„W imię Boga i Ojczyzny!”. Działalność społeczno–polityczna Narodowej Organizacji Kobiet 1919–1939 – wybrane zagadnienia
Abstrakt„In the Name of God and the Fatherland!”. The Socio–Political Activity of the National Organisation of Women 1918–1939 – Select Questions
The National Organisation of Women (NOK) was one of the most prominent and largest women’s associations in the Second Republic. Its establishment in 1919 was the outcome of work performed by numerous generations, and its form and style corresponded to the challenges created by the reconstruction of Polish statehood in 1918. The NOK elite was composed of outstanding individuals – educated women originating from intelligentsia, landowning, and aristocratic families, whose ideological sympathies were close to the National Democracy.
Functioning in 1919–1939 NOK was a sovereign organisation and formally was not supervised by the authorities of the Popular–National Union (ZLN) or after 1928 by the board of the National Party. NOK activists, however, remained within the range of the ideological influence of the national movement and were proud of their affiliation. At the time of the Second Republic they supported the election campaigns of National Democratic candidates to Parliament and self–governments. Lists of ZLN and SN candidates also included names of NOK leaders. This mingling of the worlds of men and women in public life compels to perceive the efforts made by NOK as parallel and frequently supplementary.
The fundamental task of NOK involved women’s awareness. The association postulated absolute equal rights regarding both legal solutions and daily life. Postulates formulated by NOK activists referred to national solidarism and regarded the principles of Christian ethics as the foundation of the state policy. Attempts to implement these proposals entailed political, social, and economic activity denoting predominantly presence on the parliamentary forum. In their capacity as representatives of ZLN and SN, NOK members participated in work on statutes and took part in debates concerning numerous domains of public life. The association’s endeavours also encompassed social and economic issues. NOK organised adult education courses as well as public meetings and lectures, and popularised readership. It also showed special concern for children. An essential element of its charity work involved assistance rendered to the homeless and the poor, clothes collections, and training for wage–earning professions.
The history of NOK constitutes a very interesting chapter in the history of women in independent Poland. It is also evidence of the unique character of the Polish national movement, whose prime force was a social program inspiring Polish men and women representing assorted professional milieus and social groups to undertake civic activity and thus to expand the impact of national ideology.
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