Abstract: This article seeks to provide an insight into the perception of female activism, the symbolic role of women and their future in the labor movement during the First World War, i.e. to show the imagined space that party and trade union bodies intended for women. The newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SDP BiH), Glas slobode (Voice of Freedom), will be used to analyze the category of gender and its representation in one of the sections of the international social democratic movement.

Keywords: Glas slobode, Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, women’s labor activism, visibility of women, mobilization, women’s roles


Based on the analysis of the normative standing points of the SDP BiH program, it is evident that the female labor activism was unconditionally supported. In practice, the visibility and involvement of women were underestimated, while the articulation of the interests of working women was also neglected. The merits for the continued activity of the trade union and the party in wartime circumstances were not emphasized enough nor were they declared an obligation. The language used by this newspaper to address the female workforce was full of stereotypes and deep-rooted patriarchal matrices with severe gender disqualification. Support for the re-establishment of women’s organization was more declarative than substantive, while women’s right to vote was mentioned too late. As pointed in the newspaper, the status of women gained during the patriarchy would be petrified since the momentum for their inclusion in economic and political structures was seen as a dangerous element for the working class` male identity. On their way to utopian socialism, and the complete transformation of society, women should have devoted themselves to their own education and “small work”, being a constant support for their party comrades. The subordination of women’s labor activism was the dominant message that female activists of the SDP and trade unions in Bosnia and Herzegovina received during the First World War.