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Maria Bucur
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Katerina Dalakoura
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Krassimira Daskalova
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Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová
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Abstract

This Forum introduces an innovative topic: the short but rich story of the local network of Eastern European feminists, the Little Entente of Women (LEW), which so far has attracted little attention among historians working on the region. The four authors present their analysis through the prism of entangled history. The introduction contextualizes the creation and activities of the LEW by providing background information about the post-World War I period, the tensions and struggles between the revisionist and antirevisionist states, and the entanglements between feminist and national goals and between nationalism and internationalism among women's movements and feminisms at the time.

The decade following World War I was transformative for Europe in many ways. Some empires (Russian, Habsburg, Ottoman) collapsed. Others (Great Britain, France) saw their stars rise again as “protectors” of non-European territories, in effect giving rise to a new stage of colonialism and rival hegemonies in the reconstructed map of the world. And new states came into being, with movements that challenged the established political order in those countries. Among the newly emerged or enlarged postimperial states in Europe, the political leaders of Czechoslovakia, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (after 1929 termed Yugoslavia), and Romania came together in an antirevisionist alliance, the Little Entente (LE), under the auspices of France. Initially they focused on Hungary as a possible threat to the post-Versailles order, since after 1918, that country lost territories that it had historically claimed to Czechoslovakia (Slovakia), Romania (Transylvania and the Banat), and Yugoslavia (Slovenia and Croatia). Over the interwar period, the LE grew into a more complex system of cooperation among the signatories, with formal diplomatic and economic councils overseeing their activities.

The work undertaken by the chief diplomats of these countries has been examined up to now as a boys’ club, understood as such without any analytical gender analysis of actions and conversations beyond the closed doors of formal diplomatic negotiation and collaboration. The LE has been described as a development of some significance in interwar diplomacy and evidence of these states’ desire to play a more forceful role in international affairs and the League of Nations.1 Yet a parallel and more expansive transnational network formed by feminists from these and several other postimperial European countries, the Little Entente of Women (LEW), has garnered little attention among historians. The name of this network was articulated as a connection with the diplomatic antirevisionist orientation of the LE. The LEW promoted the idea that durable peace and regional stability could be achieved only with the involvement of both men and women. Another important difference between the LE and the LEW was that while the male organization did not bring Poland and Greece into the pact, these countries were part of the LEW from its very beginning. Some of the first documents of the LEW emphasized the combination of pacifism and feminist goals as unique, something atypical for Western women's organizations at the time.2

The LEW represents an initiative with its own logic, aspirations, and format, relevant on its own terms as a contribution to diplomacy and feminism in interwar Europe. Research published in the Biographical Dictionary of Women's Movements and Feminisms first brought to the attention of a transnational audience fragments of discovery about the women involved in the LEW and some of their actions on behalf of that network in the context of their mini-biographies.3 Some of the research on the LEW has remained in the form of unpublished or somewhat inaccessible work, such as Roxana Cheșchebec's excellent PhD thesis, “Feminist Ideologies and Activism in Romania (Approx. 1890s–1940s): Nationalism and Internationalism in Romanian Projects for Women's Emancipation.”4 This author brings into conversation the tensions that developed during this period among various feminist groups in Romania and connects these internal developments with the aspirations of some among their leaders for transnational networking and international recognition as leverage for internal demands. There are also authors writing in the languages of the region, such as Jasmina Milanović, with the ability to reach a more limited audience.5 In addition, we have authored and shepherded into publication several essays that engage with the work of individuals and groups affiliated with the LEW.6 Isidora Grubački's and Aslı Davaz's recent publications are especially relevant for this introduction.7

Illustration 1.
Illustration 1.

Group photo from the first LEW conference in Bucharest (1923). Seated in front, L–R: C. Botez, A. Theodoropoulou, E. Purkyňová, J. Budzińska-Tylicka, A. Cantacuzino, L. Petković, F. Plamínková, C. Cerkez.

