Rosika Schwimmer’s uncompromising vision of women’s equality and world peace helped advance the women’s movement but caused a backlash that cost Schwimmer everything. Schwimmer became a bookkeeper at age eighteen and began organizing women workers, founding the National Association of Women Office Workers in 1897, the Hungarian Association of Working Women in 1903, and the Hungarian Council of Women in 1904. She also ran A Nö, a feminist journal. As press secretary of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance, she moved to London, where she began lobbying for peace at the dawn of WWI, suggesting neutral nations work together to formulate a plan for peace. She travelled to America to drum up support for both pacifism and suffrage, creating the Women’s Peace Party in 1915. The following year, she persuaded Henry Ford to finance a peace conference in Stockholm. The effort was a failure and Schwimmer was reviled by the press. She briefly served as Hungary’s minister to Switzerland in 1918 before communists took over Hungary, then fled to America. On arrival, however, she became a lightning rod for antifeminists and anti-Semites, accused of being both a German spy and a Bolshevik. Despite this, she continued to fight for women’s rights and world government until her death.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Rosika Schwimmer." (Viewed on October 16, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/schwimmer-rosika>.