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Founding of the Promotion for the Encouragement of Employment Qualification among Members of the Female Sex (Retrospective, 1891)

The passage from this 1891 retrospective of the Association for the Promotion of Employment Qualification among Members of the Female Sex, published on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, describes the association's focus on improving job opportunities for middle-class women. With a male founder and mostly male board members, the association was hardly a feminist or oppositional group. Nevertheless, it attracted notice as well as the support of the Prussian Crown Princess Viktoria.

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III. Founding of the Association for the Promotion of Employment Qualifications among Members of the Female Sex

The Executive Board and Committee of the Central Association devoted its entire meeting on November 8, 1865, to considering the memorandum and, after quite thorough deliberations, arrived at the decision that the association was entitled and obligated to take up the women’s question in the direction addressed in the memorandum, to promote it in speech and writing, and to immediately arrange for a public discussion of this highly important matter in connection with the next General Assembly. For further deliberation of the matter, a commission was appointed, which worked exceedingly diligently and received numerous letters and suggestions from the public, proof that the matter had immediately found much appeal. At its meeting on November 15, 1865, the commission agreed to recommend the following propositions for approval:

1. Although the work of women in the family is and remains the first and most important task of the female calling, commercial, craft, and industrial occupations must not be closed to the female sex.

2. The female sex, which in Germany at present is less engaged in such employment than in other countries, is perfectly suited for gainful employment in most commercial and technical activities.

3. Since wages must be based on performance, there is no justification for paying less for women’s work than for men’s work of equal value.

4. In order to improve the skills and earning potential of girls who, on the basis of comprehensive training, wish to pursue gainful employment, we recommend the establishment of schools for continuing vocational education.

5. Instruction should be limited to the necessary subjects, and the students’ participation should be left to their own discretion, as far as the various subjects are concerned. The school only has to provide the opportunity for learning, to the extent necessary.

6. In addition to lessons, it is advisable for the preparatory training of the students to receive practical instruction in commercial and industrial businesses whose owners are willing and able to offer such.

7. It is highly desirable to establish associations, especially women's associations, which, with the support of elected men, pursue the above-mentioned ways and means of expanding and improving the fields of employment for women, in order to achieve the intended success.

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