Jewish family, she fleed from the Nazis to Paris in 1933. There she lived a bohemian lifestyle with her friend Ruth Cerf and eventually met Endre Ernő Friedmann, better known today as Robert Capa. Together, they started documenting the Spanish Civil War in 1935, after Gerda had invented their alter egos in order to better sell Endre’s and her own pictures. Inspired by their own political convictions, they only took pictures of the fight of the republican soldiers against the rebellious francoist soldiers. Both of them tried to be as close to the action as possible – a goal which eventually led to Gerda’s death. Despite the fact that her pictures only cover 1 year of the war, her pictures are those that went around the world. Together with Robert Capa and with David Seymour, during this short period of time she developed modern war photography as we know it today. Since she officially was Capa’s agent and he sold many of her pictures as his own...
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Gerda Taro
1910 – 1937

Pioneer of war photography
Gerda Taro, maiden name Pohorylle, was born in Stuttgart and educated in Leipzig, Germany. As she was from a Jewish family, she fleed from the Nazis to Paris in 1933. There she lived a bohemian lifestyle with her friend Ruth Cerf and eventually met Endre Ernő Friedmann, better known today as Robert Capa. Together, they started documenting the Spanish Civil War in 1935, after Gerda had invented their alter egos in order to better sell Endre’s and her own pictures. Inspired by their own political convictions, they only took pictures of the fight of the republican...
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Florbela Espanca
1894 – 1930

Rebellious affirmation of a destiny in the feminine
Born in Vila Viçosa on December 8, 1894, from an early age her life was marked by several instabilities, which deeply influenced her literary work. Her life, of only 36 years, victim of suicide, after the diagnosis of a pulmonary edema, was tumultuous, restless and full of intimate sufferings, which the author knew how to transform into poetry of the highest quality, loaded with eroticization and femininity.

In 1919, and among more than 300 students, Florbela was one of 14 women to be accepted at the University of Lisbon Law School. However, the first attempts to promote her poetry failed when she was unsuccessful at attracting the attention of literary critics. Florbela Espanca spent a short stay in Guimarães – in November 1923 – while recovering from a relapse, during which she came into contact with some people from the small community.
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Florbela Espanca
1894 – 1930

Rebellious affirmation of a destiny in the feminine
Born in Vila Viçosa on December 8, 1894, from an early age her life was marked by several instabilities, which deeply influenced her literary work. Her life, of only 36 years, victim of suicide, after the diagnosis of a pulmonary edema, was tumultuous, restless and full of intimate sufferings, which the author knew how to transform into poetry of the highest quality, loaded with eroticization and femininity.

In 1919, and among more than 300 students, Florbela was one of 14 women to be accepted at the University of Lisbon Law School. However, the first attempts to promote her poetry failed when she was unsuccessful at attracting the attention of literary critics. Florbela Espanca spent a short stay in Guimarães – in November 1923 – while recovering from a relapse, during which she came into contact with some people from the small community.
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Florbela Espanca
1894 – 1930

Rebellious affirmation of a destiny in the feminine
Born in Vila Viçosa on December 8, 1894, from an early age her life was marked by several instabilities, which deeply influenced her literary work. Her life, of only 36 years, victim of suicide, after the diagnosis of a pulmonary edema, was tumultuous, restless and full of intimate sufferings, which the author knew how to transform into poetry of the highest quality, loaded with eroticization and femininity.

In 1919, and among more than 300 students, Florbela was one of 14 women to be accepted at the University of Lisbon Law...
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Maria José Estanco
1905 – 1999

They ironized that the construction would not stand... but the door was left open for future female architects
Born in Loulé, Maria José entered the School of Fine Arts to study painting. For family reasons she interrupted her studies and moved to Brazil for 2 years, where she witnessed the birth of the city of Marília, working with the Belgian engineer who directed the work. Influenced by this experience, when she returned to Lisbon she began studying Architecture, where, in 1942, she received the award for “best student in Architecture”.

Thus emerged the first Portuguese woman architect. However, despite being considered the best student, she couldn’t enter the working world because the mentalities of the time couldn’t believe that a woman was capable of making a feasible project. Even in newspapers there were caricatures of her making fun of her professional choice. It was all so difficult that she began to dedicate herself to interior decorating and furniture making. Free of charge, she created a section on these areas in the magazine M&B and taught Drawing and Painting classes at the Linhó Prison. She applied to teach and was a teacher at two High Schools. And at the Odivelas Institute.
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Maria José Estanco
1905 – 1999

They ironized that the construction would not stand... but the door was left open for future female architects
Born in Loulé, Maria José entered the School of Fine Arts to study painting. For family reasons she interrupted her studies and moved to Brazil for 2 years, where she witnessed the birth of the city of Marília, working with the Belgian engineer who directed the work. Influenced by this experience, when she returned to Lisbon she began studying Architecture, where, in 1942, she received the award for “best student in Architecture”.

