A book has been released for all those who have ever wondered who the first Slovenian female pilot was, or police officer, entrepreneur, doctor, sculptress, architect, philosopher or writer. Fifty of these extraordinary women are now presented in The Unforgettable: Women Who Pushed the Boundaries of Our World.
The book in Slovenian, bringing interesting details from the lives of these women, is a joint project of 20 authors who are mostly active in researching women’s rights. Led by Veronika Tašner, it is an effort that took two and a half years.
“We’ve decided to dedicate our book to the young, who are in their formative years and still trapped in stereotypical stories of good girls and clever boys, fragile girls and feisty boys. We wanted to show what our predecessors did to help create the world we live in,” Tašner said.
The book was inspired by another book, The Forgotten Half (2007), which brings the stories of 129 women who had a major impact on Slovenian society.
According to Tašner, the authors picked some of the women from that book but also added new generations who broke the glass ceiling. She believes the project needs to continue, as women’s status in modern society cannot be taken for granted, given that important positions of power are still mostly occupied by men.
Another special feature of the book is their illustrations, the work of ten artists of different generations, ranging from well-known to up-and-coming artists including Huiqin Wang, Andreja Peklaj, Polona Lovšin, Helena Tahir and Samira Kentrić.
“These ten artists have created extraordinary portraits. We can say the book features a gallery of styles, an overview of contemporary Slovenian illustration,” said Alenka Veler, editor at the publisher Mladinska knjiga.
Mladinska Knjiga will promote the unforgettable fifty in cooperation with the festival City of Women. Today, a campaign kicks off featuring posters of images from The Unforgettable around Ljubljana. A virtual exhibition will also be set up in cooperation with the Vodnikova Domačija cultural venue.
The work will be discussed at a conference held as part of festival, which will focus on equal opportunities in education.
But the release has been marred by what Tašner called a “cold shower”: Just before the book went into print, the publisher decided to change its cover, she said.
Originally, the cover featured women riding bicycles but the editors decided to change that. Now, women’s portraits up to their waist are on the cover.
Nika Kovač, the president of feminist NGO March 8 Institute, said on Facebook that the cover originally featured women cycling “because the bicycle is a feminist symbol. Because it symbolises resistance. Because it connects generations”. Now, “only women without their lower parts are left, without bicycles”.
“Self-censorship of the well-meaning is one of the aspects of slipping into more authoritative systems,” she wrote.
Mladinska Knjiga editor-in-chief Bojan Švigelj told the STA that all major projects of Mladinska were confirmed at meetings of editors and the marketing department. “There the desire was expressed that we go for a different book cover that we find more appropriate.“