Women in the processes of modernisation


On the cultural development level of some eras, certain states and societies depend on the position of women in those societies and their participation in social processes.

In patriarchal cultures the relation towards women was dual: a women had no social influence, however she received huge respect as a model mother and wife. A patriarchal environment did not allow a change in the traditional patterns of behavior, expressed in the perception of women as inferior human beings, which reflected on the legal consequences of their roles, status and social possibilities. Women were the foundation of the family, however they were deprived of their voting, hereditary and legal rights.

The legal discrimination of women could not arrest the process of their emancipation. A right to higher education was the turning point, which enabled not only social communication, it also qualified them for independent professions, which brought economic independence in its stead.

Women realized that they alone would have to change their role in society, and that was impossible without education and an economically independent female population. Already in 1919, the establishment of the Association for the Education of Women and the Protection of Their Rights, later renamed Women’s Movement, was confirmation that a number of educated and self-confident women existed at the time. In 1927 the Association of University Educated Women was established, and in the same year also the Women’s Party. Women’s associations launched their own newspapers, and the fact that the Women’s Movement had researched the feminist ideology and established its method of operation speaks of their highly organized activities.

While the women from Yugoslavia were highly successful in international organizations, their activities within the country were carried out under extremely difficult circumstances. Even though Serbian intellectuals and all democratic movements in Serbia believed that women should be conscious and emancipated individuals, i.e. should enjoy the same rights as the opposite sex, radical changes in the position of women in the legal and social sphere met with numerous hindrances, which needed to be overcome in modernized Yugoslav society. The women’s issue was only one segment of social life in the “greatly drawn out“ process of modernization.


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