Jovanka Broz and the Yugoslav Popular Press during Tito's Reign

At the Crossroads of Tradition and Emancipation (1952–1980)

in Aspasia
Iva Jelušić Postdoctoral Researcher, The Christian Michelsen Institute, Norway

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To gain insight into the desirable characteristics of the Yugoslav New Woman, this article focuses on the country's only first lady, Jovanka Broz. Considering her as the most visible embodiment of modern Yugoslav womanhood, it analyzes portrayals of the first lady in the Yugoslav popular press, considering the interplay of several factors, including her strategy of (self-)representation, but also ideology, the nature of the magazines, and the related expectations of the journalists. Her exceptional social position was variously interpreted. The article finds that the innovative characteristics of the figure of the Yugoslav New Woman were not intentionally utilized to make the first lady into the leading female comrade. Instead, a fusion of traditional and revolutionary interpretations located her at the crossroads of tradition and emancipation.

As early as 1942, in the midst of the People's Liberation Struggle,1 communist activist and partisan Mitra Mitrović talked about how gender equality “achieved itself.”2 More to the point, in 1948, Mitrović, then Minister of Education in the first postwar Serbian government, explained that both the women who participated in the war effort and women who supported the creation of socialist Yugoslavia with their work, votes, and sociopolitical activism constituted the Yugoslav New Woman. This figure was a role model that contained the basic elements of emancipation aspired to by communist activist women and political workers in socialist Yugoslavia.3 The women who were symbolically born in the whirlwind of war and postwar reconstruction efforts and who thus contributed to the emergence of the new social(ist) order were imagined by communist activists as the embodiments of the New Woman, the ideal.4 In other words, the “shared feminist cultural experiences specific to Yugoslavia” decisively influenced the women of socialist Yugoslavia,5 especially the war generation to which Jovanka Broz belonged.

Despite the proclaimed revolutionary nature of the new political and social order, when it finally arrived, it proved to be familiar. That is, although the immediate postwar period in socialist Yugoslavia was for many women a time when numerous restrictions were lifted, traditional values were also reinforced.6 As a result of the Tito–Stalin split (1948) and the subsequent opening of the country to Western influences, traditional values over time became packaged in the attractive attire of consumerism. The process of redefining women's roles established a link between the modern socialist and the “old” tradition-bound femininity. The printed press, and especially women's magazines, became the platform that not only reproduced but also constructed desirable Yugoslav femininity.7 The fundamental intention of the printed press in this respect was to adjust the “new” femininity—the exemplary New Woman—to the needs of modern Yugoslav society and to teach readers about it. Women's magazines were envisioned as the primary space in which women were represented as active participants in the social and political life of the new state and encouraged to reflect on and discuss society and their role in it. At the same time, reinterpreted motherhood—raising children now included more scientific approaches according to which mothers needed to follow the advice of pedagogues and doctors—and professionalized households where women played the role of exemplary “modern” housewives continued to be accepted as relevant elements of women's position in socialist society.8

The following analysis explores the ways in which Jovanka Broz, the only Yugoslav first lady, was (self-)presented in the country's printed press. In interviews, Breda Luthar and Andreja Trdina write, women politicians create and present their own personalities at the crossroads of public and private. In doing so, a “kind of cultural production of the politician” happens. This process is limited in many ways: by the conventions of the media form, conventional language, and perceived popular values.9 Of course, Jovanka Broz was not a politician, but one of the most prominent symbols of socialist Yugoslavia. Her appearances were shaped by the prerogatives of the ruling ideology and politics, as well as by protocol and personal good sense. Accordingly, journalists who interviewed Broz consulted with her in advance about the topics for discussion.10 It is important to note that Broz was mentioned in the daily press on a regular basis in reports of Tito's activities (the topics of such texts were most often his diplomatic interactions with world leaders) in which she participated. Since she most often appeared in these articles as “and wife,” this article will not deal with them. It will focus primarily on the interviews with her that appeared in a variety of high-circulation Yugoslav magazines. Broz spoke to representatives of the domestic press on precious few occasions; I found only eight interviews published in ten Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian magazines, plus one interview copied from an Italian illustrated weekly. These findings are consistent with those of the only two scholars who have recently focused on the figure of Jovanka Broz in their research.11 There might be more similar materials; however, the interviews analyzed in this article provide a good representation of the whole (Table 1).

Table 1.

List of interviews in chronological order.

Feb./Mar. 1956 Žena danas (Woman Today) – educational women's monthly published by the communist women's organization in Serbia from 1936 to 1981
July and Aug./Sept. 1961 Žena (Woman) – educational women's monthly published by the communist women's organization in Croatia from 1943 to 1991
March 1968 Front (Frontline) – illustrated military paper published by the Political Department of the Ministry of People's Defense (Federalni sekretarijat narodne obrane) from 1945 to 1992
March 1968 Polet (Zest) – weekly newsletter of the Alliance of Socialist Youth of Croatia (Savez socijalističke omladine Hrvatske) published from 1967 until 1990
March 1968 Vjesnik u srijedu (Herald on Wednesday) – informative weekly published by the biggest Croatian publishing house, Vjesnik (Herald), from 1952 until 1977
March 1968 Svijet (World) – women's fashion biweekly published by Vjesnik from 1953 until 1995
May 1968 Arena (Arena) – family illustrated weekly published by Vjesnik from 1959 until 2009
Vjesnik u srijedu, Svijet, and Arena were publications of the same publishing house. They sometimes shared resources, which included correspondents, journalists, and the common newspaper library. In this case, the same interview with Jovanka Broz was published in all three magazines in different forms.
March 1969 Bazar (Bazaar) – women's entertainment monthly published by the biggest Serbian publishing house, Politika (Politics)
March 1969 Svijet (World) –family illustrated weekly published by the biggest Bosnian publishing house, Oslobođenje (Liberation), from 1957 until 1986
March 1975 Duga (Rainbow) – biweekly entertainment magazine published by the Serbian publishing house Duga from 1974 until 2003

When Jovanka married Tito, she became the embodiment of the institution of the president's wife, which had not existed in socialist Yugoslavia (nor in other Eastern Bloc countries) until then. Ivana Pantelić has described her as the “first woman comrade” (prva drugarica). Due to the political and social order of Yugoslavia, Pantelić uses the socialist term “woman comrade” (drugarica) to define Jovanka as accurately as possible.12 Broz can be regarded as representative of the Yugoslav New Woman because her biography, particularly her wartime activism, describes her as an exemplary communist. In addition, Pantelić explains, one of her essential duties was the affirmation of women's emancipation. Her public support was, of course, an extension of the ideological discourse on women's equality that the Communist Party advocated and practiced.13

