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Cover of Women's History Review

Women's History Review

Volume 23, Issue 3, May 2014
Pages 347-364

  • DOI: 10.1080/09612025.2013.820599
  • Print ISSN: 0961-2025
  • Online ISSN: 1747-583X

Overcoming Inner Division: post-suffrage strategies in the organised German women's movement

German women were working within a context strikingly different from either the USA or the UK following the granting of suffrage in 1918. Focusing on the largest of the bourgeois women's organisations, the Federation of Women's Associations (Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine, BDF), this article situates the post-suffrage strategies and priorities of the German women's movement within their particular national context. The BDF have been accused of failing to fully utilise the vote as a tool for change, but a study of their journal, Die Frau, shows that it was the weight of external factors that reduced the BDF's impact, rather than any failure of courage or commitment by the women. An overview of German press coverage of female suffrage before, during and after the war sets out the mental landscape within which the women were operating and gives for the first time a much-needed indication of public response to the issue.