Thus emerged the first Portuguese woman architect. However, despite being considered the best student, she couldn’t enter the working world because the mentalities of the time couldn’t believe that a woman was capable of making a feasible project. Even in newspapers there were caricatures of her making fun of her professional choice. It was all so difficult that she began to dedicate herself to interior decorating and furniture making. Free of charge, she created a section on these areas in the magazine M&B and taught Drawing and Painting classes at the Linhó...
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Maria José Estanco
1905 – 1999

They ironized that the construction would not stand... but the door was left open for future female architects
Born in Loulé, Maria José entered the School of Fine Arts to study painting. For family reasons she interrupted her studies and moved to Brazil for 2 years, where she witnessed the birth of the city of Marília, working with the Belgian engineer who directed the work. Influenced by this experience, when she returned to Lisbon she began studying Architecture, where, in 1942, she received the award for “best student in...
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Maria Isabel Aboim Inglez
1902 – 1963

The indomitable, the woman without fear, a woman of unshakable tenacity, there are several epithets attributed to her and that we revisit today
At the age of 20 she married Carlos Aboim Inglez, whose father had been a minister in the First Republic. Both democrats, their house became a meeting point for political figures. When her husband fell ill with cancer, she decided, with 5 children, to take a degree in Literature. She became a widow at almost 40 years old and had to work hard, because she was persecuted for not being catholic and being anti-fascist. She started her political activity with the Democratic Unity Movement being the first woman to belong to the central commission (1946-1948) and later on, in 1949 in the National Democratic Movement, having an active participation in the presidential elections. Salazar used two forms of repression against her: not only imprisonment, she was arrested 3 times between 1946-1948, preventing her by all means from earning a living. In 1948, she was forbidden to run the women’s college that she had set up with her husband and where she was a teacher, which promoted a secular, progressive and social education, where students from different social strata crossed paths in the same classes. On February 11, 1949, the school was definitively closed, in retaliation for the outstanding role she had been assuming in the opposition to the regime. In the same year she was forbidden from teaching by the government...
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Maria Isabel Aboim Inglez
1902 – 1963

The indomitable, the woman without fear, a woman of unshakable tenacity, there are several epithets attributed to her and that we revisit today
At the age of 20 she married Carlos Aboim Inglez, whose father had been a minister in the First Republic. Both democrats, their house became a meeting point for political figures. When her husband fell ill with cancer, she decided, with 5 children, to take a degree in Literature. She became a widow at almost 40 years old and had to work hard, because she was persecuted for not being catholic and being anti-fascist. She started her political activity with the Democratic Unity Movement being the first woman to belong to the central commission (1946-1948) and later on, in 1949 in the National Democratic Movement, having an active participation in the presidential elections. Salazar used two forms of repression against her: not only imprisonment, she was arrested 3 times between 1946-1948, preventing her by all means from earning a living. In 1948, she was forbidden to run the women’s college that she had set up with her husband and where she was a teacher, which promoted a secular, progressive...
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Maria Isabel Aboim Inglez
1902 – 1963

The indomitable, the woman without fear, a woman of unshakable tenacity
At the age of 20 she married Carlos Aboim Inglez, whose father had been a minister in the First Republic. Both democrats, their house became a meeting point for political figures. When her husband fell ill with cancer, she decided, with 5 children, to take a degree in Literature. She became a widow at almost 40 years old and had to work hard, because she was persecuted for not being catholic and being anti-fascist. She started her political activity with the Democratic...
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Ilka Burger Vašte
1891 – 1967

Rebellious throughout her life
ILKA BURGER VAŠTE was one of the most prolific Slovenian female writers, a novelist who wrote ten historical novels. She attended a secondary teachers’ college and served as a teacher at the Cyril Method School in Trieste and the Girls’ school in Ljubljana. She embraced the career of a teacher, which was the only convenient profession for women in those days. Women could be either housewives, if they were married, or teachers, if they were single. She was interested in literature and painting, which she learned from Ivana Kobilica, a famous Slovenian female painter. In her novel Mejaši (Neigbours at the border) she revived the national struggle of the Slovenians against the Lombards. She was known for her deep anti-clerical and liberal beliefs. Except for a street in her native Novo mesto named after her, nothing much is known about her and she definitely belongs on the lists of belittled Slovenian female artists.

She wrote: Because I was a shy and obedient little girl, I bitterly mocked courageous women who were fighting for women’s equal rights, but became aware rather soon that I was treated unfairly just because I was a woman. I was in the shadow, because I knew very well that my parents expected me to do so, but at the same time I decided that by my own force I would gain my place in the sunshine”
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Ilka Burger Vašte
1891 – 1967

Rebellious throughout her life
ILKA BURGER VAŠTE was one of the most prolific Slovenian female writers, a novelist who wrote ten historical novels. She attended a secondary teachers’ college and served as a teacher at the Cyril Method School in Trieste and the Girls’ school in Ljubljana. She embraced the career of a teacher, which was the only convenient profession for women in those days. Women could be either housewives, if they were married, or teachers, if they were single. She was interested in literature and painting, which she learned from Ivana Kobilica, a famous Slovenian female painter. In her novel Mejaši (Neigbours at the border) she revived the national struggle of the Slovenians against the Lombards. She was known for her deep anti-clerical and liberal beliefs. Except for a street in her native Novo mesto named after her, nothing much is known about her and she definitely belongs on the lists of belittled Slovenian female artists.

She wrote: Because I was a shy and obedient little girl, I bitterly mocked courageous women who were...
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Ilka Burger Vašte
1891 – 1967

Rebellious throughout her life
ILKA BURGER VAŠTE was one of the most prolific Slovenian female writers, a novelist who wrote ten historical novels. She attended a secondary teachers’ college and served as a teacher at the Cyril Method School in Trieste and the Girls’ school in Ljubljana. She embraced the career of a teacher, which was the only convenient profession for women in those days. Women could be...
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