Citation: Aspasia 16, 1; 10.3167/asp.2022.160102

Grubački's theoretically well-informed research emphasizes the interconnectedness of national and regional feminist actions in Eastern Europe, suggesting that the ambiguous character of the LEW is related to the “ideological divergences shared among LEW” liberal feminists who had “profoundly different views regarding the social relations within the nation states.” These differences among the feminists participating in the LEW not only “transgressed” but also challenged their respective nation states from a feminist perspective.8 Davaz's empirical findings, on the other hand, shed light on little-known activities among Southeastern European women within the framework of the first and second Balkan Conferences, held in Athens (1930) and Istanbul (1931) respectively. Finally, Marijana Kardum's 2020 overview provides a useful summary of institutional developments, differences among member countries, and an assessment of the relationship between the LEW and feminist movements in these respective countries. The author concludes that “[r]ather than creating a sustainable single identity to connect women in and around LEW, the organization paid more attention to maintaining the territorial decisions of the peace treaties.”9

Our individual contributions in this Forum extend the findings of these scholars by delving deeper into both the internal and transnational dynamics that animated and frustrated the work of the LEW. We examine this network as a community in which ideas were exchanged, grew, and sometimes bore fruit concerning women's political, economic, and civic rights; what “women” as a category meant socially and culturally, and which women could represent this category; nationalism and women; and involvement in politics, diplomacy, and transnational cooperation. These activities can only be understood as entangled with better-known aspects of diplomacy; national politics; transnational feminist networks, like the International Woman Suffrage Alliance/International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship (IWSA/IAWSEC), the International Council of Women (ICW), and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF); international peace organizations (such as the League of Nations); and nationalism during the interwar period. The innovative approach that we bring to our analysis is inspired by “entangled history,” “histoire croisée,” or “Verflechtungsgeschichte.”10 As some older11 and more recent12 studies dealing with international women's organizations have shown, “international” women's organizations were not only international; and “national” women's activities were not segregated from the goals and agenda of transnational women's organizations. As one fellow feminist historian emphasized, the national and international identities of activists representing women from various national settings were “two sides of the same coin—rather than contradictory.”13 Apart from documents that concern the various actions of women's organizations, the biographical method and biographies of women activists offer especially helpful instruments to enhance researchers’ understanding of these “two sides of the same coin.”14 Our approach is innovative from another point of view: this parallel and common research contributes to historiographies across Europe and beyond, shifting the marginalized position of the study of women's activities to the center of political history, with the express goal of enriching dominant narratives.

We offer our combined insights to suggest that the histories of diplomacy and national politics, women's transnational networks, and nationalism in Europe during the interwar period can be better understood in their full complexity through exploring the activities of the LEW. The successes and failures of feminist movements in the countries we analyze are connected with these transnational networks. Our individual contributions that follow this general introduction focus on specific aspects of the LEW as a transnational network linked to national developments in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

The formal history of the LEW is still being uncovered, in part due to uneven archival records, and in part due to the scattering of these records across the member (and aspiring member) countries and their respective languages. The changing membership of the organization has also made it somewhat difficult to verify that new formations meant both continuity and change in the actions of the initiators of the LEW. The four authors of this Forum have been working on identifying the relevant sources and placing them in a shared space that will allow for more connections and comparisons. What we present below is based on this ongoing research and invites efforts to further dig, uncover, connect, and compare. Our findings are thus both somewhat speculative and evolving.

The LEW came into being at the ninth IWSA congress in Rome, 12–20 May 1923. The women who came together to form the LEW had their own transnational and national agendas. The documents of this first meeting emphasized that the LEW shared the goals of the IWSA and aimed at working for full social, economic, civil, and political rights of “the woman” while trying to overcome discord and clashes among its members.15 According to these documents, members of the LEW were all organizations present at the founding of the network: from Bulgaria, the Bulgarian branch of the International League for Peace and Freedom,16 Traen mir (Durable Peace); from Czechoslovakia, Výbor pro volební právo žen (Committee for Women's Suffrage) and Ústřední spolek českých žen (Central Association of Czech Women); from Greece, Syndesmos Ellinodon yper ton Dikaiomaton tis Gynaikos, or Syndesmos gia ta Dikaiomata tis Gynaikas after 1927 (League of Greek Women for Woman's Rights/League for Woman's Rights); from Poland, Klub Polityczny Kobiet Postępowych (Progressive Women's Political Club); from Romania, Consiliul Național al Femeilor Române (The National Council of Romanian Women, NCRW); and from the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, Drustva za prosveħivanie žene i zastitu nenih prava/Ženski pokret (Union for Women's Rights). Any other organizations from the above countries were to be represented through these founding organizations.17

