Marija Jurić Zagorka
Marija Jurić Zagorka was one of the most important feminist figures in the history of Croatia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Marija Jurić, who later added the pen name Zagorka, was born to a well-to-do Croatian family in 1873. During this historical period, women were not provided with the same educational opportunities as men. Despite this, Zagorka received a solid private education due to her family’s upper class status. In 1891, as a reaction to her expressing desire to become an actress, Zagorka’s parents arranged for her to marry a Hungarian man whom she did not know. After three years of marriage, which, according to Dragutin Prohaska, Zagorka likened to being “subjected to a moral inquisition” (qtd. in Jakobović Fribec 2006, 196), she fled from her husband, eventually settling in Zagreb. In Croatia’s capital, she started her pioneering journalistic career, becoming the first female journalist in the country and in the region of South East Europe more broadly. Her first journalistic piece was published in 1896 in Obzor, at the time the most esteemed Croatian daily. She was a political journalist, but was often not allowed to publish under her real name. Obzor’s editor-in-chief famously referred to her as “a crone with no name or reputation, a cowgirl from Zagorje and, what’s more, infected with a socialist mentality and feminist notions” (Lasić 1986, 69). Moreover, she was made to work in a separate room behind a curtain out of fear that a woman’s presence would scandalize the visitors of the newspaper’s offices.
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