The Quest for Equal Rights: The Women’s Movement in Germany and its Care-based Argumentation

In: European Journal for the History of Medicine and Health
Andre Dechert Managing Director; Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Legal Unity and Pluralism”, University of Münster, Domplatz 6, 48143 Münster, Germany

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Susanne Kinnebrock Professor of Communication; Department of Media, Knowledge, and Communication, University of Augsburg, Universitätsstraße 10, 86159 Augsburg, Germany

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Building upon the Three-Level Model of the Public Sphere, we (a) analyse how women’s associations in Germany, both during the Wilhelmine era and in the days of the early Federal Republic of Germany, interlinked women’s care work with demands for equality, and (b) examine the public responses to women’s associations’ use of care as the basis for their argumentation. To accomplish these goals, we discuss the results of a standardised content analysis of three feminist magazines from these two eras (Centralblatt, Welt der Frau, and Informationen für die Frau) and supplement the results with a historical-hermeneutic analysis of selected articles, an approach that provides contextualised and detailed insights. Furthermore, we analyse the corresponding discourse in mass media and politics by focusing on major legislative changes and presenting the results of our hermeneutic analysis of selected articles from two periodicals with a strong focus on socio-political issues (Die Hilfe and Der Spiegel).

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