These organizations saw themselves as somewhat marginal newcomers to this network and understood that standing together as a feminist bloc would enable them to claim several interconnected benefits:

  1. 1. Pacifism in the service of antirevisionism: for Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia, accepting the post-Versailles borders and the League of Nations meant trying to secure a peaceful coexistence among the people who lived inside their borders, a worthy if somewhat colonial aim; the Minority Treaties both helped frame how such coexistence could generally proceed and signaled to these feminists the tools for engaging with ethnic minorities who may have espoused revisionist ideas;
  2. 2. A transnational network that could act as a common platform for developing further inroads in the respective countries on behalf of women's rights through joint and coordinated activity, guidance by the most advanced members of the network, international press coverage, the support of Western feminist associations, and activities that would render visible the important enhancements these feminist leaders could bring to their respective countries, understood primarily as national unitary states; and
  3. 3. A position of leadership or hegemony in their respective internal feminist organizations on the part of the association or the women who headed the delegations of LEW member states. In regard to the latter, this was especially the case with Alexandrina Cantacuzino, who became the first President of the LEW.

While these goals each had their institutional, political, and sociocultural specificity, they were also interconnected. Thus, it is impossible to understand how they functioned without thinking of them as entangled—mutually reinforcing, moving in more than one direction, and imbricated with various internal and transnational power structures at the same time. The complexity of these entanglements is also an element of vulnerability: it appears that in some cases, proving their worth to external parties (such as the leadership of the IWSA) could land these feminist leaders in hot water with male politicians when the latter insisted on seeing the LEW as an unofficial, and therefore illegitimate, competitor with the professional diplomatic circles of a particular state.

Within this context and pursuing its complex and changing goals, the LEW engaged in recurrent public performances such as conferences, publications, speeches, and exhibitions. Conferences represented its annual central activity, lasting several days and including many activities to monitor progress on women's issues in the member countries. The new organization held conferences in Bucharest (1–6 November 1923),18 Belgrade (29 October–4 November 1924),19 Athens (6–13 December 1925),20 Prague (31 May–3 June 1927),21 and Warsaw (25–28 June 1929).22

The LEW was envisioned as a transnational network of partners, and as such, the presidency of the organization changed annually by design, with the country where the presidency resided tasked with hosting the next conference. Among the leaders of the LEW were several activists from the Balkan countries: the Romanian Alexandrina Cantacuzino23 (1923–1924), the Serbian Leposava Petković24 (1924–1925), and the Greek Avra Theodoropoulou25 (1925–1927). Two women's activists from East Central European countries—the Czech feminist Františka Plamínková26 (1927–1929) and the Polish activist Dr. Justyna Budzińska-Tylicka27 (1929)—also served as presidents of the LEW.

This way, the burden of seeking appropriate support (meeting space, exhibition space, official guests, and any additional events like receptions and meetings with the press) would fall predictably and equitably on each of the members.28 The network divided the work to be done in researching the current conditions of women in the respective countries. This labor was collaborative and cumulative in form, though the impact of the research and proposals depended a great deal on the audience that heard and read the reports about economic inequality, civic inequality, lack of access to services for working women, and political discrimination on the basis of gender.

Our individual contributions explore the extent to which the national organizations from member countries saw themselves as representatives of various feminist groups and categories of women in their states. In the case of Czechoslovakia, for instance, there were tensions between the leading figures within the LEW network. Internal documents reveal an explicit anti-German stance with regard to the ethnic minorities in that country, specifically their role in the representation of women from Czechoslovakia on the international level. In Romania, leftist feminist groups and personalities, like Sofia Nădejde, were not invited to participate in discussions about changes in policies with regard to working-class women. Meanwhile, Greek and Bulgarian feminist organizations, despite their differing political associations, collaborated to a certain extent, sharing a largely common agenda. As our research proceeds, we hope to further test the extent to which diverse ideological and ethnic interests present in each country also became articulated through the positions presented by that country's LEW representatives.

