Elizabeta Soklič – the first female teacher at the Novo Mesto secondary school
Elizabeta (Lizika) Soklič was born on 9 February 1900 in Borovlje in Carinthia (Austria) to Martin, a gunsmith, and Neža. She attended the girls’ school, the three-year bourgeois school and one-year gardening course in Borovlje.
She gained her first teaching experience as an auxiliary teacher for women handicrafts at the primary and bourgeois schools in Borovlje, that were under the Yugoslavia administration at the time of plebiscite. In May 1921, she passed a test for teaching women handicrafts at common people’s and bourgeois schools. As an auxiliary teacher, she taught at the one-year school in Koprivnik, Bohinj, and later as a temporary and a permanent teacher (from 1922 to 1924) at the bourgeois school for boys and girls in Tržič and at the people’s schools in Tržič and Križe. After a few months’ break from being employed as a state employee, she started working as a permanent teacher for women handicrafts at the eight-year girls’ primary school in Novo mesto on 14 April 1925. In 1926, she started to teach handicrafts in the first four classes at the Novo mesto secondary school as well.
The preparations for introducing this school subject in secondary schools began in August 1924, when the Education Department for Slovenia sent a circular to the secondary school headmasters urging the professors to discuss the possibility of introducing women handicrafts as a secondary school subject. The Novo mesto school board met on 28 September at a special conference: eleven professors opposed the introduction of a new subject claiming that the aim of secondary school is not to give practical education, but mostly a formal basis for acquiring a higher expert education. According to those professors, introduction of this subject would oppose the emphasising of complete gender equality and would be even harmful because handicrafts “make the eyes tired and extremely tense and bent sitting causes spine deformation”. Despite the resistance, the school authorities introduced women handicrafts from the first to the fourth class in the school year 1926/27. The subject was taught by honorary teachers. The first teacher who taught that subject at the Novo mesto secondary school was Elizabeta Soklič.
She also raised a family in Novo mesto. In 1928, she married Zdenko Skalicky, a painter, poet and engineer at the Škofja Loka factory Šešir. The best man and the maid of honour at their wedding were Prof. Dr. France Kidrič, a literary historian, and Angela Piskernik, the first Slovenian female PhD. According to official documents, Elizabeta Soklič, married name Skalicky, was on maternity leave in 1929 and later on sick leave. However, it is not known if she has ever worked afterwards.
Učiteljski tovariš 1 May 1925, year 65, No. 17, p. 3
Sever, Jože (1971). 225 let novomeške gimnazije, p. 151.
SI_ZAL_NME 3 Okrajno glavarstvo Novo mesto, t. e. D21