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Mašiotene, Ona (1883–1949)

Mašiotene, Ona (1883–1949)

Lithuanian feminist and nationalist . Name variations: Ona Masiotene. Born Ona Brazauskaité in Slavenae, Lithuania, in 1883; died in 1949; attended the Advanced School of Moscow.

Born in what was then the Russian province of Slavenae, Lithuania, in 1883, Ona Mašiotene showed an early interest in science, and attended the Advanced School of Moscow. While in Russia, she developed an interest in the feminist movements of Western Europe and, upon her return to Vilnius in 1905, founded the Alliance of Lithuanian Women. She subsequently represented the Alliance at the Russian Women's National Congress. In addition to holding a position as a high school teacher in Vilnius from 1911 to 1914, Mašiotene remained active in the women's movement until the outbreak of World War I in August 1914. She then moved to Moscow and became involved in nationalist movements there. In 1917, she founded the Lithuanian Women's Freedom Association, which campaigned for the independence of Lithuania.

Following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918, by which Lithuania and the other Baltic provinces gained their independence, and the end of World War I the same year, Mašiotene returned to Vilnius. There she ran a girls' school and organized adult education classes. She founded and became president of the Council of Lithuanian Women in 1929, and wrote a history of the role of Lithuanian women in politics and nationalist movements, Moteru politnis ir valstybiniai tautiskas darbas, the last volume of which was published in 1937. Ona Mašiotene died in 1949, by which time Lithuania had again lost its independence and become a constituent republic of the Soviet Union.

sources:

Uglow, Jennifer S., ed. The International Dictionary of Women's Biography. NY: Continuum Press, 1989.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan

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