The activities of the LEW stretched from its initial moment of formation in 1923 into the 1930s. As early as 1923 there was a conflict over the idea of retaining Bulgarian member organizations as a means to encourage pacifism across the revisionist versus antirevisionist diplomatic camps in Europe. By 1930, the network's activities became less regular; the annual large conferences that had started in 1923 and continued until 1929 were discontinued. Tensions among members on the basis of the initial antirevisionist stance and in view of actual diplomatic-political tensions in the Balkans and further north in Eastern Europe weakened transnational pacifist activism, especially where LEW members were still by and large second-class, non-voting citizens of their countries, as was the case for most women in Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

New attempts to maintain a network of interests among some LEW members yielded several results. In 1929, a Union of Slavic Women came into being on the initiative of Czech women. It included three LEW members (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia), together with non-member Bulgaria and inclusive of Russian émigrés. Romanian and Greek LEW members, together with other Balkan feminist associations, embraced a male political initiative, pursuing a multilevel collaboration among Balkan states. This initiative resulted in the establishment of the Balkan Entente in 1934, which included Greece, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Turkey. After the 1933 restoration, LEW activities continued but membership was limited only to the countries forming the political Little Entente. By the mid-1930s, with European peace increasingly unstable, the LEW found itself in the crosshairs of aggressive Nazi expansionism and changing defensive alliances of states, together with rising fascism and aggressive exclusionary nationalism. The network folded under the weight of these developments, which women, as non-voting citizens in most of these countries, simply could not undo.

The four contributions that follow focus on various aspects of this complicated story. Krassimira Daskalova examines how Bulgaria's membership of the LEW became a bone of contention among other members. The author presents both the varied perspectives of Bulgarian feminists and the divergent positions that Romanian and Serbian leaders took. Daskalova follows the attempts to revive the network in the 1930s through efforts by Yugoslav and Bulgarian feminists to find common ground around a possible Balkan network. An important aspect of these efforts was the continued insistence among some leaders that there was room for alliances between antirevisionist states (Romania, Greece, Yugoslavia) and revisionist states (especially Bulgaria). The LEW is shown to have been a network that generated a spirit of reconciliation and not just antirevisionist anxiety, as seen in the LE.

Katerina Dalakoura's article focuses more directly on the question of the political objectives of the LEW's establishment and activities; and the ways in which LEW members understood themselves to be political subjects in terms of the ideas that connected the network, their specific aspirations, and the type of activities they undertook. Focusing on both transnational aspects of the LEW and international diplomacy in the region, as well as specifically on the ways in which Greek feminists understood and worked on their goals, the author shows how transnational conversations became entangled with proposals for specific national policies. Dalakoura suggests that Greek feminists worked strategically across ideological and organizational differences with some success, while being in line with the Greek state's foreign policy on the Balkans, and their shifts adapted to the international diplomacy of the time. The latter is reflected in Greek feminists’ increasing interest in the Balkan Conferences (1930–1934) and their declining activity within the LEW after 1928. The article raises the following question, calling for a comparative exploration of the issue: In the context of the existing contacts and support of Greek governments and political figures of the time for Greek feminists, to what extent were the political interventions of the Greek members of the LEW “independent”? In other words, did Greek feminist organizations and, by extension, other LEW members have their own political agenda, which was in line with the goals of Greek foreign policy, or did they just faithfully follow and serve these goals?

Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová presents a case study focused on the internal tensions inside the Czechoslovak section and the impact of those conflicts on the development of the network.29 In Dudeková Kováčová's analysis, LEW antirevisionism brought about its undoing and its reorganization in 1930s. An important aspect of this case study is the outsized role that Františka Plamínková (seen as a “progressive liberal feminist”) played in the LEW and the ways in which she and Eliška Purkyňová (representing the more conservative and Pan-Slavic strand) fought for dominance in the network. As a country that presented as lived reality the goals that many other LEW members aspired to, especially in the area of voting rights, Czechoslovakia can be seen as a role model in the network. The Czechoslovak member organizations were also a bridge with various transnational organizations, given the political experience of many among their leaders, as activists and organizers, from before World War I. The level of support among the male leadership of the country was unique among member countries. The support of these male politicians offered a concrete example for other members of the LEW of how feminist ideas could find strong allies among the political class in their respective countries.

