Bogusławą Keckova: An Official Female Doctor in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1893–1911
Keywords:Official Female Doctors, Bogusławą Keckovą, Mostar, Osvit, Bosnia and Herzegovina 1878–1918
The purpose of this paper is to bring to light the biographical details, the professional work and the publishing activities of Bogusławą Keckovą (Bohuslava Keckova in Czech and Keck in German), who functioned as an Austro-Hungarian health officer in Mostar from 1893 to 1911 during the period of the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH). Keckovą, who came from Prague, was the second of nine female physicians to be employed by the Austro-Hungarian authorities between 1892 and 1918. Keckovą contributed significantly to the improvement of public health and hygiene in BH, especially by organising the medical treatment of Muslim women. She published a series of popular medical articles, both in Czech and in Bosnian. Her medical articles in the Mostar newspaper, ‘Osvit’, were among the first in BH to promote public health education and aimed at improving the health of the population. In the Czech Republic, ‘Bohuslava Kecková’ is renowned for being the first Czech female physician to graduate, who, due to Austria’s conservativism and anti-feminism, had been forced to study and practise abroad. After Keckovą’s efforts to have her Swiss MD degree (1880) recognised in Austria failed in 1882, she acquired an Austrian midwife’s diploma and established a maternity home in Prague. In 1892, she accepted the invitation to serve as an Austro-Hungarian female health officer in Mostar, where she initialised and popularised the utilisation of public health among (Muslim) women. Conclusion. Bogusławą Keckovą’s work as a physician, medical writer and health educator, which she continued tirelessly until her death in 1911, was based on gender-specific socialmedical concepts, which were at the core of the contemporary Czech feminist movement.