The Status of Women in the 20th Century Germany

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The status of women in the 20th century Germany

-patriarchal society by tradition -men’s domination in both public and private spheres - the women’s role in German society circumscribed by the three “K” words: Kinder, Kirche and Küche

Weimar Republic
-numerous freedoms as compared to the past -the most notable gains: • the right to vote • the secondary education

Women in Nazi Germany

A common rhyme for women:
"Take hold of kettle, broom and pan, Then you’ll surely get a man! Shop and office leave alone, Your true life work lies at home."

Wartime slogan: “I have donated a child to the Führer“

A Lebensborn birth house

“NS-Frauen Warte”

Post-war years: the removal of ruins

Trümmerfrauen (women of the rubble)

The Trümmerfrauen would form human chains to pass usable bricks to a collection point where they were cleaned and stacked.

Trümmerfrauen Memorial

West Germany
-traditional marriage became society’s ideal; -women became homemakers and mothers and withdrew from employment outside the home; -employment and social welfare programs were predicated on the male breadwinner model; -women played a crucial role in shaping West German culture in the ‘60s by consuming American-style products and keeping a technologically modern household; -the Equal Rights Law introduced positive changes for women: abolished husbands’ automatic right to manage property brought into the marriage by the wife; -expanded educational opportunities for women were slow in coming; -the women’s movement in 1970 determined the law of 1977 that granted women’s equal rights in marriage: women could work outside the home and file for divorce without her husband’s permission;

East Germany
-women remained in the workforce; -the Soviet-style system mandated women’s participation in the economy; -government opened up educational & vocational opportunities for women; -the marriage and family laws were rewritten to accommodate...
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