Finally, Maria Bucur's contribution focuses more closely on issues of discourse and the efforts to develop a common vocabulary among representatives of the member countries. She examines closely speeches given at the first LEW conference, held in Bucharest in 1923, and the subsequent discussions in Belgrade in 1924 to identify common points of interest and illuminate the use of specific terminologies as a means to signal similarities and alliances that paralleled the antirevisionist agenda of the LEW. The racialized language in these speeches stands out as a signal that pacificism and antirevisionism had a hard edge of exclusivism from the beginnings of this network. Bucur points toward the elision of references to minoritized women and the exclusion of minoritized women's organizations from the network to show the pronounced ethno-exclusivist core of the work done in the LEW. Both positive expressions of “national culture”—as seen in an exhibit of women's work as artisans—as well as negative expressions—as seen in what was not present in those exhibitions, such as minoritized women's work and lower-class women's actual socioeconomic conditions—point toward the specific understanding that LEW members had about the work of representing women. In the end, Bucur finds that the activities of the LEW were largely performative and not necessarily impactful on the lives of most women who lived in the member countries.

These four contributions bring sometimes overlapping and sometimes diverging interpretations to the actions of the LEW. They provide varied perspectives on the development of feminist ideas, activism, conflicts, and alliances that help us better tease out how politics changed in Europe after World War I. They show how these activities were imbricated with the development of the new international order inaugurated by the League of Nations, where women could for the first time articulate their specific interests as citizens of their states. They demonstrate the importance of feminist movements for the changes that not only women, but entire societies experienced in postimperial states in Europe. They call into question the lack of interest that historians of nationalism and interwar politics have shown in the question of how women were both objects and agents of change in the development of nationalist discourse and political action during the interwar period. And they call out to other scholars for further research on these entanglements of feminist activism across Europe.

Acknowledgments

This Forum is the result of research conducted as part of the project “Feminisms and Politics in the Interwar Balkans (1923–1939)” (Project Number: 3050), supported by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI) under the “2nd Call for HFRI Research Projects to support Faculty Members and Researchers.”

Notes

1

In his new synthesis of Eastern Europe during the modern period, John Connelly describes the LE as an anti-Hungarian effort by the three member countries but has nothing to say about the LEW. John Connelly, From Peoples into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020), 364. In fact, he has nothing to say about the contribution of feminists to nationalism, transnational networks, or advancing women's rights. For Connelly, it is a topic of no interest and apparently no relevance for understanding this region.

2

Mentioned in Roxana Cheșchebec, “Feminist Ideologies and Activism in Romania (Approx. 1890s–1940s): Nationalism and Internationalism in Romanian Projects for Women's Emancipation” (PhD thesis, History Department, Central European University, 2005), 521.

3

Francisca de Haan, Krassimira Daskalova, and Anna Loutfi, eds., A Biographical Dictionary of Women's Movements and Feminisms: Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, 19th–20th Centuries (Budapest: CEU Press, 2006), 80–84, 90–94, 436–440, 569–574.

4

Cheșchebec, “Feminist Ideologies.” Due to the embargo on dissertations from Central European University (CEU), the only way to access this work is from the author or by visiting the library at CEU.

5

Jasmina Milanović, “Regionalna ženska udruženja—Mala Antanta žena i jedinstvo slovenskih žena” [Regional women's associations—Little Entente of Women and the unity of Slavic women], in Jugoslavija i Poljska u XX veku: Međunarodni tematski zbornik radova sa konferencije Jugoslovensko-poljski odnosi u XX veku [Yugoslavia and Poland in the twentieth century: Proceedings of the international conference dedicated to Yugoslav–Polish relations during the twentieth century] (Belgrade: Institut za savremenu istoriju, Institut za istoriju i međunarodne odnose, Društvo istoričara Srbije “Stojan Novaković,” 2017), 19–40; Cristina Păiuşan-Nuică, “Mica Antantă a Femeilor” [The Little Entente of Women], Bucureştii Vechi şi Noi, 21 October 2011, http://www.bucurestiivechisinoi.ro/2011/10/mica-antanta-a-femeilor/; Ksenija Atanasijević and Ljiljana Vuletić, “Izveštaj sa Treće konferencije male Antante Žena, održane od sedmog do trinaestog decembra 1925, g. u Atini” [Report on the third conference of the Little Entente of Women, held from the seventh to the thirteenth of December 1925, in Athens], in Etika feminizma [Feminist ethics] (Belgrade: Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji, 2008), 64–70.

