Armed forces arrest 2,770 individuals over illegal migration attempts    Hearing sessions to discuss constitutional amendments will be held within two weeks    Yields on Egypt's T-Bills down by 0.34 - 0.83% after CBE interest-rate cut    New study indicates high potential for gas discoveries in Red Sea    Egypt reviews electrical connection studies with Cyprus to begin project implementation    Egypt praises US military assistance in fighting extremism: Madbouly    Shoukry heads to Ireland to attend meeting on Palestinian issue    Iran seeks good, brotherly relations with Muslim countries: Rouhani    Mastercard incorporates sound as new dimension to customer experience: Beatrice Cornacchia    Egypt's Trezeguet scores in Kasimpasa's debacle against Galatasaray    Zamalek survive Enppi scare to go six points clear on top of Egyptian league    The untold story of public debt    SOTU 2019    Egyptian journalist Hassanein Heikal's personal library donated to Bibliotheca Alexandrina    White House indicates Trump to veto disapproval of emergency    Fiascos and fumbles: Oscar organizers stumble to restore glory    Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, star of 'Downfall,' dies at 77    UAE announces $1.1 bln of military deals with international companies: IDEX    Sisi holds talks with Thyssenkrupp CEO    (AP) Women filmmakers have record showing at Berlin Film Festival    Egypt's Sisi discusses with vice-president of Daimler AG Group joint cooperation    Amid controversy: nasal spray for depression wins FDA panel backing    National campaign for detecting anemia, dwarfism, obesity for pupils launched in Egypt    Colin Kaepernick reaches settlement on NFL collusion suit    Bundesliga: Bayern have Dortmund in their sights, but Liverpool have Bayern in theirs    Messi penalty helps under-par Barca beat Real Valladolid    FAO warns of desert locust raids in Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen    Press Syndicate's electoral commission receives no candidacy appeals    7 extremists killed in gunfight with security forces in North Sinai    Egypt in the heart of Africa    HEDAR contracts with 3 Egyptian plants to produce Libyan, Arab folk fashion    Egypt's police foil bomb attack in Giza: Ministry    Homegrown solutions for Africa    Proposed constitutional amendments to be discussed over next two months: Egypt's house speaker    Zamalek clashes with NA Hussein Dey in CAF Confederation Cup    Interview: Sons of Denmark, what will happen if fascists take over    Ismaili are back    AUC president to stay    Newsreel    Reporting on change    The fallacy of an Arab NATO    An interest rate cut on the horizon?    Egypt-Africa: More agreements than trade    All hands on deck    Open-air museum at Dendera    Colossus to be restored    Egypt's tale of Africa    In the prince's service    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Marie Juchacz: A life for justice and equality
Published in Daily News Egypt on 19 - 01 - 2019

She was a divorced single parent, politically active and a tireless advocate for women, children and workers. In January 1919, German women could vote for the first time — and they sent Marie Juchacz to parliament.On January 19, 1919, the Weimar Republic held its first vote for the national assembly. And for the first time, women had the right to take part. Once all the votes had been tallied, 37 women had won seats in parliament.
One month later, Marie Juchacz became the first woman in German history to address the plenary.
"Gentlemen and ladies," she began. The minutes of the first session recorded a jovial mood among the mostly male members in the plenary chamber. But that wouldn't faze Juchacz.
"Women are now fully-fledged citizens. Think about what that means. There are many more women of voting age than there are men. By using their voice at the ballot box, every citizen can influence the political process. The fact of women's suffrage should force every friend of social democracy to campaign for the women's vote. […] What this government has done was a matter of course. It has given women that which had previously been wrongly denied to them."
Read more: Rosa Luxemburg: Guiding light and controversial figure of the Left
Champion for women's suffrage
Marie Juchacz was committed to equal rights. As a champion in the fight for women's suffrage, she was instrumental in making this a reality just a few months before her historical speech. And as a new member of parliament, she was especially concerned with social policy — unemployment insurance, education, public health, maternity leave, housing — topics which until then had been largely ignored.
