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Cook, Alice Hanson / Workers' education in the U.S. Zone of Germany

Labor education,   pp. 5-15 PDF (6.4 MB)

Page 11

work with organized and unorgani'zed 'adults- arounr their special interosts
an'd heeds.
But the Vhi cannot do this alone. Like many: other institutions, it' takes
its direction from the strongest forces.Within its31f. If the trade unions
not actively participate on the Boards bf Directors or do not place requests
upon the VXb tosatisfy..ther specific 4heds, the V3S wil-l not be able to
do much'abomut feeting those needs.- People in Germany today are too hungry,
uncomfortabl.e, find travellinrgtoo great an effort? to'r6spond   readily
.:educational opportunities.'Either the courses offered must have compelling
intdrest, oil an orga.nization like the unions which wants its members to
must work actively on promotion of the courses, or both. The'way is open
most German' cities for a close and fruitful cooperation between VHS and'
unions. The next step in Tmost cases: is up to. the uaions to utilize these
faeli ties and opportunities.
About 36 percent of the present German working force is women. Their per-
centage iAn the total population is higher:- about 55 percent according to
census of 29 October 1946.
Many Qf the women twho first.went to work during the war.have stayedi on
the factories and off ices because their husbands were killed or are still
prisoners. liany more first  faced the problem of self-support when they
were    \.
*epQlX'ed from the east under the Potsdam agraemnents to evacuate all Germans
fromsthe territories placed under the administration of other qations.
the refugees from the east and the Oudetenland. women and children :arxe
in the
majority, although the sex.rativ is essentia:lly the same as among the popul-
ation in Germany proper. The refugee groups include. however, a sizable pro-
*portion  of old wen. idaiy of the women are peasants. Their present employment
in the cities is.unskilled and semi-skilled labor.
The unions have not yet come to real grips with the problem. They need to
think through the question of a trade union program in behalf of women. Is
present protective legislation for women adequate? How rapidly can the union's
program for equ~al pay for equal work be realized? that position should be
taken to the women's demand for Saturday off for shopping and housekoeping?
How does the high proportion of women on. the labormarket affect traditional
trade union policy on wages,, apprenticeship. retraining, weekly working
vacations, etc.?        .
Aind then, witnin the unions themselves, what clan be  done to activate
. women 0so that they begin to carry a greater.share of democratic responsibility?
1What about the alection of more women works councillors.?1 Vhat is the function
.of women's secretariats in the unions? sire spqcial educational programs
women necessary?- How can these programs bring womQn into union work?'.
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