On Thursday, March 7, 2018, on the eve of the International Women's Day and to mark National Women's History Month the American Studies Association in Bosnia and Herzegovina (ASA in BiH) launched a series of presentations in cooperation with and hosted by American Corner Sarajevo. The first talk was held by the Association's youngest member Adna Oković, MA, who presented to a group of students her topic “Fearless with their Pens: Three Women Writers Who Defied Conventions” exemplified with Jane Addams, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Emma Goldman. A group discussion developed afterwards, reflecting on the legacy of these women writers in today’s society, both in the U.S. and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
By the end of the nineteenth century, America had become an indomitable industrial and corporate force. With the changes in economy and culture, American women writers and activists were starting to re-examine and re-define traditional gender roles, demanding equality and the right to vote. Writers Jane Addams, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Emma Goldman were among them. While they came from different backgrounds and had very different approaches to the issue, they shared a quintessentially American determination to persevere and brave all the challenges, as they fought to aid the oppressed and disenfranchised. What were the themes these authors addressed in their works and how are they relevant for us today, over 100 years later?