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The Life of Women Throughout The Years of The Weimar Republic

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In the wake of World War One, all countries experienced unprecedented societal change, yet none more so than the newly-established Weimar Republic. Throughout the ensuing Weimar Years, extremely liberalist attitudes and governmental policies were adopted, yet one of the most striking features of the new state was its attitude towards women. 

With approximately 1.7 million soldiers dead, and 6 million more injured, missing, or disabled; an entire generation of Germany’s young men had been wiped out by war, and with millions of jobs to fill, women began to enter the workforce. This participation in their country’s economy gave these women a taste of freedom; for they were no longer dependent on their partners or family, and had access to a disposable income. It is around this time that the idea of the New Woman began to emerge; unlike all previous ideals of a Germanic woman, the New Woman rejected the stereotypical mother/wife archetype, wearing freer clothing, enjoying a night out, and being more willing to express her sexuality. 

Many young women began to participate in cabarets, and be involved in the thriving Berlin party scene. One woman who was the epitome of Berlin in the 1920s was Anita Berber; a popular cabaret dancer as well as an avid drug user and alcohol drinker, (something which would never have been tolerated in pre-war Germany) Anita was a poster-child (albeit rather extreme) for the New Woman. This shift towards women no longer seeing motherhood as their one goal in life was reflected in the plummeting birth rates, which, for their time, were the lowest in the world, reaching a low of 1.58 babies per woman. Legislation allowing women access to higher education was aiding this trend, and even women with children were taking initiative to earn the money for their households. With the right to vote and participate in the Reichstag being established in 1919, the female population was gifted a political voice, and in the first election in which these rights could be exercised, 11 women were elected for the Reichstag; reflecting a greater interest in politics amongst women. To be a woman in the early Weimar Republic was to taste freedom, yet the party was never going to last long.

The story of Weimar women’s liberation is both an example of feminism at its best and worst. The arch of womens’ rights is best illustrated through dividing the Weimar Years into three sections: the early post-war era (Woman), the mid-Weimar period (worker), and the final Weimar Years (wife).

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The Life of Women Throughout the Years of the Weimar Republic. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from
“The Life of Women Throughout the Years of the Weimar Republic.” GradesFixer, 07 Jul. 2022,
The Life of Women Throughout the Years of the Weimar Republic. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 Aug. 2022].
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