The early German socialist movement was a largely male affair, with widespread sexist attitudes compounding a state ban on women taking part in politics. But by the 1900s, a proletarian women’s movement had forced working-class women’s demands onto the agenda — insisting that they didn’t need fathers and husbands, or bourgeois ladies, to speak on their behalf.
Vincent Streichhahn is currently writing a PhD dissertation on the theory and practice of the women’s question in the German social-democratic movement before 1914. He is coeditor of the anthology Geschlecht und Klassenkampf: Die “Frauenfrage” aus deutscher und internationaler Perspektive im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Metropol Verlag, 2020).