More than her role as the “first woman comrade” with an impeccable biography, as the wife of Josip Broz Tito, who in the early 1950s embarked on a project of rebranding himself and his country in the world of high politics, Jovanka's figure contained elements of a “Western-style First lady.”14 Specifically, beginning in the early 1950s, the Yugoslav political leadership worked to devise a fusion of policies based on self-management, democratization, and nonalignment, as well as the good life enabled by travel, tourism, and consumer goods, which soon became known as the Yugoslav “third way.”15 At the same time, historian Vladimir Petrović explains, at home as well as abroad the Yugoslav political elite was “free to choose the forms of communication and rhetorical motives, limited only by its ideological pattern.”16 It turned out that their tastes and values were similar to those nurtured in states whose sociopolitical systems Yugoslav communists considered opposed to them. The same was true for their leader, who was increasingly considered “a proletarian with the tastes of a bourgeois.”17 Analogously, Jovanka Broz's age, smile, hairdo, and dresses took up more space in the Yugoslav public sphere than any of her activities, past or present.

Writing about the first ladies of the United States, American presidential historian Gil Troy notes that “first ladies experience predicaments of modern women more intensely than most.”18 Explaining how the position of the first lady squarely reflects both positive and negative aspects of modern American femininity, he maintains: “First ladies remain caught in the cross-fire between traditional, aristocratic demands that they act like ‘ladies’ and more modern demands that they take advantage of the opportunities offered to the most prominent woman in American politics.”19 Analogous assertions can be applied to the case of Jovanka Broz. However, this case intertwined the prerogatives of the “first female comrade” and the “Western-style first lady” within a system in which neither had a predefined public function. Broz's agency can thus be characterized as “a capacity for action that historically specific relations of subordination enable and create.”20 In addition, the Yugoslav printed press, and especially women's magazines, became a space for negotiation between the different positions available to Yugoslav women.21 Jovanka Broz's agency in collaboration with the editorial teams of various magazines, therefore, created “a mosaic of multiple, naturally intertwined activities and engagements” that open her biography and her unique position to reinterpretation.22 Accordingly, given Broz's exceptional position in Yugoslav society and her dedicated and conscientious approach to the role of the president's wife (as she was most often addressed in the press), there is no reason to doubt that the way that press interviews represented her was largely the result of her own understanding and interpretation of these roles. At the same time, the emphasis of the published interviews with Broz varies from publication to publication and provides (however limited) insight into the magazines’ considerations of the Yugoslav project of women's emancipation. By looking at the coverage of Jovanka Broz, the only first lady of socialist Yugoslavia, this article will endeavor to highlight the multifaceted and often conflicting nature of the discourse about modern Yugoslav femininity.

Who Was Jovanka Broz?

In April 1952, Jovanka Budisavljević married Josip Broz Tito.23 The couple met in late 1945 following the implementation of a military order that commanded Budisavljević's relocation from her position of political commissar at the Surgical Hospital in Niš (Serbia) to Belgrade, where she was appointed as a housekeeper in Tito's residence.24 In other words, although she held the rank of major of the Yugoslav Army at the end of the war, like many women partisans, Jovanka was transferred to the home front, in this case to the (however glamorous) position of domestic help.25

When she married Tito and became Jovanka Broz, she found herself in a position comparable to Martha Washington when her husband became the first president of the United States. As Maurine H. Beasley writes, Martha Washington found herself in unprecedented circumstances, as she “was expected to fulfill the ceremonial role performed by royalty in European courts yet personify the simple dignity appropriate for a republican form of government.” More importantly, the author continues, her actions “scripted a part played by each of her successors: hostess for the nation.”26 That is, George and Martha Washington together established the United States first lady as a hostess and ceremonial partner whose primary task was to organize events and entertain domestic and foreign dignitaries, as well as to manage the home of the president.27 These specified activities developed and promoted a traditionally defined womanhood expressed through the culture of domesticity that, Robert P. Watson explains, subsequently became a foundational building block of the first lady's office in the United States.28 The reason for this was, Beasley soberly comments, that “it was clear each president needed a hostess.”29 Pantelić's reflection on possible reasons for Tito's unexpected marriage follows the same line of reasoning: it was practical for him to have a wife.30 And, just like Martha Washington, Jovanka Broz too found herself doing a challenging job for which she did not have a role model or a set legal or formal framework.

Moreover, the lives of communist officials’ wives in the Soviet Union or the other Eastern Bloc countries provided no encouragement for Jovanka Broz to develop the role of the first lady further. For instance, while Nadezhda Krupskaya spent her life as a devoted and prolific revolutionary worker, already during her life and even more following her death “her work [has been] generally portrayed as a selfless act of service to a male leader (and a male-dominated cause),” that is, to her husband Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.31 Outwardly, there seems to be even less information about Nadezhda Alliluyeva, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin's wife, who was an all-but-invisible housewife until she committed suicide in 1932. Only in the second half of the 1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev made the momentous turn in Soviet domestic and foreign policy by promoting de-Stalinization, liberalization, and peaceful coexistence, did his wife, Nina Petrovna, became “the smiling face of the Khrushchev Thaw.”32 She assumed the rather recognizable role of a Western-style first lady “which was projected towards an attentive global audience” by accompanying her husband on his foreign trips and taking part in official events.33

Even better than Nina Petrovna's plain face and matronly figure, Jovanka Broz provided a young and beautiful smiling face and a handsome figure to represent the Yugoslav “third way.”34 However, unlike Nina Petrovna, whose enviable education no one wanted to supplement after Khrushchev became secretary of the Soviet Union,35 Jovanka reportedly underwent some additional training shortly before, as well as after, she married Tito. In the beginning of 1952, she lived with Vladimir Velebit, the Yugoslav ambassador to Italy, and his family in Rome. Velebit noted that “[i]t did not take much ingenuity to conclude that Tito wanted his future wife to stay in an orderly and cultured family for some time, even for a short time, and at the same time experience some of life and behavior abroad.”36 Later, Jovanka spent time in London to learn the English language. Reportedly, Clarissa Eden introduced her to the rules of conduct appropriate for a first lady.37

