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Hungary Past and Present

VERES PÁLNÉ, A TRUE FREEDOM FIGHTER FOR WOMEN

Veres Pálné, neé Beniczky Hermin Karolina
VERES PÁLNÉ, A TRUE FREEDOM FIGHTER FOR WOMEN

“Man, have you lost your mind?  Enrolling a girl in higher education?”…

- I overheard the robust voice of my father’s lawyer friend as I was playing in the next room with his daughters.  My dad had just proudly told him that I was accepted in the fifth grade of a bi-lingual humanistic program of a highly reputable parochial girls’ school, leading to high school graduation and “Matura” after the 12th grade.  His friend then went into a tirade about why girls are meant, and should be raised to, enhance the life and happiness of their husband and not to compete with him.

Believe it or not, their conversation happened just before the middle of the 20th century!

The man with the “antediluvian” principles was the frustrated father of five daughters, no sons.  At the birth of the fifth girl he almost attacked the obstetrician for “not being able to deliver a boy” for him.  To prepare the girls for their true calling, at a tender age, each was given a spinning wheel and had to learn how to use it.  They were not allowed to go to secondary school but were expected to marry as soon as possible. Fortunately for them, the post-war years’ changing regimes sent their father into exile and they were free to follow their own dreams.

 

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Olga Vállay Szokolay