Woman in Germany (time periods) 1871-1990

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  • Role of Women
    • FRG
      • In west Germany after the war there was a focus on restoring the nuclear family with a male breadwinner. Benefits given to those with 3 or more children - excluding many working women or those widowed by war
        • Pension schemes also discriminated against women as it was based on life earnings so time off for maternity or part time work left them with little money
      • Women technically had a more equal role in 1929 but traditional attitudes remained persistent. It wasn't until 1957 they became totally equal to their husbands and in 1959 husbands complete authority was revoked
      • By 1980 women still only made up 39% of the labor force, only 2% more than in the Weimar, they were still working in the lowest paid jobs and made up 93% of part time workers and on average their pay was 30% less than men
      • Increased opportunity in education as they made up 30% of those in higher education
        • by the 1980s female admissions to uni equaled to that of men
      • Rise in feminist movements led to changes in legislation - equality in marriage, allowed to seek employment and divorce was made easier to obtain
        • In 1980 the government introduced a national officer for women's affairs
      • Mainly continuity for woman as they were mainly looked at through their husbands status as they remained the same economically and socially
    • Weimar Republic/Impact of ww1
      • Some women became the primary breadwinner for the first time due to more work opportunities in new sectors due to the men being off at war. These included transport, steel, iron, chemicals and postal. Women's work was now promoted by the government to help keep up the economy
      • As women gained the vote their position in parliament was enhanced as in 1919 they made up 9.6% of the Reichstag which remained consistent throughout the period
        • It seems a small percentage but in comparison the UK only had 2% and the USA 1%.
      • Women were also granted equality in education
      • FWW saw the emergence of double workers - women who were married and worked. This saw enhanced economic independence of many.
      • The new Weimar woman challenged traditional culture as she was working, independent and challenged conservative femininity
      • Continuity - attitudes still the same, and such other experiences were for a minority of women
    • Nazi Germany
      • Nazis viewed women in a traditional way. Men and women had different duties. For women this was to birth a plentiful race of Germans who would be raised to fit ideals such as nationalism.
        • The new wiemar woman was a threat to this and would often be portrayed badly in Nazi propaganda
      • They believed the family was the heart of the nation which then supports the idea that the place for women is in the home caring for her children
        • double burden of work and family made women vote for the Nazis
      • Introduced a range of policies that forced women out of work, female working groups banned, barred from government, less female teachers, less women in uni, family loans given to women who didn't work, curriculum focused on domestic tasks for girls
      • wearing make up was discouraged, urged to not be concerned over weight, told to dress feminine and not to smoke in public
        • Women were also encouraged to have as many children as possible and were rewarded for doing such via being given a medal
          • "Kinder, Kirche, Kuche"
      • Different from Kaiser tradition - Nazis ideas on a master race. Physical and racial fitness were important
        • Abortions banned
        • Centers set up where racially pure women could get pregnant through a ** member. Racially unfit were discouraged from having kids
      • Failed to restrict female labor forces - women still 33%  - barely decreased - 66% in clothing - 12% in metal
        • Introduced a Duty year that pushed women into the textiles, clothing and tobacco industries as women seeked more work
      • During the war they seeked more women to join the workforce and by the end of it they made up 60%
        • Failed to overcome their contradictory policies
    • Kaiserreich
      • The role of Women remained largely traditional-to provide maternal care for her children, providing emotional support and caring for the sick and the needy of society
      • The lower status of women was legalized through national civil code. Men had authority over their wife property, wealth. Women were also denied the vote as they were believed to be too fragile to be involved in politics
      • The growing industrialization of Germany saw more women enter the workforce in the textiles and food processing fields - these were the lowest paid and the least skilled sectors, this work was deemed unskilled and subsidiary
      • Welfare provisions were put in place for women at work - guaranteed 6 week maternity leave and longer lunches for them to perform domestic duties and a shorter working day. Also were not allowed to work in mines
        • However, these were in place to reinforce the idea that women belonged in the home while the male went out and worked
      • This inequality for women saw the rise of feminist groups. For example the society for the protection of women, although they had some small successes they were banned. The SPD also challenged such inequalities who helped organise the first international womens day


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