In the context of political rapprochement with the West, Jovanka's stay in Italy and London made sense. However, by way of numerous public appearances—even though she almost exclusively appeared as a part of Tito's entourage—she presented her country primarily through fashion. Specifically, Jovanka mostly wore clothes made by renowned Yugoslav designers. Yet her clothes usually remained nameless, because such a fashion statement made her “the personification of socialist values” in line with official state ideology.38 In other words, she acted as patron of the Yugoslav fashion industry. For the same reason, her outfits remained nameless even when they were made by Dior.39 In addition to wearing products of the young domestic fashion industry, Broz regularly attended fashion shows and fashion fairs. If foreign officials visited Belgrade during Fashion in the World (Moda u svetu), visiting it was often part of the protocol. By the same token, Broz arranged fashion shows exhibiting domestic products for the wives of foreign officials.40 How she performed her role as Tito's wife and how she communicated with the first ladies and stateswomen who visited Yugoslavia is evidenced, for instance, by her friendly relationship with Indira Gandhi. Gandhi visited her on the occasion of Tito's death and even made her presence at Tito's funeral conditional on Jovanka's presence, since the organizers originally did not intend to include her.41

During the 1970s, Jovanka Broz showed some interest in state affairs. It seems that she wanted to secure some political influence so that in the future, when her aging husband died, her position and interests would be preserved. There are no official documents to confirm this. Only a variety of memoirs and a number of almost tabloid-quality materials, often originating in this decade, indicate that she demanded to be regularly informed about current state affairs, that she read Tito's mail, that a group of rather high-ranking officials acted as her confidants, and that she ordered the installation of listening devices in the presidential office. By all accounts, her actions led to serious conflicts with some political and military officials, as well as with her husband, and led to their separation.42 At the time of Tito's death, Jovanka and her husband had lived separately for three years, and his funeral was her last official public appearance.43

The Image of Jovanka Broz in the Printed Press

Jovanka Broz can be seen as an exemplary woman partisan, a partizanka, who reached the rank of major during her service. She can also be regarded as the president's wife and, as his companion, an advocate and representative of the women's emancipation project in Yugoslavia—thus, as Ivana Pantelić puts it, prva drugarica. Finally, it is possible to consider her as an image-boosting wife, similar to American first ladies. Jovanka Broz's partisan legacy, her ideologically conditioned commitment to the Yugoslav New Woman, and her obligations to her own husband defined her public persona. In order to explore her media (self-)representation in the Yugoslav printed press, I will analyze how each of the three aspects of Broz's public persona was depicted in the published interviews.

The omnipresent idea that Yugoslav women won their equality in the war encouraged the assumption that Jovanka Broz's wartime trajectory should have been a paradigmatic example of this much-mentioned victory. The picture painted in the published interviews, however, did not always follow that template. The only interviews in the contemporary printed press that foregrounded Broz's war and military experience and devoted substantial space to this component were published in the magazines Front (Frontline), an illustrated military magazine, and Polet (Zest), a publication of the Central Committee of the Croatian Youth Association. Both magazines published interviews with Jovanka on the occasion of International Women's Day in 1968. The editors of Front presented her as “comrade Jovanka Budisavljević-Broz” and were the only ones who pointed out that Jovanka added Tito's last name to her own, a fact that had never been mentioned or particularly emphasized.44 In comparison, Polet's editor introduced her as “comrade Tito's wife, his friend and companion, a great friend of young people.”45 Despite the fact that Polet presented her as a wife in the text, the interview was published under the title “I Was Happy When I Became a Fighter of the First Women's Unit” and was announced with her wartime portrait on the cover.

The detailed description of Jovanka Broz as a partizanka in a youth magazine is not a surprising phenomenon. As Snježana Koren explains, from the late 1950s onward—that is, when the generation who did not experience the war started to grow up—the authorities emphasized more the importance of the commemorations of the NOB for the younger generations.46 In contrast, Broz's photographs that appeared on the other covers, including the illustrated military magazine Front, primarily reflected her grace and femininity. The most provocative photograph that Front published was from a recent trip, which, judging by the clothes and the rifle in Jovanka's hand, shows her attending a safari. The text also includes a short testimony from Broz's comrade in the First Women's Partisan Unit, Milica Bjelobaba-Tišma, who stated: “When I see her photograph in the newspapers today, for instance, when President Tito and other officials hunt, I often think that many hunters, with maybe honorable exceptions, would be shamed if they would compete with her.”47 This or similar information does not appear in other interviews. Jovanka never goes into the details of the battles in which she fought, and journalists do not even ask her about it. Writing about another unique woman, the partisan soldier Slavica, the protagonist of the first Yugoslav feature film (1947) of the same name, Natascha Vitorelli pointed out that she was not only a revolutionary icon, but a “socialist icon of femininity” as well. That is why, although Slavica possessed a gun, she is never shown using it to kill. Thus, instead of actually fighting, she is depicted serving as a guard, agitator, courier, and, above all, nurse. According to Vitorelli, Slavica is at once a representative of the new gender order in Yugoslavia and the limits it retained.48 Hesitation to show all the diversity of Jovanka Broz's wartime experience testifies to the very same dynamic.

In addition to the fact that Broz's wartime photographs were not attached to any of the remaining interviews I analyze here, the safari photo is the only image that I have identified in which she is holding a weapon. The remaining covers and the photos included with the interviews show a relaxed, smiling Jovanka in a homely atmosphere, scenes from the couple's life embellished with flowers and dogs, with which readers can easily identify, and photographs from their travels. The remaining eight published texts more expressly emphasize the themes announced by such imagery. Firstly, none goes into such a detailed review of her military career as Polet and Front do. Some avoid Broz's war past altogether or modify it according to the audience's presumed taste. For instance, the illustrated family weekly Arena (Arena)—known for its penchant for NOB-related content—opted for a condensed introduction of Broz's wartime merits in just a few lines. The Bosnian family magazine Svijet (World), on the other hand, included interwoven inquiries about Jovanka's memories of Bosnia during the war, especially about her participation in armed battles, her work in the partisan hospital, and her role in securing the Second Session of the Antifascist Council of the People's Liberation of Yugoslavia.49 And the Zagreb women's fashion magazine Svijet and the Belgrade women's magazine Bazar developed the topic of Jovanka Broz's wartime activity to a different climax: Jovanka and Tito's “meeting” in Drvar. In both cases, the first lady answered that question very dryly. “For me, as well as for every other fighter, a meeting with the Supreme Commander was a remarkable experience,”50 Broz reminded Svijet's journalists. And to Bazar's representatives she said: “I was, of course, like all the partisan fighters, impressed by his personality.”51 Seemingly, neither Svijet's nor Bazar's editorial boards could resist representing Jovanka and Tito's first meeting with a bit of good old-fashioned profound admiration from a young girl for an accomplished man, or even a little romance.

