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258 KONOVA, Kina (1872–1952) Bulgarian teacher, translator, journalist and public figure; co-founder (1889) and subsequently leader of the Prijatelska druzhinka. Zhenski klon (Society of Friends. Women’s branch) in Sevlievo, the first local women’s socialist organization and founder (1897) of the local women’s society Nadejda (Hope); co-founder (1901) of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz (BZhS, Bulgarian Women’s Union); member of the Zhenski Sotsial-demokraticheski Sujuz (Women’s Social Democratic Union, established in 1921); honorary member of the BZhS (from 1926). Kina Konova (left, first row) and Julia Malinova (second from left, first row) after Konova was made Honorary Member and Malinova Honorary President of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz in 1926. Kina Konova was born as Kina Moutafova in September 1872 in the small town of Sevlievo. She had two brothers: Sava (1864–1943) and Hristo (1872–1942) (one of them a teacher, the other a well-known bookseller and printer in Sevlievo, both socialists). Kina Moutafova finished middle school in her native town and in 1889, graduated from the girls’ high school in Gabrovo, where she led the female high school-students’ organization. From 1889 to 1890, she worked as a teacher and became one of the founders (1889) of the socialist organization, Prijatelska druzhinka. Zhenski klon (Society of Friends. Women’s branch) in Sevlievo, the first local women’s socialist organization in Bulgaria. This society organized the translation of books into Bulgarian (mostly from Russian), some dealing with ‘the woman question.’ Moutafova’s translations of Zagubata ot neznanieto (Loss of ignorance) by I. Shelgunov, Za os- 259 vobozhdenieto na zhenata (On the emancipation of woman) by I. T. Tarassov, as well as two chapters of S. S. Shashkov’s Istoricheskata sudba na zhenata (The historical fate of woman) made a great impact on the Bulgarian reading public at the time. In 1890, she became leader of the Prijatelska druzhinka. Zhenski klon. That same year, she left for Geneva to study (1890–1891), since the Bulgarian national university did not yet admit women. In July 1891, she returned to Sevlievo to arrange a period of further study in Switzerland, but had to stay longer in Bulgaria than she had intended. She began teaching in her native town and, in 1892, married Andrei Konov (1865–1933), a teacher, socialist, lawyer and MP from Sevlievo. Soon after, they both left for Switzerland , where she continued her studies (in the social sciences according to her memoirs ; in midwifery—in Lausanne—according to other sources). Upon the couple’s return home, Kina Konova resumed teaching in Sevlievo and, in 1897, established a women’s organization there called Nadejda (Hope). As its Chairwoman, she organized Sunday schooling for illiterate people, a reading room for women and public lectures on various (mostly educational) topics. Access to education constituted one of the earliest women’s demands worldwide. The new male Bulgarian political elite after 1878 (like their counterparts elsewhere), acted in tune with a powerful “two-sex model” and developed opinions of men as “properly political and women as naturally domestic” (Landes 1996, 4), supporting different policies for the separate education of girls and boys. Once introduced, differences in high-school curricula served as a convenient pretext to prevent girls from attending university. Consequently, the unification of the curricula for girls and boys at secondary schools became an important demand of the new women’s societies established in the 1890s. Women’s efforts in this regard provoked heated debate on women’s education. Konova was among those who fought for the equalization (in years and programs) of women’s and men’s high schools, for the admission of women to Sofia University and for equal salaries for female and male teachers. She submitted petitions to the National Assembly, the government and the academic council of Sofia University. Finally, in 1897, a law equalized high school education for girls and boys (fixing it at seven grades above the primary four-year level). Thus the formal preconditions were created for women’s admission to university, which happened in 1901. Kina Konova was among the initiators and founders of the Bulgarski Zhenski Sujuz (BZhS, Bulgarian Women’s Union) in 1901, together with Vela Blagoeva, Anna Karima, Julia Malinova and Ekaterina Karavelova. At the founding congress of the BZhS, she delivered a paper entitled “Woman’s position in society, woman’s work and exploitation ” (Bradinska 1969, 69–70), in which she posed the question of the social composition of the BZhS and insisted on its proletarization...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9786155053726
Related ISBN
9789637326394
MARC Record
OCLC
868217084
Pages
698
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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