Museum of Pakrac is one of the youngest museums in Croatia. It is located in the area of northeastern Croatia. The museum is situated in the center of the town in the Little Castle, an object that forms part of the former curia of the noble Janković family. Project member, dr. Jelena Seferović, will present for the second time, in February, in the premises of this Museum, the results of her research on the history of a psychiatric hospital in Pakrac. This time, she will problematize women’s work in World War II and its aftermath. Her presentation is based on the analysis of patient files of female patients who were on psychiatric hospitalization in “Pakrac” during the aforementioned period of time.

 

SOME ASPECTS OF WOMEN’S WORK IN WORLD WAR II AND ITS AFTERMATH: EXPERIENCES OF FEMALE PATIENTS FROM PAKRAC PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL

Even during World War I, peasant women were forced to take over jobs related to the maintenance of the agriculture and livestock otherwise performed by men. In cities, women began to get jobs in factories in employment places that were traditionally reserved for men. Most of the male population were mobilized into the military and often did not return from war or were physically and/or mentally dysfunctional after returning home due to traumatic war experiences. Therefore, at (inter)war period women had to become family breadwinners, and they managed to preserve jobs because employers paid them half as much then to men for equal work. The (un)formal labor market at that time was not formed on the basis of the personal preferences of women related to job choice but on the basis of an assessment of their physical ability to perform some work and the necessity to adapt to adverse (post)war socio-economic circumstances. Almost the same trend in the area of ​​formal employment of women and their involvement in informal work at home continued during World War II and its aftermath. An analysis of the patient files of female patients treated at the psychiatric hospital in Pakrac from the latter period provided insight, not only into the structure of the jobs that some women did at the time, but also revealed the socio-economic causes and consequences of their work experience. In particular, the descriptive testimonials of the patients recorded in their personal files on working everyday life and the way in which that reflected on their family dynamics and on their social-emotional functioning, were important to reflect on the chosen topic.