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153 GEŐCZE, Sarolta (1862–1928) Pioneer in the fields of girls’ education and Christian social work in Hungary; founder (1906) of the Magyar Keresztény Munkásnők Országos Egyesülete (Hungarian National Association of Christian Women Workers); director (1907–1917) of the State Institute for the Instruction of Women School Teachers, Budapest. Sarolta Geőcze was born on 27 December 1862, in Bacska (Zemplén County, named Bačka in 1920; today in Slovakia), into a middle-class, intellectual , Catholic family. Her mother, Erzsébet Bertha (died 1869), was from the small town of Felsőőr (today Oberwart, Austria). Her father, Bertalan Geőcze (dates of birth and death unknown), was a lawyer with a practice in Zemplén County. Sarolta Geőcze had siblings including a sister, Berta (later Mrs László Krötzer). Nothing is known of the others. Some sources state that it was 1882 when Geőcze entered the Állami Elemi Tanítónőképző (State Institute for the Instruction of Women Primary School Teachers) in Buda (hereafter the Buda Institute), and 1883 when she entered the Állami Polgári Iskolai Tanítónőképzőintézet (State Institute for the Instruction of Women Secondary School Teachers) in Pest (hereafter the Pest Institute). Geőcze did become a qualified primary and intermediate school teacher in 1883, but it is possible that several years passed between Geőcze finishing at the Buda Institute and continuing her teacher training at the Pest institute; in all probability this time was spent at home looking after siblings. In 1886, Janka Zirzen, a pioneer in the field of women’s education in Hungary, recommended Geőcze for a position at an intermediate school for girls in Brassó County (today in Romania). Geőcze became the first female director of this school in 1888 and began publishing miscellaneous articles on education in school newsletters and national journals, including Budapesti Hírlap (Budapest news), Az Egészség (Health), Az Iskola és a Szülőház (School and home), Magyar Szalon (Hungarian salon), Pesti Napló (Pest journal) and Természettudományi Közlöny (Journal of natural science). In 1885, Geőcze helped found the Mária Dorothea Egyesület (MDE, Mária Doro- 154 thea Association), which aimed to improve women’s higher education and the social status of female teachers. Around 1890, Geőcze joined the associates of Nemzeti Nőnevel és (National women’s education), a journal edited by Ilona Stetina, and in 1892 she joined the Magyar Paedagógiai Társaság (Hungarian Pedagogical Society). In the period 1890–1910, Geőcze wrote articles for Nemzeti Nőnevelés and Magyar Paedagogia (Hungarian pedagogy) on girls’ education, pedagogical methods used in France, England and Switzerland and the need for Hungarian pedagogical methods able to strengthen national identity and morality. In 1892, Geőcze joined the Board of an intermediate school for girls in Komárom County (western Hungary), later becoming director of ‘the Sarolta Geőcze school,’ as it became famously known. She retained this position until 1897, during which time she studied English and French and spent a year in Italy (to improve her health). In 1896 (a year after women were admitted to university courses in Hungary), she lectured on women’s education and employment at the Second National University Education Congress, Budapest. In 1897/98, she traveled to France, Switzerland and England to research pedagogical methods at different religious institutions. In 1898, she was appointed by the Hungarian Culture Ministry to teach at the Pest Institute. Throughout the 1890s, Geőcze began to lay greater emphasis on the role of women’s education as a means of advancing Hungary as a Christian nation. By the turn of the century, she was seeking to protect women she thought morally and economically vulnerable—migrants, domestic servants, factory workers—through education and material assistance. In 1904, she established the Magyar Keresztény Munkásn ők Szakosztálya (Hungarian Christian Women Workers’ Section), a wing of the Budapesti Keresztény Munkásegylet (Budapest Christian Workers’ Association). In open competition with Social Democracy, the Women’s Section sought to improve material conditions for female (wage) workers but, in Geőcze’s formulation, without Social Democracy’s “destructive, anti-family” approach (cited in Mona 1998, 175). In 1906, Geőcze founded a separate organization, the two hundred-strong Magyar Keresztény Munkásnők Országos Egyesülete (Hungarian National Association of Christian Women Workers). She...


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