Bulgarian Association of University Women

The Bulgarian Association of University Women was founded in 1924. The members were women from several generations, who associated feminism with various concepts – predominantly liberal. Since 1925 the BAUW became a member of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW). It was headed by an almost unchanged team for 28 years. Several figures stood out in the BAUW leadership in the course of time: Zhivka Dragneva occupied the position of the BAUW secretary and international relations manager; Tatyana Kirkova (1896-1981), one of the few women who worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was a secretary and active member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and of International Students Support; Theodora Raykova-Kovacheva also stood out amongst the administrators.

The BAUW united several hundred women. About 15 % of them had been educated abroad – mainly in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria-Hungary. Most of the members had received their education in Bulgaria: at the Sofia University, at the Fine Arts Academy or at the Music Academy. One third of the members had doctoral degrees; most of them used foreign languages and sustained intensive contacts with women activists and intellectuals abroad.

The organization worked to provide favorable conditions for professional women in Bulgaria. Its representatives participated in the meetings of the the IFUW. The BAUW was also a scientific network for the first Bulgarian women-scientists to exchange information and build up solidarity. It gathered women Associate and Assistant Professors and Lectorers of the Sofia University, professors from the Academy of Music, and curators from the Ethnographic Museum and the National Library. Over a few years four sections were formed within its framework: those of Women Lawyers, Women Artists, Women Writers, and Women Students.