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Cook, Alice Hanson / Workers' education in the U.S. Zone of Germany
(1947)

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


Page 12


Perhaps most important will be the question of the motivation with which
the present predomrinantly mnale union leadership Approaches the 'whole problem:
do women represent a throat to the established male wage standards unless
they are unionized? Or are women to be.regarded as co-equal workers whose
basi
needs have n6 t till naovw received'just.treatienV-and oonsideratioan'?'
In approaching this probloit in. Bavaria and Eesse, special wornen's depart-
ments were sit up in the union With full. tiiie staff for special work with
wome
Both Hesse and Vvuerttmboerg-Baden union women,have had Land-wide.conferences
f
the formulat.on of a program bn women's educational courses, and the.Bremen
unions have held one course for women. In Btembn, it was reported that it
was
very  difficr0it to got women from the factory to go to school, and that
most o
the women who attended were union cmloyees'from the.' union offices.
Some girls participate in most of the, youth leaders' courses, but.the
years of Hitler training when women's voices were not heard have left their
imprints here. Girls do not participate vocally   in these courses, and probabl
will not until school and youth group .leaders find ways of bringing them
into
the discussion.
The.unions have given directions, in works councillors elections, to in-
clude at least one woman as well as one youth representative in the council.
It is difficult in -Lost plants to find the woman who is willing to serve.
Because they..are overburdened with household worries, the women are very
willi
to.leave this kind of work to the.mori and do not seeik office.
*  That some women do not feel at hoi,?e in the trade unions' predo4.nantly
male atmo'sphere is.evidenrted byv their particination in the non-political
women
committees which are organized all overthe zone, The working women here say
that.they  o not mind speaking up amang other wo.aen, that. they often receive
only a pierfunctory hearing in the uniors, that, the. unions tend to give,lip
service to the speciael needs of wvoman in the uniotns but do not set rmeetings
at
times when they can come, or. somet-imes do- not get, down to business on
the
special demands of women -- for instance, on the equal pay for equal work
program..      ..
The whole womaen.s inovemnat in Garmany is about where the U.S. feminist
movement was 30 years ago -- tiliant, se~l-conscious, still fighting for
basi
: acceptance of wiomen. in the professionae and for th4eir equal rights in,
sPiety.
1dd to this their official suppres.sion for, 12 years,. their lack of recent
,political experience-. nd the grounad..is laid for a vigorous minority to.lead
a feminist movement. The labor movement tends to oppose this developmegt
       f
throughout, to maintain that the unions are the only organization ready and
-abla to deal effectively. writh problems of working women.; So. far as*,.an
outsider
can determine 'there is no reason why these two Movements should not complemen!
-one ano~thei and work closely together .-- the womei is, organizations supp..atia2
union demand&-. for: working women; W:orkinag:.womea aiding middle class
aad :pro-
fessibnal. women. in their struggle for equal legal rigbts.,It is. another
avenue
through which the labor movement and a section of the community interested
in social progress could join forces.
- -12


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