At a time when women were banned from universities, Henriette Benas Goldschmidt championed women’s education as a crucial building block of a healthy society. Goldschmidt attended a local high school for girls, but also studied independently before marrying her cousin, Rabbi Abraham Meir Goldschmidt, in 1853. In 1858 the couple moved to the university town of Leipzig, where she co-founded the General Association of German Women in 1865. She served on the association’s board until 1906, advocating women’s education for the betterment of society. Ideally, in her view, women would be mothers; failing that, they might work as teachers, but either way, if they were to guide young children, they needed education themselves. In 1868 she also proposed women spend a year doing community service, the way men might serve in the army. In 1871 she became the founding president of the Association for Family and Popular Education, and over the next fifty years she created rigorous guidelines for educating women from kindergarten through high school and established several public girls’ schools, which included guest lectures for high school students by university professors. In 1911 she created her crowning achievement, the Leipzig College for Women, Germany’s first women’s college.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Henriette Goldschmidt." (Viewed on December 10, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/goldschmidt-henriette>.