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290 LJOČIĆ (Ljotchich)-Milošević, Draga (1855–1926) First female medical doctor in Serbia and women’s rights activist; founder of many medical organizations, including the Materinsko udruženje (Maternity Society) and the Prva ženska bolnica u Beogradu Dr. Elise Inglis (Dr. Elise Inglis First Women’s Hospital in Belgrade); one of the founder members of the Srpskog lekarskog društva (Serbian Medical Society). Draga Ljočić was born in Šabac (Serbia) on 25 February 1855. She graduated from the Lyceum of Belgrade and was the first Serbian woman to be admitted (in 1872) to the Zurich Medical School. At that time her brother Đjura Ljočić, a prominent socialist and editor of the journal Radenik (The worker, 1871– 1872), had already graduated (1870) in technical engineering from the same university . While in Zurich, Draga Ljočić became influenced by Russian women nihilists (e.g. Sophia Bardina, Sophia Perovskaya and the Subbotina sisters), who shaped her feminism. Her education was interrupted by the Serbian–Turkish Wars of 1876–1878 and she joined the Serbian army as a medical assistant, taking part in the battle of Šumatovac (after which she was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant). Marija Fjodorovna Siebold (originally from Riga), a like-minded socialist colleague of Ljočić’s from Zurich University, joined her friend in Serbia during the Serbian– Turkish War, after which Ljočić returned to Zurich. She graduated there in 1879, becoming the first female medical doctor in Serbia and one of the first female medical doctors in Europe at the time. After her return to Serbia, Draga Ljočić tried unsuccessfully to find employment. In a letter addressed to officials at the Ministry of Interior, she requested a licence based on recognition of her diploma from Zurich. After a detailed review of the case by a committee of prominent Serbian male doctors, it was decided that Ljočić’s diploma entitled her to work as a medical assistant in Serbia (she was only permitted to practise privately as a doctor from 1881). During the Serbian–Bulgarian War (1885), the Balkan Wars (1912–1913) and World War I (1914–1918), Ljočić worked alongside her fellow male medical practitioners as a doctor of equal status in the war hospitals. In the Serbian–Bulgarian War, Ljočić remained the only General Practitioner in the State General Hospital while others were stationed out on the battlefield. As her full 291 rights as a practising doctor were gradually recognized, her career took off and, together with Laza Lazarević, a prominent Serbian medical doctor (and poet), Ljočić treated students of the Ženska radenička škola (Female Workers School, founded in November 1879). She herself founded (1904) the Materinsko udruženje (Maternity Society), joined (1872) the Srpsko lekarsko društvo (Serbian Medical Society) and cofounded the Prva ženska bolnica Dr. Elise Inglis (Dr Elise Inglis First Women’s Hospital ) in Belgrade. Draga Ljočić would play an important role in the history of feminism in Serbia after her return from Zurich. She joined several of the private circles around Lujza and Gavra Vitaković, where issues of feminism and socialism were discussed, and ardently promoted gender equality in the professions. In 1903, in defense of a proposed bill to the National Assembly, she wrote that professional competence and moral virtues should be the sole preconditions for employment. The bill, signed by women doctors and teachers in girls’ high schools, was rejected by the National Assembly but nevertheless generated a considerable stir among Serbian women. Draga Ljočić also supported universal suffrage for men and women. In March 1911, at one of the regular meetings of the Srpski narodni ženski savez (Serbian National Women Alliance, founded on 18 October 1906), Ljočić and fellow feminist Jelena Spasić informed delegates that they were preparing a petition demanding equal voting rights for women and men (never submitted). Although the demands were rejected by delegates of the Srpski narodni ženski savez, Ljočić’s petition drew attention to several important issues related to women’s rights and equal citizenship. In 1883, Draga Ljočić married Raša Milosević, one of the founders of the Narodna radikalna stranka (People’s Radical Party) and organizer of the “Timočka buna” (Timok Peasant Mutiny). Milosević was subsequently arrested, an event he describes in his memoirs—also entitled Timočka buna (Timok Peasant Mutiny, 1883). The couple had a daughter, Radmila Milosević, who also graduated from the Zurich Medical School. Draga Ljočić died in 1926...


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