6

Krassimira Daskalova, “Women in the Balkans, 19th—20th C.,” in Oxford Encyclopaedia of Women's and Gender History, vol. 1, ed. Bonnie Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 185–195; Krassimira Daskalova, “Little Entente of Women/Malkata Zhenska Antanta i feministkite dvizhenia na Balkanite prez 20-te i 30-te godini na XX vek” [Little Entente of Women and the feminist movements in the Balkans during the 1920s and 1930s], Sotsiologicheski problemi [Sociological problems] 2 (2018), 675–695; Krassimira Daskalova and Susan Zimmermann, “Gender History,” in A Routledge History of East Central Europe, ed. Irina Livezeanu and Arpad von Klimo (London: Routledge, 2017), 278–322; Krassimira Daskalova, Zheni, pol i modernizatsia v Bulgaria, 1878–1944 [Women, gender and modernization in Bulgaria, 1878–1944] (Sofia: Sofia University Press, 2012).

7

Isidora Grubački, “The Emergence of the Yugoslav Interwar Liberal Feminist Movement and the Little Entente of Women: An Entangled History Approach,” Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics 4, no. 2 (2020), 27, https://doi.org/10.20897/femenc/8515. The entanglements of the Balkan women's movements, the LEW, and women activists’ participation in the Balkan Conferences during the 1930s are the focus of Aslı Davaz, “An Annotated Archive of Entangled European Feminist History: The Union of Turkish Women, the Second Balkan Conference and Cécile Brunschvicg's Visit to Balkan Feminists (1923–1935),” Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics 4, no. 2 (2020), 28, https://doi.org/10.20897/femenc/8516.

8

Grubački, “The Emergence,” 2, 3.

9

Marijana Kardum, “Interwar Women's Movements from the Little Entente to Nationalism,” in The Routledge Handbook of Balkan and Southeast European History, ed. John R. Lampe and Ulf Brunnbauer (London: Routledge, 2020), 223–230, 30.

10

There are already four volumes dedicated to the “entangled history” of the Balkans, published by Brill. Yet they do not engage in any gender analysis. Our contribution is in part methodological, to add this dimension to historians’ understanding of transnational phenomena in the interwar period. See Roumen Daskalov et al., eds., Entangled Histories of the Balkans, vols. 1–4 (Leiden: Brill, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017).

11

Leila Rupp, Worlds of Women. The Making of an International Women's Movement (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997).

12

Susan Zimmermann, “The Challenge of Multinational Empire for the International Women's Movement: The Habsburg Monarchy and the Development of the Feminist Inter/National Politics,” Journal of Women's History 17 (2005), 87–117; and Glenda Sluga, Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism (Philadelphia, PA: De Gruyter, 2013).

13

Francisca de Haan, “Writing Inter/Transnational History: The Case of Women's Movements and Feminisms,” in Internationale Geschichte in Theorie und Praxis? International History in Theory and Practice. Sonderdruck, ed. Barbara Haider-Wilson, William D. Godsey, and Wolfgang Mueller (Vienna: Verlag der Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaftten, 2017), 501–536.

14

On the recent developments in the entangled history approach to women's movements and feminisms (in Eastern Europe and the Balkans as well), see Krassimira Daskalova's interview with Francisca de Haan, “Entangled Histories of Women's Movements and Feminisms: An Interview with Francisca de Haan,” Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics, 4, no. 2 (2020), 30, https://doi.org/10.20897/femenc/8518.

