Who is the most influential feminist in history

From wave to wave

The black feminist women's movement emerged in the 1980s. Black women felt oppressed and were oppressed by the prevailing racism in the predominantly white women's movement. «Womanhood» and feminism were equated with white women, black women were not noticed and began to articulate themselves. The Afro-American poet and feminist philosopher Audre Lorde was formative and stimulated the exchange of ideas and experiences between white and black women, especially communication between black German women in Germany and research on the history of black women.

1949 - equality in the constitution
In the constitution of the GDR it was stated in article 7 "Men and women have equal rights". In the west, the SPD politicians continued
Elisabeth Selbert and Friederike Nadig against initially fierce opposition to Article 3 Paragraph 2 «Men and women have equal rights» for the Federal German Basic Law. You are one of the four "mothers" of the Basic Law who, from September 1948 to May / June 1949, worked out the Basic Law for the FRG alongside the 61 men on the Parliamentary Council. It was not until 1957 that the statutory provisions that violated Article 3 of the Basic Law were gradually repealed. This includes, among other things, the husband's right to make final decisions in all marriage matters and about the wife's occupation. It was only in 1994 that the article was supplemented with the following: "The state promotes the actual implementation of equality between women and men and works towards eliminating existing disadvantages."

1961 - women in government
In 1961, Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt became the first woman to become Federal Minister. She is responsible for health care. It will be over 40 years before a woman will hold the office of Chancellor. In the 1980s, the Greens established a party that felt committed to feminism. Against this background, the ruling CDU modernized its women's policy and in 1986 appointed Rita Süßmuth as the first woman minister. Above all, Rita Süssmuth promoted the better compatibility of family with other areas of life for both partners.

1968 - "The Tomato Throw"
The "tomato toss" is the starting signal for the second wave of the women's movement in the West. At the congress of the Socialist German Student Union, Helke Sander, spokeswoman for the Action Council for the Liberation of Women, accused the SDS men of not going far enough in their social criticism because they ignored the discrimination against women. Thereupon Sigrid Damm-Rüger threw tomatoes in the direction of the board table as a sign of female protest. In the future, women's groups and women's councils will repeatedly draw the public's attention to inequalities between the sexes and discrimination against women with spectacular campaigns.

1971 - Stern title «We have aborted»
The journalist Alice Schwarzer initiated the public self-incriminations of 374 prominent and non-prominent women. The women publicly confess in Stern that they have had an abortion and thus violated the applicable law of Section 218 of the Criminal Code. The action caused a sensation in West Germany because it was the first time it publicly addressed the taboo topic of abortion and suggested the establishment of several feminist groups that campaigned against paragraph 218. In contrast to the FRG, abortions in the GDR were legal for the first three months since 1972.

1973 - Opening of women's rooms
After the opening of the first women's center in West Berlin in 1973, women's centers quickly spread as contact points and places of exchange for women, regardless of political or feminist tendencies. As a result, lesbian groups, women's cafés, women's pubs and autonomous women's projects such as women's shelters emerge. The first women's refuge was founded in 1976 in West Berlin by women from the autonomous women's movement. They quickly spread throughout West Germany. Since then, they have been a haven for women and their children who experience partner violence.

1976 - Feminist media appear
The feminist magazine Courage was published in West Berlin from 1976 to 1984. The self-managed autonomous courage was seen as the mouthpiece and communication platform of the autonomous left-feminist and lesbian scene. She took up topics that were considered extremely sensitive in the social climate of the time, and encouraged women to lead a self-determined life. In 1977 the magazine EMMA appeared for the first time with a circulation of around 200,000 copies. With her, the editor Alice Schwarzer became one of the leading figures of the German women's movement. In the future, women’s pages in daily newspapers, above all in the taz with a left-feminist orientation - partly in controversy about positions of the EMMA; likewise broadcasts on the radio - such as times in Berlin and television magazines.

