- "Participation in the Creative Work of the Nation:" Polish Women Intellectuals in the Cultural Construction of Female Gender Roles, 1864-1890
- Journal of Women's History
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 2001
- pp. 108-125
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article discusses Polish women intellectuals' ideas about womanhood and women's emancipation in the second half of the nineteenth century in the Kingdom of Poland (part of Poland under Russian control). It focuses on two women's periodicals, traditionalist Bluszcz (Ivy) and progressive Swit (Dawn), in which women writers debated female gender roles in the context of national ideologies, Polish tradition, economic and political changes, and liberal Western trends, and shows how cultural models of womanhood were constructed on an everyday basis. Liberal intellectuals associated with Swit, such as Maria Konopnicka and Eliza Orzeszkowa, often envisioned the role of women differently from the conservative editor of Bluszcz, Maria Ilnicka, who stressed patriotic motherhood and homemaking. Progressive women emphasized women's rights and promoted the diversity of women's contributions to the national community. In the final account, however, both conservative and liberal women adjusted their ideas to national goals and abstained from establishing separate women's organizations or formulating a distinct feminist agenda.