15

D. I-va, Malka zhenska antanta [Little Entente of Women], Zhenski glas [Women's voice] 20, nos. 19–20 (15 July 1923), 3–4; Bukureshtkiat congress na Malkata zhenska antanta [Bucharest congress of the Little Entente of Women], Zhenski glas 21, nos. 3–4 (15 November 1923), 8.

16

In 1919 the International Women's Committee “Durable Peace” (IWCDP) was renamed the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

17

D. I-va, “Malka zhenska antanta,” 3; Milanović, “Regionalna ženska udruženja,” 19–40.

18

Avra Theodoropoulou, “To A’ Synedrio tis Mikris Antant ton Gynaikon” [The first LEW conference], O Agonas tis Gynaikas [Woman's struggle] 1, no. 5 (1923), 2; “Le Congrès de la Petite Entente Feministe” [The congress of the feminist Little Entente], O Agonas tis Gynaikas 1, no. 5 (1923), 2; “Bukureshtkiat kongres na Malkata Zhenska Antanta” [The Bucharest congress of the Little Entente of Women], Zhenski glas 21, nos. 3–4 (15 November 1923), 8. It should be noted here that conference dates sometimes differ in the sources. The dates more likely to be accurate are those based either on conference programs or on firsthand accounts of participants in the conferences. These dates are presented in the text.

19

“To B’ Synedrio tis Mikis Antant ton Gynaikon” [The second LEW conference], O Agonas tis Gynaikas 2, no. 14 (1924), 2; “To Erchomeno Synedrio tis Mikris Antant ton Gynaikon” [The forthcoming LEW conference], O Agonas tis Gynaikas 2, no. 13 (1924), 8.

20

“To G’ Synedrio tis Mikris Antant ton Gynaikon” [The third LEW conference], O Agonas tis Gynaikas 3, no 25 (1925), 14, and no. 26 (1925), 1; “To Programma tou G’ Synedrioy tis MAG” [The program of the third LEW conference], O Agonas tis Gynaikas 3, no. 26 (1925), 2; “To G’ Synedrio tis MAG, 6–13 Decemvriou 1925. Ergasies kai Apofaseis” [The third LEW conference, 6–13 December 1925. Work and conference decisions], O Agon tis Gynaikas 3, nos. 27–28 (1926), 2–3.

21

Maria Svolou, “To D’ Synedrio tis MAG” [The fourth LEW conference], O Agonas tis Gynaikas 4, nos. 46–47 (1927), 2; “Apo tis Ergasies tou Synedriou” [Report from the work of the conference], O Agon tis Gynaikas 4, nos. 46–47 (1927), 12; Milena Atanatsković, “IV Konferencija Male Ženske Antante” [IV conference of the Little Entente of Women], Ženski pokret 10 (15 June 1927), 1–2; “Program rada Male Ženske Antante” [The programme of the Little Entente of Women], Ženski pokret 11 (15 July 1927), 1–2; Angela Vode, “Za vreme konferencije Male Ženske Antante u Pragu” [About the conference of the Little Entente of Women in Prague], Ženski pokret 11 (15 July 1927), 2; “Priznanie rada Male Ženske Antante” [A recognition of the Little Entente of Women], Ženski pokret 16 (15 September 1927), 1–2.

22

“To E’ Synedrion tis MAG sti Barsovia 25–28 Iouniou 1929” [The fifth LEW conference in Warsaw, 25–28 June 1929], O Agonas tis Gynaikas 5, no. 101 (1929), 3–5; Cheșchebec, “Feminist Ideologies,” 510.

23

Alexandrina Cantacuzino (1876–1944), one of the most influential leaders of the Romanian women's movement; President of Societatea Ortodoxă Naţională a Femeilor Române (National Orthodox Society of Romanian Women) (1918–1938); Vice President (from 1921) of NCRW and after 1930 its sole president; cofounder and first president (1923–1924) of the LEW; member of the official delegation of Romania to the League of Nations (1929–1938); Vice President of the ICW (1925–1936) and convener of the ICW Art Committee (from 1936); President of the Romanian feminist organizations Solidaritatea (Solidarity) (from 1925) and Gruparea Femeilor Române (Association of Romanian Women) (from 1929). Roxana Cheșchebec, “Princess Alexandrina Cantacuzino,” in De Haan et al., A Biographical Dictionary, 89–94.

