Inspiring Austrian Women: Ida Pfeiffer

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2015 we would like to introduce you to a few Austrian women that have impressed and inspired us:

Ida Pfeiffer
by Kerstin Micheler
Ida Pfeiffer
Ida Pfeiffer was a Viennese author in the early 19th century, when the recognition of women’s rights and gender equality was far from embraced in the wider public discourse, as is the case today.  Ida Pfeiffer wrote about her journeys around the world, which included numerous countries across four continents. Her books were bestsellers, creating fascination among her many readers for the exotic places she described in what were at that time unexplored territories.

Despite her popularity, Ida Pfeiffer had to publish her travel journals under a pseudonym and her husband took charge of the publishing of her literary works, as the concept of a woman traveling alone would not have been acceptable in Biedermeier times.

To me Ida Pfeiffer is a great example of how to walk your own path in spite of what other people may think is or is not right. A female travel writer will no longer raise eyebrows. Let’s hope that the inequalities that remain today will seem as bizarre in the future as the opposition to a woman traveling the world in the 19th century does to us today.

Kerstin Micheler is currently completing an internship at the ACF London. She has a background and interest in literature.


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