Clara Zetkin, The Female Laborer and Women’s Question of the Present [Die Arbeiterinnen- und Frauenfrage der Gegenwart] (1889)
This is the front cover of a book by one of Social Democracy’s most important female leaders, Clara Zetkin (1857-1933). She has been labeled a “reluctant feminist,” because fighting for the economic rights and political emancipation of both men and women alike was a higher priority for her than the “women’s question” alone. Like Hedwig Dohm, Zetkin was an experienced teacher. Although her greatest political impact – both within and beyond the Social Democratic Party [SPD] – came after Bismarck’s fall from power in 1890, she had served on the editorial board of Der Sozialdemocrat [The Social Democrat] and participated in the founding congress of the Second International in 1889 – the year in which the book pictured here was published. Having married the Russian émigré Ossip Zetkin in 1882, she followed him to Switzerland and Paris. By 1891, however, she was widowed and had returned to Germany, where she served (until 1917) as chief editor of the SPD’s leading newspaper for women, Die Gleichheit [Equality].