It should be mentioned that Arena, the Bosnian Svijet, Front, and Bazar, despite their differences, presented Jovanka Broz as a partisan at the very beginning of the published versions of the interviews, suggesting that they considered it an important element of her biography, that is, her social legitimacy. The Croatian fashion magazine Svijet, on the other hand, as well as the illustrated family weekly Vjesnik u srijedu (Herald on Wednesday, VUS) decided to tuck that part into the second half of the published text of the conversation, among remarks about the women Broz met while traveling the world with her husband and some compliments addressed to him. What is more, both Svijet and VUS introduced her to their readership as “the first housewife of the country.”52 Throughout both interviews, Broz talked about her husband just as much as she talked about herself. Focusing on the first lady's relationship with the president as the most important element of her social legitimacy accentuated the private, as opposed to socially engaged or combatant, aspect of womanhood as crucial to Jovanka Broz's social affirmation. Accordingly, the first part of both these texts revolved around her “work day” as the president's wife.

Despite the interviews in Arena, the Bosnian Svijet, Front, and Bazar beginning with Jovanka Broz as a partizanka—the symbolic representative of women “Who Did the Right Thing” and supported the People's Liberation Struggle in a myriad of roles—the remainder of the interviews, even in the military paper Front, followed the same outline present in Svijet and VUS. In other words, they described her as the quintessential representative of traditional womanhood. The interview published in Arena is the sharpest example of such thinking. Arena's journalist simply took the interview conducted by Svijet's editor-in-chief and deputy director of the Vjesnik publishing house and extracted segments from the original version in which Jovanka spoke about her husband. He described her as “a woman with the most honorable task: to take care of all the worries of the dearest man of Yugoslavia,” and adjusted her words to the occasion, the observance of Tito's birthday.53 At this point, it is worth mentioning a short interview published in the Serbian magazine Duga (Rainbow) in 1975 that was, by its own admission, copied from the Italian magazine Il Tempo (Time). This six-question interview was actually part of a four-page exposition about Tito. For that reason, all six questions were about Broz's husband, and each of the six answers is a kind of compliment to Tito, a workaholic and nature lover who loves hunting and flowers, makes great coffee, and knows how to bake a cake.54

Finally, in each of the interviews—except for the Duga article—the journalists dedicated at least a symbolic amount of space to the Woman Question and how it was handled in Yugoslavia. The inflection and limitations of the ruling ideology and the established sociopolitical organizations of the country become clear in a modest, half-page article published in March 1956 by the branch of the women's organization in Serbia. Jovanka Broz visited its magazine Žena danas (Woman Today)55 on the occasion of International Women's Day. Members of the editorial board (meaning the women's organization as well) were most interested in Broz's attitudes toward the position of employed women in Yugoslav society and the representation of women in the press.56 According to the published text, Broz provided a textbook example of support for their discourse on women's emancipation and equality. Broz's statements were in full accordance with official policy.

As Figure 1 shows, Broz gave interviews almost exclusively on the occasion of International Women's Day, a day when many Yugoslav newspapers and magazines published articles about women's struggle for civil rights and the progress made in socialist Yugoslavia. One explanation for this annual attention is that, since the first lady was not officially part of the state hierarchy and did not have a formal function, the editorial boards could rarely think of any other justification for publishing their interviews with her except International Woman's Day. On the other hand, wondering why more magazines did not publish articles about or interviews with Jovanka Broz, the editors of Front suggested that the answer was that she had no interest in publicity.57 There is no definitive resolution to this question, but, for this case study, it is interesting to consider that even women who were supposed to be at the forefront of the fight for women's emancipation, the members of the Antifascist Front of Women and its successors, more often consulted Tito about it.58 This positioning of the leaders of the women's organization suggests that they accepted that Jovanka was only a figurehead and not a possible partner and ally.

When she was invited to comment on the achievements of the Yugoslav emancipatory project, Jovanka Broz's statements often went along the lines of “[w]e really do not have to fight for the equality of the woman in our country. It is here. But the practice often deviates, because outdated notions about the woman and her role still exist. Practice is burdened with the inheritance from the past, with husbands’ perceptions, with financial possibilities.”59 In order to elaborate, in these interviews Broz lingered on the issues of problematic practices for a while. She usually touched on the so-called double burden, the socialization of motherhood, and aversion to quotas for women in politics.

Both the Croatian Svijet and the Bosnian Svijet printed her suggestion for alleviating some of the household work of employed women. The core of her advice was that women should have professional help to assist them with household maintenance. Although this idea was completely out of touch with Yugoslav realities, especially regarding economics, it came from a fine source and had a compelling objective in mind. Apparently, during a visit to Finland, Broz learned that Finnish vocational training offered girls the possibility of attending schools for homemakers. As she correctly notes, in Yugoslavia, “women assisting in the household have no vocation despite the fact that homemaking is more complicated than the job of a craftsman.” She was also correct to point out the widespread belief that ranked homemaking as less valuable than any other vocation. However, the conversation moved toward other topics, leaving this one without a conclusion—for instance, how she would propose to establish similar vocational training schools in Yugoslavia.60

Finally, a two-part article published in the magazine Žena (Woman) in 1961 deserves some attention. This interview offers the only instance in which a magazine and Jovanka Broz created an interview emphasizing the sociopolitical activism of women in several African countries, reminiscent of Yugoslav activism during and after the NOB. Žena's editorial board asked Jovanka for an interview following her return from the Put mira (Trip of Peace) that she took as a part of Tito's entourage in 1961. From mid-February until the end of April, Tito's boat Galeb (Seagull), with fifty-eight members of the diplomatic mission aboard, visited nine African countries: Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt. Regarding this seventy-two-day journey, Dobrica Ćosić, a member of the mission, notes: “a more ambitious and pompous journey could hardly be imagined.”61 As Petrović explains, by way of this and similar trips Tito advertised Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav political system, and the Yugoslav economy, but also used them to discuss global politics with the leaders of the visited countries because he was attempting “to secure the Yugoslav position within this nascent group of non-committed countries.”62 As customary, each country prepared a special program for Tito's spouse, Jovanka Broz.

