Women Can...

Make Their Living By Themselves

  • At the time of Eliška Krásnohorská’s birth, both unmarried and working women were marginalised by the society and were considered dishonourable (as often the case with female factory and agriculture workers).
  • At this time, society made great distinctions between women on the basis of their origin, ethnicity, marital status, etc.
  • However, first institutions for girls were created, teaching them how to earn money while being respected by society at the same time. Literary work was one of the first acceptable ways for women to make a living. 
  • Poor women were newly given the opportunity to learn crafts that provided them with security and orient them in adult practical life. They acquired these skills mainly thanks to Spolek sv. Ludmily (St. Ludmila Society), led by Marie Riegerová-Palacká, and Ženský výrobní spolek (The Women’s Production Association), founded by Karolína Světlá and Eliška Krásnohorská. Thanks to the so-called “poptavárna” (inquiry service), they could find housing, and thanks to “záložena” (the credit unions), they could learn how to manage their money.
  • The American Ladies Club, founded by Vojta Náprstek, enabled women to attend theoretical and practical lectures in various fields of science. For example, participants learned how to use a sewing machine or how their bodies work (within the constraints of scientific knowledge available at the time).

Women’s Production Association of Bohemia, photo of girls from the family school, Eliška Krásnohorská Archive, Gender Studies, o.p.s.

Karolína Světlá, Eliška Krásnohorská Archive, Gender Studies, o.p.s.