Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Crisis of Marriage? The Debate on Marriage Reform in the Social Democratic Women’s Press, 1919-1933
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Article 119 of the new constitution of the Weimar Republic established marriage as the foundation of family life and placed it under special protection of the constitution. Although women were also guaranteed equal political rights under the new constitution, their civil rights remained regulated by the Civil Code of 1900. Representatives of the women's movement had criticized the Civil Code since its implementation. Following women's experiences of increased independence during the First World War and their changed economic, social, and political circumstances in Weimar Germany, even more women's groups demanded a reform of marriage and family law. This thesis explores the discourses surrounding marriage reform in the Social Democratic women's press of the Weimar Republic. It reveals that they neither agreed on the causes of the perceived crisis of marriage, nor on the necessary measures for a marriage reform. This diversity of thought reflects not only the process of renegotiating gendered marital roles within the quickly changing political, social, economic and cultural circumstances of the Weimar Republic, but it also illuminates Social Democratic women's political activism. Taken together, these discourses shed light on the complicated process of redesigning marriage in shifting social circumstances.