Unlike interviews in other magazines, Žena's interview with Broz focuses particularly on her activities during the travels in Africa. The Žena interviewer was interested in how the first lady took advantage of the situation she found herself in—traveling to the countries of the Global South, in this particular case nine African countries—to obtain concrete information about the sociopolitical situation in which African women lived. During this interview, the journalist did not ask Broz a single question remotely connected to her experiences during the war, to her opinions about the Yugoslav New Woman and the state of her emancipation, or to her life with Josip Broz Tito. That is, she did not ask Jovanka any of the questions that were usually part of the interviews. In addition, unlike all other published interviews, Tito does not appear in any of the photographs included with the text.63 In this instance, Žena's editors took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about African women's struggles for the independence of their countries and about their various social and political activism, and cooperated with Jovanka to pass that knowledge to the magazine's readership. At the same time, both parties not only remained within the boundaries of the ideologically permissible, but exploited the opportunities created by the emerging Non-Aligned Movement.64

In general, the two-part interview was designed in accordance with the way that the editors of the magazine Žena, that is, communist activists and political workers of the women's organization in Croatia, considered the nature of the Woman Question, the possibilities for women's emancipation, and the emergence of the New Woman in a new context. The published text expressed some interest in the ways that women of different African countries earned their equality, and much more concern for how they practiced that equality and what women's roles were after their countries gained independence or endured other political changes. This is to say, many African women experienced changes that Žena presented as comparable to those Yugoslav women had already experienced during the 1940s. In some of her answers, Jovanka Broz explicitly compared women of, for instance, Togo and Guinea with Yugoslav women during the People's Liberation Struggle and in the immediate postwar period.65 Indicative is Broz's description of the meeting with Loffo Camara, a Politburo member in the First Republic of Guinea and Secretary of State for Social Affairs. According to Broz, Camara “reminds us a lot of our women who have dedicated all their youth, all their lives to the revolution as devoted and conscientious social and political workers.”66 Interestingly, the publication emphasized that, despite many positive changes, these new nations would benefit tremendously from a strong women's organization (like in Yugoslavia).67 In other words, for the women from Žena and, more broadly, the women's organization, this conversation was just the beginning, one way to get to know women and the characteristics of the Woman Question in the African countries, that is, in the Global South. According to Chiara Bonfiglioli, the period from 1959 to 1961 was marked by communication between Broz and the women's organization, primarily its Croatian branch. Over time, the cooperation of the Yugoslav women's organization developed, especially within the framework of the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, to reach a wide range of international fora and included foreign missions, congresses, and expert meetings as well as study exchanges and cross-country visitor tours.68


Women and men who promoted communist ideals and who acted to improve women's lives within the constraints imposed on them by the social system, political conditions, or currently valid rules of behavior can be considered relevant and significant social workers. In the everyday struggles to achieve their goals, their positions can be interpreted as “illuminated realism,” that is to say, “awareness that in the transition from (the purity of) theory to (the messiness of) practice one's ‘accomplishments appear half-baked, distorted, stained.’”69 The figure of Jovanka Broz as it was interpreted in the popular press testifies to the process of adjustment of the figure of the Yugoslav New Woman. Broz's exceptional social position was variously interpreted—even distorted and stained—in accordance with the socialist emancipatory project, but also with the patriarchal foundations on which it rested, making her media image a half-baked reflection of a revolutionary female figure who was supposed to be a role model for all Yugoslav women.

As the wife of Josip Broz Tito, Jovanka Broz had seemingly innumerable responsibilities, but without a clear description of her own role in the Yugoslav social system or a place within the ranks of the state's political elite. She found herself in a complex situation. As a result, Jovanka Broz gave few interviews. In them, three aspects of her sociopolitical legitimacy were usually considered. First, the interviews emphasized her support of the Communist Party as a member of the partisan army during the war. Second, they highlighted her marriage to Tito. Finally, they represented her as an advocate for the Party's policies related to women's emancipation in Yugoslavia. Each of the three facets of Jovanka's public persona was also part of the ideal of the Yugoslav New Woman, the vision according to which the women of Yugoslavia should have been educated and according to which they were supposed to strive. The printed press, especially the press intended for women, contributed to this goal. The final products of the cooperation between Jovanka Broz and some representatives of the Yugoslav print media, all of them a bit “half-baked, distorted, stained,” are particularly interesting in this respect.

The most compelling subject appeared to be Jovanka's relationship with Tito, the fact that she was his wife and keeper of his household. While the women's organization aimed to diminish the half of the double burden related to unpaid work at home,70 Broz proudly flaunted it. In the context of a state based on (among other things) the idea of women's emancipation through active participation in the workforce and in politics, Jovanka's (self-)representation in the media becomes problematic. The idea of the New Woman in the Yugoslav printed media wound between tradition and modernization, but the New Woman as exemplified by Jovanka Broz was first and foremost a housewife. Consistent insistence on this as Broz's role undermined the very ideal of the New Woman.

Importantly, it would be easy to label Broz's social role as yet further proof of the Yugoslav “return to the kitchen.” However, Broz carried out her role as Tito's wife with dedication, satisfaction, and (we have no reason to doubt) love. In addition, although “only” supportive, her role was very public. Therefore, every one of her decisions, including the often trivialized topic of fashion choices, was relevant. Jovanka's interest in the development of the Yugoslav fashion industry was both strategic and political. Apparently, Tito understood that the “right” wife could strengthen his image as the leader of the Yugoslav “third way” and the “third way” of the Non-Aligned Movement. Broz thus became the “Balkan Jackie Kennedy”71 before Jackie became a US trademark, and charmed the world's political elite.

This public image of Jovanka Broz minimized the importance of her military career and enabled her to provide only symbolic support for the Yugoslav project of women's emancipation. Some of the possibilities allowed by these aspects of her social legitimacy were partially realized in the illustrated military magazine Front, which devoted as much as half of its interview to her military career and supplemented her statements with comments by comrades such as Milica Bjelobaba-Tišma, and in the educational women's magazine Žena, which in conversation with Broz analyzed the degree of emancipation of women in some African countries. However, while Ivana Pantelić rightly termed Broz the “first woman comrade,” her public figure had much more potential than was realized.


I wish to thank my CEU colleagues Isidora Grubački and Una Blagojević, who read and commented on the very first draft of this article. A great thank you goes to Jovana Mihajlović Trbovc, who provided key comments on another early version of this text. I also thank the anonymous reviewers who provided some well-founded criticism, and the editorial team, especially Gentiana Kera and Sharon Kowalsky, for helping me through, especially in the final stages of editing this article.



