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The Employment of Women: Conservative and Liberal Views (1872)

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Certainly, military applicants [veterans of the wars of unification] had to be taken into consideration and provided with employment, but women should have the same access as men to positions not occupied by military candidates.

“I believe it is important for the entire development of our society – important precisely with respect to the materialism of our times – that we arouse a feeling of true independence in women as well; that we rid them of the wretched idea that they must always depend on the family of their birth, unless they build a family of their own through marriage. That’s why they believe they must marry at any price in order to attain a solid bourgeois position in life.

Quite the contrary, I regard it as the task of legislation and state institutions to give
them the opportunity to become independent, to earn their living themselves in an
honest way, because otherwise we have to fear opening the door to immorality.”

In voting on the petition, the Reichstag passed the motion specifying that

the petition “be referred to the Reich Chancellor for consideration when filling posts
within Reich transport facilities suitable for female persons.”

Source: “Bericht über die Reichstagsdebatte am 13.5.1872 betr. Petition des Verbandes deutscher Frauenbildungs- und Erwerbsvereine um Zulassung der Frauen zum Eisenbahn-, Post- und Telegraphendienst” [“Report on the Reichstag Debate on May 13, 1872 Concerning the Petition by the Alliance of Associations for Women’s Education and Property Rights for the Admission of Women into Service for the Railroad, Post Office, and Telegraph Office]. Frauen-Anwalt [Women's Advocate] 3, no. 6 (September 1872): pp. 183ff.

Original German texts reprinted in Margrit Twellmann, Die Deutsche Frauenbewegung im Spiegel repräsentativer Frauenzeitschriften. Ihre Anfänge und erste Entwicklung [The German Women’s Movement as Reflected in Representative Women's Journals: Its Beginnings and Initial Development], 2 vols., vol. 2, Quellen 1843-1889 [Sources 1843-1889]. Meisenheim am Glan: A. Hain, 1972, pp. 451-53.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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