1977 - First law to reform marriage and family law
With the law, a number of new regulations come into force: Among other things, the so-called "housewife marriage", which legally obliged women to run the household, is abolished. The husband's right to terminate his wife's employment relationship without notice is thereby abolished. In divorce law, the principle of guilt is given up in favor of the principle of breakdown. In addition, the surname of the woman can now become the common surname in marriages.

1970 / 80s - Feminist teaching and research
In 1976 feminism found its way into science with the first women's university in Berlin. In the 1980s, Christina Thürmer-Rohr, among others, made a major contribution to rethinking the feminist self-image and developing other methodological approaches in feminist research with her thesis of complicity.

The sociologist Ute Gerhard received the first chair for women and gender studies at a German university. Gender studies, which explicitly and interdisciplinary ask how gender shapes human communities and how gender is shaped by them, was institutionalized for the first time in 1997 at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

1980 Law on Equal Treatment for Men and Women in the Workplace
The principle of equal treatment in the workplace is laid down as a legal claim in the BGB. Likewise the right to equal pay. Job advertisements should be formulated in a gender-neutral way. In the future, the employer will bear the burden of proof in the process if the employee can credibly demonstrate behavior and decisions that indicate discrimination because of her gender. The unequal pay of women and men, the so-called gender pay gap, is a central feminist issue to this day.

1980s - women's groups in the GDR
In the German Democratic Republic in the 1980s there were around 100 women's groups belonging to different currents under the umbrella of the Protestant Church. All groups were networked with one another - through overarching women's group meetings, women's magazines, women's cafés, church convention meetings, workshops and personal acquaintances. The collective self-image of the women's movement was shaped in the early to mid-1980s, primarily through dealing with peace-related issues, feminist theology, the lesbian scene and art.

Mid-1980s - Afro-German women found ADEFRA
ADEFRA is considered to be one of the first associations of Black Germans in the post-war period. ADEFRA stands for Afro-German women and was founded in connection with the debates about the book “Bekennen. Color.” Published in 1986 by May Ayim, Katharina Oguntoye and Dagmar Schultz. Afro-German women on the trail of their history ». Together with the Caribbean-African-American activist Audre Lorde (1934–1992, the documentary "Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992") shows more about her and her life in Berlin, black German activists developed the term «Afro-German» in 1984. ADEFRA relies on empowerment, i.e. strengthening self-confidence, self-determination and self-organization of black women in Germany. Like the American Angela Davis and bell hooks, they contributed to the awareness of the problem about racism and the German colonial legacy in the white German women's movement.

1990 - reunification
When it came to German unification, the starting conditions of the East and West German women's movements were very different. In contrast to the West, the equal participation of women in the labor market was anchored in the constitution of the GDR. Employment was largely normal, and a comprehensive system of crèches and kindergartens enabled parents to pursue this. Paragraph 218 was deleted, making abortion legal.

Legal regulations for families and women, which had been different in the two German states for more than 40 years, are now being aligned in the Unification Treaty. Article 31 paragraph 1 instructs the all-German legislature to further develop legislation on equality between men and women.

1990 - Judith Butler publishes "The Discomfort of the Sexes"
The paper by the American Judith Butler sparked the discussion about queer theory, which critically examines the relationship between biological sex, gender and sexual desire. One of Butler's important contributions is the performative model of gender. It assumes that gender and sexual identity, and thus what is understood by gender, is generated and represented by everyday actions, by attributions and expectations of and between people. What being woman or being a man or gender identity is therefore not static and absolutely fixed, but changes in everyday interaction.

1995 - UN World Conference on Women in Beijing
In the “Beijing Platform for Action”, which was adopted at the end of the fourth World Conference on Women, strategic goals are defined and measures are listed that should lead to the realization of women's rights and gender equality. Twelve problem areas were named in which specific measures are required: women and poverty, women's education and training, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflicts, women in business and in positions of power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for promotion of women, human rights of women, women and the media, women and the environment, girls. The results of the implementation, drawn in March 2015 by the Women's Rights Commission in New York after 20 years, are extremely poor: human rights violations against women are still the order of the day worldwide.