24

Leposava Petković (1875–1952), Serbian activist and member of a number of national and international feminist organizations; one of the founders of Drustva za prosveħivanie žene i zastitu nenih prava (est. 1919)/Ženski pokret (after 1920) (Union for Women's Rights); elected on 3 November 1924 a president of the LEW at its Belgrade congress (until 1925); leader (1926–1941) of the Narodnog Ženskog Saveza Kralejevine SHS/Yugoslavenski ženski savez (National Women's Union of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians/Yugoslav Women's Union); Vice President of ICW and principal organizer of its congress in Dubrovnik (1936); participant in many of the international meetings of the IWSA and ICW, in Rome (1923), Paris (1926), and Edinburgh (1938). Jasmina Milanović, “Leposava Petković,” in Biografski rečnik Matice srpske [Biographical dictionary of “Matica Srpska”] (Belgrade, forthcoming). “Matica Srpska” is the oldest Serbian literary, cultural, and scientific society, founded in 1826. We would like to thank Ivana Pantelić for sharing Milanović's research on Leposava Petković.

25

Avra Theodoropoulou (1880–1963), a leading figure of the Greek feminist movement; founder (1920) and President (1921–1936 and 1944–1958) of the Syndesmos gia ta Dikaiomata tis Gynaikas (League for Woman's Rights), affiliated with IWSA; board member (1923–1935) of the IWSA and of its successor, the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship (IAWSEC); leading activist in the LEW and its president (1925–1927); President of the Panelladiki Omospondia Gynaikon (Panhellenic Women's Federation) (1946–1947); musicologist and music critic; feminist writer; author of stage plays and short stories. See Aleka Boutzouvi, “Avra Theodoropoulou,” in De Haan et al., A Biographical Dictionary, 569–574.

26

Františka Plamínková (1875–1942), a Czech teacher and leading feminist, founder (1923) and Chairwoman of the Czechoslovak Ženská národní rada (National Council of Women) and member of the Senate of the Czechoslovak National Assembly; Vice President of the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship (IAWSEC) (1926–1939?) and ICW (1925–1939?). Plamínková was also actively involved in the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, the Open Door International (an organization aimed at “the economic emancipation of the woman worker”), and (as representative of the Výbor pro volební právo žen [Committee for Women's Suffrage]) in the LEW (from 1908). Plamínková participated in LEW meetings in Bucharest (1923), Belgrade (1924), and Prague (1927). She was also involved in the Czechoslovak branch of WILPF. See Soňa Hendrychová, “Františka Plamínková,” in De Haan et al., A Biographical Dictionary, 436–440; see also the article by Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová in this Forum.

27

Justyna Budzińska-Tylicka (1867–1936), one of the founders of the Klub Polityczny Kobiet Postępowych (KPKP, Progressive Women's Political Club) in 1919, aimed at training women in Poland to exercise their voting rights (women had been granted the vote in 1918). The KPKP extended its activity abroad, cooperating with IWSA. At the 1923 IWSA congress in Rome, as President of the KPKP, Justyna Budzińska-Tylicka, together with the Romanian Princess Alexandrina Cantacuzino, put forward a proposal to establish the LEW. At the fourth LEW congress (Prague, 1927), Budzińska-Tylicka became President of the LEW; the seat of its Central Bureau moved to Warsaw and its last congress was held there. Katarzyna Sierakowska, “Justyna Budzińska-Tylicka,” in De Haan et al., A Biographical Dictionary, 80–84.

28

One element absent from the network's activities was mutual financial support or any budgetary elements of collective fundraising or support for any specific costs associated with these activities. In this regard, the network was unlike most other contemporary transnational feminist organizations in Europe.

29

Grubački, “The Emergence.”

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Aspasia

The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History

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    Illustration 1.

    Group photo from the first LEW conference in Bucharest (1923). Seated in front, L–R: C. Botez, A. Theodoropoulou, E. Purkyňová, J. Budzińska-Tylicka, A. Cantacuzino, L. Petković, F. Plamínková, C. Cerkez.

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