The Narodnooslobodilačka borba (People's Liberation Struggle, NOB) is the name of the armed struggle of the Ujedinjeni narodnooslobodilački front Jugoslavije (United People's Liberation Front of Yugoslavia, JNOF) and partisan units against foreign occupiers and their collaborators in the territory of Yugoslavia during World War II (1941–1945). The Komunistička partija Jugoslavije (Communist Party of Yugoslavia, KPJ), led by Josip Broz Tito, played a leading role in the NOB.


This statement is part of Mitrović's paper given at the founding conference of the women's organization Antifašistička fronta žena (Antifascist Front of Women, AFŽ) of Yugoslavia. The conference was held on 6 December 1942 in Bosanski Petrovac (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Following the end of the war, the AFŽ became the only organization in socialist Yugoslavia that represented women's interests. Its headquarters was in Belgrade, to which the republican branches were subordinated. Each section published a magazine intended for women in the territory of that republic (at least during part of its existence). This organization changed its name five times during its existence before 1990, as well as its organizational structure and status within the state apparatus. For the sake of practicality, in this text I will refer to this institution only as a women's organization. Mitra Mitrović, Ratno putovanje [War journey] (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1971 [1953]), 126–127.


Ivana Pantelić, Partizanke kao građanke [Women partisans as citizens] (Evoluta: Belgrade, 2011), 83.


Lydia Sklevicky, “Antifašistička fronta žena: Kulturnom mijenom do žene ‘novog tipa’” [Antifascist front of women: Cultural change for a “new type” of woman], in Konji, žene, ratovi [Horses, women, wars], ed. Dunja Rihtman-Auguštin (Zagreb: Ženska infoteka, 1996), 25–62; Mirjana Stanišić, “Društveni položaj žene u Srbiji (1944–1955) [Social position of women in Serbia (1944–1955)], especially chapters 4.3, “AFŽ—struktura, ciljevi, zadaci” [AFŽ—structure, goals, tasks] and 5.2, “‘Nova žena’ i njene uloge u socijalizmu” [“New woman” and her roles in socialism] (MA thesis, University of Belgrade, 2003), 138–176, 184–190; Jelena Batinić, Women and Yugoslav Partisans: History of World War II Resistance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).


Jasmina Tumbas, “The Return of Jugoslovenka: The Unrequited Love Affair,” Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies 21 (2020), 1–34, here 3.


A comparison of some of the legislation in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and in socialist Yugoslavia is the best example of positive changes. In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the civil code, which was supposed to be valid throughout the state, was never systematized. Codes from previous systems continued to apply in various parts of the state. The most notorious case in this regard was the Serbian civil code (in force since 1844), which equated women with “minors, mentally disturbed and insane people, scoundrels and vagrants.” The 1946 Constitution stipulated that women in socialist Yugoslavia enjoyed the same rights as men in all areas of state, economic, and social life. Women were entitled to the same salary as men for the same work. In particular, the state protected the welfare of mothers and children with maternity clinics, children's homes, and day-care centers, and by guaranteeing the right to paid leave before and after childbirth. At the same time, the belief in the so-called eternal nature of women, as well as in the existence of specifically female professions, persisted. As a result, reproductive work remained almost exclusively the responsibility of women. In addition, women were widely employed as unskilled workers, they faced a slow penetration into many educational fields and professions, and an even slower acceptance into the highest political and social functions. Lydia Sklevicky, “Karakteristike organiziranog djelovanja žena u Jugoslaviji u razdoblju do Drugog svjetskog rata” [Characteristics of women's organized activity in Yugoslavia in the period before World War II], parts I and II, Polja [Fields] 308 (1984), 415–417; and 309 (1984), 454–456.


This negotiating process also took place in Soviet women's magazines. See Lynne Attwood, Creating the New Soviet Woman: Women's Magazines as Engineers of Female Identity, 1922–1953 (New York: St. Martin's Press in association with Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham, 1999). In addition, Croatian historian Ida Ograjšek Gorenjak argues that similar processes are visible in the interwar press of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, while Slovenian scholars Breda Luthar and Andreja Trdina identify the same dynamics in the Slovenian women's press at the beginning of the twenty-first century. See Ida Ograjšek Gorenjak, Opasne veze [Dangerous liaisons] (Zagreb: Srednja Europa, 2014); Breda Luthar and Andreja Trdina, “Političarke v popularnih medijih” [Women politicians in the popular media], in Ženske na robovih politike [Women on the margins of politics], ed. Milica Antić Gaber (Ljubljana: Sophia, 2011), 275–296.


Tanja Kamin and Andreja Vezovnik, “Slovenia's Socialist Superwoman: Feeding the Family, Nourishing the Nation,” Feminist Review 117 (2017), 79–96,


Luthar and Trdina, “Političarke,” 282.


Mirjana Menković, “Savremena žena: Odnos među polovima u Srbiji u XX veku u svetlu antropoloških proučavanja odevanja i ženske štampe” [Contemporary woman: Gender relations in twentieth-century Serbia in the light of anthropological studies of clothing and the women's press] (PhD dissertation, University of Belgrade, 2013), 371, 374–376.


Ivana Pantelić, Uspon i pad “prve drugarice” Jugoslavije: Jovanka Broz i srpska javnost, 1952–2013 [The rise and fall of Yugoslavia's “first female comrade”: Jovanka Broz and the Serbian public, 1952–2013] (Belgrade: Službeni glasnik, 2018); Menković, “Savremena žena.”


Ivana Pantelić, personal communication with the author, 22 February 2021.


Pantelić, Uspon i pad, 35.


Mirjana Menković, “A Contribution to the Understanding of Socialist Fashion Yugoslav State Protocol and Western Fashion (1952–1961),” paper presented at ICOM Costume Committee annual meeting in London, 2017, (accessed 22 June 2022).


Anita Buhin, “Yugoslav Socialism ‘Flavoured with Sea, Flavoured with Salt’: Mediterranization of Yugoslav Popular Culture in the 1950s and 1960s under Italian Influence” (PhD dissertation, European University Institute, 2019), 4, 12–13.


Vladimir Petrović, “Škola bontona: Ideološki uzorci protokolarnih i organizacionih problema u pripremi posete Josipa Broza Velikoj Britaniji 1953. godine” [School of etiquette: Ideological causes of protocol and organizational problems in the preparation of Josip Broz's visit to Great Britain in 1953], Godišnjak za društvenu istoriju (Yearbook of social history) 1–3 (2002), 179–195, here 193.


