Slovenian Maidservants

Grand Canal postcard. Maksimiljan Košir,

In the 19th and 20th centuries Slovenian women flocked to Trieste to work as maidservants and later as housemaids. In the 19th century, Trieste was the most important port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Until the outbreak of World War I, it was a multicultural and economically flourishing city, which attracted numerous Slovenian immigrants from its… Continue reading Slovenian Maidservants

Women in Karst Quarries and Stonemasonry

Works in the Kopriva quarry, 1950. Personal archive of Marta Širca

The 19th and 20th centuries were the golden age of extracting and cutting stone in Karst. Women played a supporting but nevertheless essential role in this craft that is today being revived precisely by them. In Slovenia, the tradition of quarrying and cutting stone spans more than a thousand years. Karst, in particular, is well… Continue reading Women in Karst Quarries and Stonemasonry

Victims of Witch Trials

The town and castle of Ribnica (detail). Engraving from The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (1689) by J. W. von Valvasor. Museum of Ribnica

In the Slovenian lands, witch trials spanned a period of 200 years (1546–1746) and resulted in the death of between 500 and 1,000 victims. Most of them were women. “Witch hunt” is a synonym for the persecution of all those who are different or dissident, as suspected culprits for all that is wrong in the… Continue reading Victims of Witch Trials

The Forgotten Half of Novo Mesto

Ilka Vašte (detail). Collection of portrait photographs of famous Slovenians (1997), National and University Library, Ljubljana

The Forgotten Half of Novo Mesto project rekindles the memory of Marta Mušič Slapar, Ivana Oblak, Ilka Vašte and other outstanding women who have made a lasting mark on the capital of the Dolenjska region. The economic and cultural centre of south-east Slovenia, founded as a city already in the distant year 1365, bears imprints… Continue reading The Forgotten Half of Novo Mesto

Workers of the Mura Clothing Factory

Mura workers in the sewing workshop at Cvetič, circa 1952. Photo owned by Marija Drvarič, the first person from the left (with a headscarf, looking back). Photo archive of the Murska Sobota Pomurje Museum

For nearly half a century, the Mura clothing factory, which employed mostly women, was a synonym for hard work but good salaries, quality garments, and general progress in the Prekmurje region. The Mura clothing factory was the result of a merger and nationalisation of the Cvetič (1925) and the Šiftar (1932) factories following World War… Continue reading Workers of the Mura Clothing Factory

Workers in Tobacco Industry

“Cigar woman” at work. National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia

The lion’s share of tobacco factory workers was represented by women, from the founding of the Ljubljana-based tobacco factory in 1871 to the discontinuation of the tobacco line in 2004.   After the Sugar Factory fire in 1873, the Ljubljana-based Tobacco Factory was moved to the new complex on Tržaška. It triggered the growth of… Continue reading Workers in Tobacco Industry

Alojzija Štebi

Alojzija Štebi (detail). Photo archive of the former Historical Archives of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Slovenia, I/298, Archives of the Republic of Slovenia, SI AS 1549

Born in 1883 in Ljubljana, where she died in 1956. Educator, activist, editor, journalist and among the first Slovenian women politicians. Alojzija Štebi was one of the first politicians among Slovenian women, and one of the most prominent Slovenian and Yugoslavian feminists. She began her career as a teacher which was one of the few… Continue reading Alojzija Štebi

Women in World War I

Women and children in Tržič knit socks and jackets for soldiers. Tedenske slike, 23 September 1914, National and University Library, Ljubljana

When we think of World War I, we see the soldiers suffering on the fronts; however, the struggles of women in cities, behind the lines, or even on the fronts were no less significant. World War I interrupted the period of modernization and democratization in the early 20th century. Although people first thought it would… Continue reading Women in World War I

Women in the Ironworks

Kropa factory department for machine-made shoe nails, 1920. Iron Forging Museum Kropa, Radovljica Municipality Museums

Though it was rare for women to do waged labour in late 19th-century Slovenia, the ironworks as an important industry at the time also employed women. Nail making is part of the heavy (iron) industry and is, as such, usually not associated with women. As historical accounts of nail makers are written in the masculine… Continue reading Women in the Ironworks

Marina Melhiorca

Detail from the etching Six Men and Women Beggars, 1630. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The first peddler and smuggler known by name from the Idrija-Cerkno Hills. Born in the village of Šebrelje at the end of the 17th century; place and date of death unknown. Marina (Marija) Melhiorca was a subject of the Tolmin manor from the village of Šebrelje. Court records from her trial, held in Idrija from… Continue reading Marina Melhiorca

Women of Lükarija

A demonstration of onion braiding. Photo Samanta Gomboc, Mariborinfo

From 19th to mid-20th century, onion growing and trade represented the main livelihood of Lükarija farmers and was exclusively run by women. The traditional farmers’ way of life was characterized by hard manual labour which engaged all family members. Women often performed heavy physical work and took on men’s tasks when men were unable to… Continue reading Women of Lükarija

Partisan Doctors and Nurses

Nurses from the Franja Partisan Hospital, 1944. Standing from right to left: Jolanda Žagar, Anica Štucin, Adelina Zanitti, and Mira Mihelin Nataša. Cerkno Museum

Between 1942 and 1945, female partisan doctors and nurses and their fellow male combatants ran the most extensive resistance medical service in Europe in secret hospitals. Between 1939 and 1945, the world was at war. The resistance movement against Nazism and Fascism also developed in Slovenia, but the occupying forces did not acknowledge the partisans… Continue reading Partisan Doctors and Nurses

Retracing the Herstory of Celje

Celje city centre with the City Hall, mid-20th century. Photo Josip Pelikan, Celje Museum of Recent History

The herstorical figures of Celje include Vera Levstik, Tončka Čeč, Pavla Jesih, Olga Vrabič, Božena Pelikan, Ana Baumbach and others highlighted by the TraCEs project. The walk through the history of Celje from a female perspective begins outside the Celje Museum of Recent History, the former City Hall that was also home to the city’s… Continue reading Retracing the Herstory of Celje

Vida Tomšič

Vida Tomšič (detail), secretary of the Federal People’s Assembly of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia and president of Antifascist Women’s Front of Yugoslavia, 1948. AFŽ Archive

Born in 1913 in Ljubljana, where she died in 1998. Lawyer, partisan, politician and the first Slovenian female Minister in the first Slovenian government in Yugoslavia. Vida Bernot enrolled in the Ljubljana Faculty of Law in the 1930s, when more and more women opted for university studies. Her general disappointment over the political conditions in… Continue reading Vida Tomšič