This paper focuses on Jews as subjects in the struggle for women’s emancipation in Habsburg Galicia from a (post)colonial perspective. The Polish feminist and writer Maria Janion proposed the thesis that Poland should be perceived as a colonizing and colonial country in terms of its eastern neighbours, and also in relation to its Jewish population. She argues that this relationship, after Said’s postcolonial theory, can be also described in gender constructions. Janion’s theoretical construct serves as a prism to examine the relationship between Polish and Jewish women in the associations of women within the women’s movement; the perception of the female Jews from the perspective of Polish feminists; and the Jewish national movement at the beginning of the 20th Century in Austrian Galicia from the women’s historical perspective. Following Janion’s thesis, on the one hand the way Polish feminists acting in Galicia focused Jews in the medial course should be clarified, as should the extent to which growing antisemitism led to changes in the women’s associations. On the other hand, light needs to be shed on the relationship of the Zionists to the Jewish Women’s associations on the basis of discursive inscriptions within the Galician Jewish national press, reflecting the changes in Jewish women’s associations.
Progress was an ideological concept in the political movements of the 19th century. This article asks how the women’s movements argued withthe concept of progress in a region which had been considered as backward since its establishment as the Habsburg part of partitioned Poland. The analysis focuses on how the political movements in 19th-century Galicia took advantage of the topoi of backwardness and progress, using them as rhetorical elements. Examples are taken from the Ukrainian women’s movement and women’s politics in the Zionist movement.