As cited in Vladimir Petrović, “Josip Broz Tito's Summit Diplomacy in the International Relations of Socialist Yugoslavia 1944–1961,” Annales, Series Historia et Sociologia [Annals, history and sociology series] 24, no. 4 (2014), 577–592, here 580.


Gil Troy, “Mr. and Mrs. President? The Rise and Fall of the Co-Presidency,” The Social Science Journal 37, no. 4 (2000), 591–600, here 598,




Saba Mahmood, “Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival,” Cultural Anthropology 16, no. 2 (2001), 202–236, here 203.


In other words, although the Yugoslav press was originally conceived as a source of education first, and only then entertainment, the understanding of what that education should entail and how the actual Yugoslav New Woman should look and conduct herself greatly varied. Different print media, their editors, and their editorial teams treated their publications as platforms that offered their audiences a defined set of opinions and social values. Iva Jelušić, “Gender and War in the Yugoslav Media: The Role of the Partizanke in the Making of the New Socialist Woman” (PhD dissertation, Central European University, 2022).


Tanja Petrović and Jovana Mihajlović Trbovc, “Agency, Biography, and Temporality: (Un)making Women's Biographies in the Wake of the Loss of the Socialist Project in Yugoslavia,” Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies 21 (2020), 1–30, here 11. The entire fall 2020 special issue of Wagadu, subtitled “Gender Relations and Women's Struggles in Socialist Southeast Europe,” stems from the well-known debate on the issue of women's autonomy in the states of historically existing socialism and, consequently, the possibility of their independent agency, which has been covered in this journal as well. The most relevant are the Aspasia forums edited by Francisca de Haan: “Is ‘Communist Feminism’ a Contradictio in Terminis?” (2007); and “Ten Years After: Communism and Feminism Revisited” (2016).


The news of the marriage was only made public during the visit of the British Foreign Minister Sir Anthony Eden in September 1952.


Žarko Jokanović, Jovanka Broz: Moj život, moja istina. Od rođenja do bolničkih dana [Jovanka Broz: My life, my truth. From birth until days in hospital] (Belgrade: Blic, 2013), 39. As the People's Liberation Struggle drew to a close, the strength of the Yugoslav partisans increased and during 1944 they gradually transformed from a guerilla force into a regular army. At the same time, the removal of women from military units began. Women were systematically relocated from the front lines into hospitals on the home front or for political duties.


Following the death of Tito's wartime personal secretary and lover Davorjanka Paunović in May 1946, Budisavljević took over the function of Tito's secretary. While these circumstances enabled their relationship and later marriage, there is not much reliable information available on the nature of their communication before the marriage. Even Jovanka Broz's memoirs, published by journalist Žarko Jokanović, do not provide any relevant information about this period of her life.


Maurine H. Beasley, First Ladies and the Press: The Unfinished Partnership of the Media Age (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005), 27.


Betty Boyd Caroli, First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 5.


Robert P. Watson, “The ‘White Glove Pulpit’: A History of Policy Influence by First Ladies,” OAH Magazine of History 15, no. 3 (2001), 9–14, here 10–11,


Beasley, First Ladies and the Press, 38.


Pantelić, Uspon i pad, 19.


Jane McDermid and Anya Hillyar, “In Lenin's Shadow: Nadezhda Krupskaya and the Bolshevik Revolution,” in Reinterpreting Revolutionary Russia: Essays in Honour of James D. White, ed. Ian D. Thatcher (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 148–165, here 150.


Ana Marie Cox, “Cold War First Lady Nina Khrushcheva Sends a Message for World Peace,” The NEH Preservation Project, 26 May 2016,




At the reception organized on the occasion of Sir Anthony Eden's visit, where she was introduced as Tito's wife, Jovanka Broz wore a burgundy satin dress with a deep neckline, in which she really looked enchanting. As Ivana Pantelić described in detail, this appearance of the new Yugoslav first lady resonated very positively in the foreign press. Pantelić, Uspon i pad, 32–34.


Nina Petrovna's educational path exemplifies the opportunities open to a Bolshevik in the early years of the existence of the Soviet Union. Following different orders, she spent the 1920s studying, mostly political economy, and teaching in various party schools. She gave up working when her husband became General Secretary of the Communist Party.


Vladimir Velebit, Moj život [My life] (Zagreb: Fraktura, 2016), 526–527.


Menković, “Savremena žena,” 366.


Danijela Velimirović, “Odevanje Jovanke Broz: Moda, ideologija i politika” [Jovanka Broz's dress: Fashion, ideology, politics], XXZ Magazin [XXZ magazine], 10 December 2018,


Mirjana Menković, “Jovanka Broz i moda: Kolekcija prve dame” [Jovanka Broz and fashion: First lady's collection], Etnontropološki problemi [Ethno-anthropological problems] 10, no. 4 (2015), 873–892, here 889.


Velimirović, “Odevanje Jovanke Broz.”


Pantelić, Uspon i pad, 87–88; Ognjen Karanović, “Slučaj Jovanke Broz” [Jovanka Broz's case], Kulturni centar Novog Sada [Novi Sad cultural center], 6 September 2021,!.


For a detailed account see Pantelić, Uspon i pad, chapter entitled “Drug Tito i Jovanka” [Comrade Tito and Jovanka], especially 67–97; Slađana Zarić, “Drugarica Jovanka,” Video, 58:27, uploaded 21 December, 2015,


As there was speculation that Jovanka wrote memoirs that could discredit certain state officials, she was under the supervision of the secret services long after Yugoslavia fell apart. During the final decade of Yugoslavia's existence, some printed media showed interest in Tito's widow. Reportedly, they were mostly prevented from contacting her.


Dragan Kljakić, “O Jovanki Budisavljević—Broz uz 8. mart” [About Jovanka Budisavljević—Broz on March 8], Front [Frontline] 10 (1968), 10–15, here 10.


Darko Stuparić, “Bila sam srećna kada sam postala borac Prve ženske čete” [I was happy when I became a fighter of the First women's unit], Polet [Zest] 17 (1968), 6–11, here 6.


Snježana Koren, Politika povijesti u Jugoslaviji (1945–1960): Komunistička partija Jugoslavije, nastava povijesti, historiografija [Politics of history in Yugoslavia (1945–1960): The Communist Party of Yugoslavia, history teaching, and historiography] (Zagreb: Srednja Europa, 2012), 469–470.