1997 - Marital rape becomes a criminal offense
In 1997, a majority of the members of the Bundestag - exempted from parliamentary group requirements - voted in favor of a cross-parliamentary group motion by female members of parliament and thus for legal equality between marital and extramarital rape. Since then, marital rape has also been a criminal offense.

1999 - gender mainstreaming
Since the Amsterdam Treaties, gender mainstreaming - a postulate of the Beijing World Conference on Women in 1995 - has also been a declared goal of the European Union. Gender mainstreaming means taking into account the different life situations and interests of women and men when making decisions at all levels of society in order to enforce gender equality. Gender mainstreaming is a top-down instrument and includes all genders equally.

Third wave of women's movements

Since the 1980s, the women's movement has become more diverse. In order to better represent their respective interests and concerns, the various groups, such as mothers, migrants, lesbians and scientists, organized themselves in their own clubs, political associations and institutions, for example in the form of women's or equality officers. The concerns of the (autonomous) women's movements fell out of the public eye and were increasingly seen as outdated.

A postmodern image of society - everyone can be happy according to their own style - relieved many women of the pressure of having to assume a certain female role. In the 1990s, however, anti-feminisms and biologisms reappeared, and indifference and ignorance of “women's issues” developed again - this and the offshoots of the second women's movement led to various new “currents” of feminism. Some speak of the third wave of feminism.

Especially younger women of the feminist movements around the turn of the millennium called on women not to complain about inequality, but to confidently take possession of their rights. The self-confidence of young women can now also be based on the widespread use of gender-democratic concepts such as Europe-wide gender mainstreaming. Feminism seems to be increasingly differentiating itself and becoming a lively discourse between many different positions. Newer theoretical and practical concepts of feminism include the post-colonial criticism of the unquestioned Western-white way of thinking and living as well as the criticism of fixed gender identities with heterosexuality as a generally binding orientation.

2001 - Introduction of the Law on Civil Partnerships
Red-green legal reforms lead to the law on registered civil partnerships, or civil partnership law for short, for two people of the same sex. The legal consequences of this legal institution of the civil partnership are largely modeled on the legal consequences of marriage in civil law matters. In 2015 there were almost 43,000 registered civil partnerships in Germany, around 48 percent of which were female partnerships.

2002 - Prostitution Act
The Prostitution Act is a consequence of the prostitution movement of the 1980s and 1990s and a success of green government policy. It wanted to reduce discrimination against prostitutes and improve their legal and social situation. Since then, agreements on sexual acts have made it possible to sue for compensation claims. In addition, sex workers can now regularly pay into statutory health, unemployment and pension insurance. The grand coalition amended the law in September 2016 and passed the Prostitute Protection Act. Prostitutes are now obliged to register their trade, prostitution businesses must be approved. Further regulations required regular health advice and stipulate condoms.

2005 - Angela Merkel becomes the first female Federal Chancellor
After more than 50 years of existence of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel is the first woman to hold the office of Chancellor. In this influential role, she is also regarded as the “most powerful woman in the world”.

2008 - Foundation of MISSY MAGAZINE
MISSY MAGAZINE is a feminist magazine that combines reporting on pop culture, politics and style with a feminist stance.

2013 - # outcry debate about everyday sexism
After a woman posted sexist experiences on Twitter, net feminist Anne Wizorek and other young women set up the hashtag #aufschrei on Twitter, which triggered an avalanche of tweets. Women reported remarks and assaults that they face in their everyday life and that they perceive to be sexist. The hashtag #aufschrei was used over 50,000 times within a few days. The sexism debate was then also a topic in print media and talk shows as well as in the international press.

2017 - #MeToo
The Weinstein scandal became public in October 2017. Numerous women accused the film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, coercion or rape. In response, actress Alyssa Milano called on the hashtag #MeToo. She wanted to encourage affected women to draw attention to the extent of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Since then, this hashtag has been used millions of times, bringing the issue of sexual violence against women (and men) back on the agenda.