Day 8 - 20 April 2015
This morning we were hosted by the Hungarian WILPF members at the Budapest Vigado Concert Hall, the venue for the seventh conference of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance in 1913.
Iren, Judit and Rita - hungarian WILPF members
The conference was attended by many of the world’s leading feminists – Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt, Anita Augspurg - including the prominent Australian author, (Stella) Miles Franklin, who was working at that time with the women’s union movement in Chicago.
Judit pointing out hungarian women at the conference
The conference was the first international feminist conference in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was actively supported by the Budapest government. Hungarian women gain the vote in 1918 but their voting rights were restricted a few years later on the grounds that so many men had been killed in the war that there would be an “imbalance”.
The suffrage movement became one of the casualties of the war, with women from the various countries having to decide whether to support nationalist war efforts to demonstrate that women were equal to men or to commit to an internationalist peace movement – later known as WILPF. Miles Franklin came down on the side of showing equality with men, and joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital in Serbia set up by feminists with an all women staff.