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Parren, Kalliroe (1861–1940)

Parren, Kalliroe (1861–1940)

Greek feminist, journalist, novelist, and educator. Name variations: Kallirroi Parren. Born in 1861 in Crete; died in 1940; married a French journalist.

Was founding editor of The Ladies' Newspaper (1887); founded the Union for the Emancipation ofWomen (1894), the Union of Greek Women (1896), and the Lyceum of Greek Women (1911).

Kalliroe Parren, a Greek journalist and educator who devoted her life to women's causes, spent the first ten years of her career as a headmistress of girls' schools in Russia and the Balkan nations, where her fluency in French, English, Italian, and Russian as well as her native Greek was useful. When she married a French journalist who worked in Athens, she left teaching and joined him in that city. In 1887, she founded The Ladies' Newspaper (also seen as The Women's Newspaper), the first weekly publication exclusively run by and directed to women. It would publish for 30 years. In addition to the standard news stories of the day, The Ladies' Newspaper also featured reports on social customs, family life, and education, as well as the problems women faced in legal matters, prison conditions, and other areas.

While her newspaper raised awareness on and provided information about women's issues, Parren rallied support for those causes by founding the Union for the Emancipation of Women in 1894, and the Union of Greek Women in 1896. She combined her earlier experiences in education with her passion for women's causes by founding schools for orphans and widows, where educated women provided basic instruction in reading and writing. Parren also founded a hospital for the terminally ill, and influenced government policies. Her efforts led to laws concerning the protection of working women and children, the admission of women to the University and the Polytechnic of Athens (despite public opposition), and the appointment of female doctors to women's prisons.

In 1911, Parren founded the Lyceum of Greek Women, an organization which provided support for women in the areas of education, employment, home economics, and child care. She also wrote novels with feminist themes, a feminist play (which was never staged), and two studies: The History of Women and The History of Greek Women from 1650–1860. In 1936, her achievements in advancing the status of women were recognized by the Greek Academy, which awarded her the Golden Cross of the Saviour. Parren's accomplishments laid the groundwork for an organized Greek women's movement which 12 years after her death would achieve the vote for women, a right Parren had called for during her lifetime.

sources:

Buck, Claire, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. NY: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Uglow, Jennifer S., comp. and ed. The International Dictionary of Women's Biography. NY: Continuum, 1985.

Maria Sheler Edwards , M.A., Ypsilanti, Michigan

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