Association of progressive women's associations

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The Association of Progressive Women's Associations (VfFV) was founded in Berlin in October 1899. The affiliated associations counted themselves to the “radical” or “left” wing of the bourgeois women's movement. In terms of content and goals, however, there were certainly overlaps with the Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine (BDF), which is often referred to as “moderate” , so that many of the VfFV's member associations were also members of the BDF. In 1907 the association joined the BDF as a whole.


The VfFV stood up for full equality of women in the family and in public life, for the protection of workers from exploitation, the release of all educational opportunities and for equal morals for both genders. This program was close to that of the Social Democrats , although most of the activists belonged to the left-liberal spectrum. Accordingly, the radical women's rights activists pointed out that "in order to enforce these demands, the future state is not necessary, but that these points can be achieved through social reforms within today's economic order."

Members and Board of Directors

The member associations of the VfFV included the Berlin association Frauenwohl and various of its subsidiary associations, the association Frauenbildung - Frauenstudium and the associations of the German branch of the International Abolitionist Federation . Minna Cauer , Anita Augspurg , Maria Lischnewska and Lida Gustava Heymann were represented on the board of VfFV .


The goals of the association included:

Differences between VfFV and BDF

Unlike the BDF, the VfFV did not distinguish itself from the workers' organizations. When the BDF was founded in 1894, later members of the VfFV spoke out against the exclusion of socialist women's organizations. The BDF was at best to cooperate with non-political willing workers associations, especially because the current association law women are barred membership in political associations and cooperation with socialist women, the fear for the immediate dissolution of the BDF could have led.

In principle, the “radicals” gave greater weight to self-help, rejected government coercion and took a more pacifist course. Many representatives of the “radicals” were therefore involved in the peace movement or - at least until around 1900 - for abolitionism (which from 1900 primarily gained a foothold in the BDF) and supported Helene Stöcker's “new ethics”. They worked more programmatically and tended to be critical of the BDF's willingness to compromise (often owed to pragmatism).

The demand for women's suffrage was in principle represented by both the “radicals” and the “moderates”, differences mainly existed in the view of how this demand was to be enforced.


  • Ute Gerhard : The radicals in the fight for justice and against double standards. In: Ute Gerhard: Unheard of. The history of the German women's movement. Hamburg 1990, pp. 215-277.
  • Barbara Greven-Aschoff: The bourgeois women's movement in Germany 1894-1933. Göttingen 1981

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Else Lüders : The 'left wing'. A sheet from the history of the German women's movement. Berlin 1904, p. 49 f.