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Ma?gorzata Dajnowicz

A supranational glance at women’s equality in the writings of Eliza Orzeszkowa


In her writings about women’s equality, Eliza Orzeszkowa compared the place of women in the society in different countries of Europe and the world. She expressed the view that the main factors which influence the adoption of rules of equal opportunities for men and women in particular societies include the level of education of men and women, religion, and applied cultural standards relating to the place of woman in society. She assigned less meaning to the division into countries, the geographical divisions of countries, and national divisions, stressing cultural cohesion between East European and West European countries.

Women from Western countries were to be the example for those living in Eastern Europe. Therefore, Orzeszkowa would provide examples of West European and Northern American women’s pursuit of equality, presenting them as models for Polish and East European women. She would justify factors such as tradition, attitude towards the Catholic religion, educational level and economic status of a society, which impeded the adoption of equality rules by East European women and sometimes even prevented it. These were the rules already adopted in the West.

The following texts will be analysed : Kilka s?ów o kobietach (A few words about women, 1888); O kobiecie (On women, 1888); O kobietach. Zapiski o ?yciu, bezprawiu, po?o?eniu kobiety (On women. Records of life, lawlessness, and the position of women, 1891-1903).

SvD, November 2012

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