"The idea of democracy as a welfare state was a major movement that was supported by both sexes, but women were a fundamental part of this work," said historian Hedwig Richter of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.
"This cliche of a two-gender model — that women were responsible for social issues, and men were best suited for politics, foreign policy and war — seems strange from our perspective today," said Richter. "But the question of whether we find this model good or bad isn't relevant in this case. The female members of parliament back then felt very strongly that they were responsible for these issues. The establishment of the welfare state, in which they were significantly involved, was one of the great achievements of the Weimar Republic."
Early interest in social democracy
Marie Juchacz — then Marie Gohlke — was born in 1879 in the rural district of Landsberg an der Warthe (now Gorzow Wielkopolski, in Poland). As a young child, she was already well-informed about world politics, and she could often be found poring over the daily newspaper. Her brother played a pivotal role in the early years of her life, giving her books and fostering an interest for social democracy.
At school, she was a disciplined child with an inquiring mind. She attended elementary school until her 14th birthday — after that, there was no higher place of learning left open to her. She then worked as a maid, a factory worker and a seamstress.
She met a tailor and they married in 1903, an election year for the Reichstag. As a woman, Juchacz was not eligible to vote — but she was determined to change that. That same year her first child was born, followed two years later by another. But Juchacz was unhappy in the relationship.
In 1906, she moved to Berlin. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD). In 1917, she was appointed women's secretary in the party executive committee. Issues such as maternity leave, housing and youth care were central to her work. But even though the SPD was the first party to push for women's suffrage, female party members did not have an easy time actually implementing their demands.
"The Social Democrats had their own form of misogyny, a skeptical view of women," said Richter. "This could also be seen in other countries at the time, the US for example. Since its very beginnings, the workers' movement there was very much a male movement. They were skeptical of women entering the labor market, partly because women worked for a much lower wage."
Parliamentary work
In January 1919, Juchacz was elected to the Constituent Assembly of the Weimar Republic. As a member of parliament, she was instrumental in the preparation and implementation of important sociopolitical legislation.
For Juchacz, achieving absolute gender equality was essential. She vehemently opposed the introduction of the qualifier "in principle" into the phrase "men and women have the same civic rights."
That same year she founded the Workers' Welfare Association (AWO) — still active today — with the goal of fundamentally improving public welfare. The organization looked after the elderly and people with disabilities, ran kindergartens, all-day schools and counseling centers for people in need.
In the years that followed Juchacz was extremely busy, writing texts, organizing conferences and founding a welfare school for women and men, where carers were trained to look after the poor. But in 1933, that all came to an end.
Time of crisis
"The women's movement went into a crisis during the Weimar Republic, because they had achieved their goals — at least in principle," said Richter. "That's a typical development for social movements. Membership numbers dropped off, and young women stopped joining."
The women's movement dissolved. Some went into exile, others remained — though they didn't go into the resistance. On the eve of the 1932 election, Juchacz spoke out against the growing National Socialist movement:
"Women […] do not want a civil war, do not want a people's war […]. Women […] see through the hollowness of a politics that is particularly male, dictated only by shortsightedness, vanity and lust for renown. This policy, the National Socialist policy, compels us to oppose with all our strength, out of our love for our people."
But her words went unheeded. In 1933, she fled to Saarbrücken and cared for refugees fleeing Germany. Later in life, Juchacz's close friend, journalist Hans E. Hirschfeld, recalled the time in a letter: "I can still see the rooms in the Bahnhofstrasse in Saarbrücken in which you — the party executive, the Reichstag member, the politician — without saying much, set up a table in the kitchen and provided a home and a haven for the jumbled mass of people, providing them with food and drink and encouragement."
When the German army reoccupied Saarland in 1935, Juchacz fled via France to the United States. She wasn't able to do political work in exile, but she didn't abandon her ideals and goals, organizing talks and charity activities for people who had escaped the Nazi regime and were making a fresh start abroad.
After the war Juchacz returned to Germany and devoted herself once again to the Workers' Welfare Association. When she died in 1956, the organization honored her life's work in their obituary: "Her entire life was in the service of the struggle for a better and more just world."


Clic here to read the story from its source.