-An interesting article appeared on december 27th 1945 in the Edwardsville Intelligencer a newspaper in Edwardsville- Illinois:
WOMEN IN EUROPE MORE THAN HOLD OWN ON WARTIME GAINS
By Dudley Ann Harmon
United Press Correspondent
Paris – European women who during the war turned from needle to rifle have made such progress since liberation that in many countries they have outstripped the traditionally advanced Americans.
One of the most interesting postwar events on the Continent is the consolidation by women of war -won positions in countries where they were hitherto forbidden to vote.
This was particularly evident at the recent International Congress of Women, held in Paris. At the conference, at which women from 35 countries were present, a well-known English feminist, Mrs. Corbett Ashby, told the United Press :
“French women gained more in their first general elections than did British or American in more than 20 years of suffrage. In these elections, the first in which French women voted, they won 32 seats in Parliament. The British hold 23 and Americans six.”
Housewives from the Maquis provinces present at the conference said that during the occupation French women took as many risks, if not more, than the men. They frequently chose one of the most dangerous jobs of all, transporting arms, because they were less apt to be suspected. Young
girls were most frequently used as “convoyeurs” – guides who led American or British fliers from one town to another, when one spoken word on a train would have meant torture or death.
“During the war I learned what I could do,” said one peasant woman who is now assistant mayor of her little town. Before the war French law forbade her even to have a checking account.
Eastern European women, traditionally among the world’s least free, caused a special sensation at the conference. At the Yugoslav table was a peasant woman with a fine face and gray hair covered with a black kerchief. She was a partisan fighter whose three sons were killed by the Germans.
Today she is a member of the Yugoslav Parliament. A former Yugoslav school teacher, Anka Berus, who is now finance minister in the Croatian government, said, “Equal rights exist for women today in Yugoslavia for the first time. We have the same opportunities and the same pay.”
The Czech delegation was headed by a woman who spent three years in Ravensbruck
concentration camps for her anti-German activities, Dr. Milada Horakova. Czechoslovakia was an advanced country for women even before the war, however.
A Russian woman general at the conference, Gen. Troitskaya, told reporters that women were part of the Red Army instead of being in an auxiliary group of their own. She is a middle-aged, pale-faced, quiet-looking woman whose navy blue uniform is covered with medals. Like the other Russian delegates, she wore no make-up.
Source: EDWARDSVILLE (IL) INTELLIGENCER
DECEMBER 27, 1945 Page 5 Column 6