Women's association

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A women's association is an association in which women come together. The goals of women's associations are often social issues in general or women's issues and issues in particular. The first German women's associations were founded at the beginning of the 19th century. At the moment there is a political discussion about withdrawing non-profit status from pure women’s as well as pure men ’s clubs , as for example in the case of the " Hamburger Ruderinnen-Club von 1925 eV "

History of women's associations in Germany


The first women's associations emerged from 1810, based on the model of the French women's associations . They were introduced in the cities of Prussia under French administration .

During the Wars of Liberation , numerous Relief Societies were formed to support the volunteers. Almost all of these women's associations dissolved again after 1815.

Since the end of the 1820s, various charitable women's associations were founded, which were mainly caring . Since the 1840s, many church women's associations were added.

Politically oriented women's associations first appeared during the revolution of 1848 . In 1850, in some federal states, including Prussia and Bavaria , membership of women in political associations was banned. The goals of the women's associations that were subsequently founded are therefore - at least ostensibly - apolitical and pragmatic.

In 1859, the then Grand Duchess Luise of Baden founded the Baden Women's Association as a forerunner of the Red Cross Sisterhood .

The 1866 by the later German Empress Augusta launched Patriotic women's associations had their main focus as the female part of the Red Cross in Prussia, first in the military nursing . In the Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871) and World War I (1914–1918) they looked after the wounded, collected so-called "gifts of love" (donations) for the soldiers, knitted stockings or had them made by women in need for a fee. Since the 1870s, the local associations have been involved in a wide range of social areas, such as soup kitchens , baby care , tuberculosis care and rural health care.

The majority of the members of the conservative-monarchist women's association came from the nobility and bourgeoisie. The Patriotic Women's Association existed until around 1937 and was the largest women's organization in the German Empire. The respective empress acted as protector and assumed a role model function. In the other parts of the empire, too, women's associations of the Red Cross were founded in the second half of the 19th century, often initiated and supported by the respective princess , whose orientation and activity profile were similar to the Prussian association.

The women's associations of the Red Cross did not represent emancipatory goals. The Lette Association founded in 1865 , which looked after better girls' education and vocational training for women, did not aim at this either.

The more progressive women's associations included numerous associations that joined the Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine (BDF) founded in 1894 ; this included the General German Women's Association founded in Leipzig in 1865 , moral associations, professional organizations such as the General German Teachers' Association or social associations and politically active groups such as voting rights associations . The first bourgeois women's movement was by and large moderate. The otherness of the female sex and the associated different role in all areas of society were not questioned.

Towards the end of the 19th century there was a real boom in the establishment of women's associations. In addition to numerous church associations, such as the German-Evangelical Women's Association , the Jewish Women 's Association , and the Catholic German Women's Association , educational and professional associations of the most varied of forms emerged. There was also a bourgeois radical women's movement around u. a. Anita Augspurg and a proletarian women's movement associated with the name Clara Zetkin .

Although these three directions fought for the rights and freedoms of women, they remained separate organizations that represented different worldviews and women from different backgrounds.

At the time of National Socialism there were ethnic women's associations, whose members represented the politics of the NSDAP in the German Women's Order founded in 1923 by Elsbeth Zander (1888–1963) .

Historical significance of women's clubs

In the 19th and 20th centuries, women had no political say. The association law of the federal states forbade female participation in politically oriented associations. This only became possible in 1908 with the Reich Association Act. Membership in an association devoted to social issues enabled members to expand their sphere of influence beyond the family, to participate in a social movement and thereby to exert some degree of influence on public opinion and values.

See also


  • Rita Huber-Sperl: Civil women's associations in Germany in the “long” 19th century - an overview sketch (1780–1910) . In: Rita Huber-Sperl (Hrsg.): Organized and committed. Club culture of bourgeois women in the 19th century in Western Europe and the USA. Königstein 2002. pp. 41-74

Individual evidence

  1. Christina Felschen, dpa: Olaf Scholz: Pure men's clubs should lose tax advantages . In: The time . November 10, 2019, ISSN  0044-2070 ( zeit.de [accessed November 10, 2019]).
  2. Marcel Laskus: Rowing Women Club Hamburg: Got out of hand . In: The time . October 10, 2018, ISSN  0044-2070 ( zeit.de [accessed November 10, 2019]).
  3. Badische Zeitung, November 18, 2012, p. 30, Regio-Medien , ko : Grand Duchess Luise von Baden - The Mother of the Red Cross ; Reference to: Kurt Bickel: Luise von Baden - The forgotten mother of the Red Cross. DRK district association Karlsruhe (ed.). Karlsruhe 2011
  4. ^ Wolfgang Mück: Nazi stronghold in Middle Franconia: The völkisch awakening in Neustadt an der Aisch 1922–1933. Verlag Philipp Schmidt, 2016 (= Streiflichter from home history. Special volume 4); ISBN 978-3-87707-990-4 , p. 269.
  5. Maike Eggemann; Sabine Hering: pioneers of modern social work. Texts and biographies on the development of social welfare. Juventa, 1999, p. 22