Kljakić, “O Jovanki,” 12.


Natascha Vittorelli, “With or Without Gun: Staging Female Partisans in Socialist Yugoslavia,” in Partisans in Yugoslavia: Literature, Film and Visual Culture, ed. Miranda Jakiša and Nikica Gilić (Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2015), 117–136, here 119–120.


The Antifascist Council of the People's Liberation of Yugoslavia (Antifašističko vijeće narodnog oslobođenja Jugoslavije, AVNOJ) was a general political organization of the participants in the antifascist struggle in the territory of Yugoslavia. It was founded in November 1942 and from November 1943 until the end of the war it was the supreme legislative and executive representative body of Yugoslavia.


Mira Gumhalter and Joža Vrhovec, “Tri sata s Jovankom Broz” [Three hours with Jovanka Broz], Svijet [World] 7 (1968), 4–11, here 8.


Zorica Mutavdžić and Dušan Protić, “Bili smo gosti Jovanke Broz: Kuća stoji na zemlji” [We were Jovanka Broz's guests: The house stands on the ground], Bazar [Bazaar] 108 (1969), 4–7, here 4.


Gumhalter and Vrhovec, “Tri sata s Jovankom Broz”; Mira Gumhalter and Joža Vrhovec, “Radni dan Jovanke Broz” [Jovanka Broz's work day], Vjesnik u srijedu [Herald on Wednesday] 828 (1968), 4–5.


Jovo Popović, “Gosti ‘Arene’: Jovanka i Josip Broz” [Arena's guests: Jovanka and Josip Broz], Arena [Arena] 387 (1968), 4–5, 37, here 4.


Franco Bucarelli, “Dugin pozajmljeni intervju: Reč-dve s Jovankom Broz” [Duga's borrowed interview: A word or two with Jovanka Broz”], Duga [Rainbow] 3 (1975), (accessed 8 December 2020).


This magazine is known for its interwar activities (1936–1940) when it was run by young communist activists including Mitra Mitrović. She revived it in 1943, and Žena danas continued its existence in socialist Yugoslavia as the official gazette of the Antifascist Front of Women of Yugoslavia and its successors. Its publication run ended in 1981.


“Jovanka Broz u poseti našoj redakciji” [Jovanka Broz visits our editorial office], Žena danas 138–139 (1956), 4.


Kljakić, “O Jovanki,” 10.


For instance, the editor-in-chief of Žena danas visited Tito on the Brijuni islands in 1959, and a year later the representatives of the entire women's organization visited him on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Women's Day. These events were described in Žena danas and in the Slovenian Naša žena [Our woman], the Bosnian Nova žena [New woman], and the Croatian Žena [Woman] (magazines of the republican branches of the women's organization). In contrast, Jovanka's conversations with the editorial offices of Žena danas and Žena were not mentioned in the sister magazines, nor did they ever publish articles that focused on her. As in other Yugoslav media, in these women's magazines Jovanka Broz often appeared in photographs accompanying her husband.


Gumhalter and Vrhovec, “Tri sata s Jovankom Broz,” 5.


Ibid., 8; D. Pavičić and L. Softlić, “Jugoslovenka—odlučna i hrabra” [Yugoslav woman—determined and brave], Svijet 563 (1969), 2–5, here 5.


As cited in Petrović, “Josip Broz Tito's Summit Diplomacy,” 587.


Ibid., 586.


Given that the first part of the interview was published on the twentieth anniversary of the uprising, the editorial board chose to publish the photo “Kozarčanka” [Girl from the Kozara Mountain], arguably the most famous wartime photograph of at the time a still nameless partizanka. While this was a fine choice considering the occasion, why the editors did not find it appropriate to put Jovanka Broz, a person who was supposed to be the most famous Yugoslav partizanka, with a full name and an impressive pedigree, on that particular cover remains open for interpretation. The cover of the August issue featured a woman sunbathing.


The very origin and development of the Non-Aligned Movement, and Tito's desire to boost his reputation on the world stage, is very likely the reason that Jovanka, after finally starting to travel with her husband, gave the largest number of interviews during the 1960s.


Marija Erbežnik Fuks, “Pozdravi iz velikih afričkih oaza prijateljstva” [Regards from the great African oases of friendship”], Žena 7 (1961), 18–23, here 19.


Ibid., 23.


Marija Erbežnik Fuks, “Kroz razgovor s Jovankom Broz lik Marokanke i Tunižanke bivao je sve reljefniji” [In conversation with Jovanka Broz the figure of Moroccan and Tunisian woman became ever more defined], Žena 8–9 (1961), 4–10, here 6, 9.


See Chiara Bonfiglioli, “Women's Internationalism and Yugoslav-Indian Connections: From the Non-Aligned Movement to the UN Decade for Women,” Nationalities Papers 49, no. 3 (2020), 446–461.

 This phenomenon was not limited to socialist Yugoslavia. Women of the Eastern Bloc and the Global South developed intensive bilateral cooperation during the Cold War period. See, for instance: Kristen Ghodsee, “Rethinking State Socialist Mass Women's Organizations: The Committee of the Bulgarian Women's Movement and the United Nations Decade for Women, 1975–1985,” Journal of Women's History 24, no. 4 (2012), 49–73; Kristen Ghodsee, “Research Note: The Historiographical Challenges of Exploring Second World–Third World Alliances in the International Women's Movement,” Global Social Policy 14, no. 2 (2014), 244–264.


Dijana Jelača, Nikolay Karkov, and Tanja Petrović, “Editorial: Gender Relations and Women's Struggles in Socialist Southeast Europe,” Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies 21 (2020), 1–17, here 6.


Manuela Dobos, “The Women's Movement in Yugoslavia: The Case of the Conference for the Social Activity of Women in Croatia, 1965–1974,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 7, no. 2 (1983), 47–55,


Pantelić, Uspon i pad, 273.

Contributor Notes

Iva Jelušić is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Christian Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway. She works on the ERC project “War and Fun: Reconceptualizing Warfare and Its Experience.” She holds an MA in MATILDA European Women's and Gender History from the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University (Budapest/Vienna) and a PhD in Comparative History from the same university. Her dissertation, defended earlier this year, focuses on the development of remembrance of the figure of the woman partisan, the partizanka, in the Yugoslav print media. Her research interests include women's and gender history, cultural memory, and the media in the context of World War II and Cold War Europe. Contact:

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