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Women's Rights

Fanny Lewald

Often compared by critics to George Sand and George Eliot, Fanny Lewald was an enormously productive, successful and respected writer in nineteenth-century Germany. Her early works of the 1840s deal in a committed manner with the political, social and religious questions of the time. Her later popular stories and novels were often first published in serial form in widely-circulated journals. She was also a gifted autobiographical writer. Her Memories of the Year 1848 gives a lively description of that dramatic year in European politics and also of her visit to Paris, where she met Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), a writer whom she greatly admired. Later she became more of a monarchist, convinced that a longer preparation for popular rule was essential; finally, she thought highly of Bismarck because of his “Realpolitik.”

Emma Levine-Talmi

Politician and writer, Emma Levine-Talmi, grew up in a liberal Jewish home in Warsaw before immigrating alone to Palestine in 1924 at the age of nineteen. She was active in Kibbutz life before becoming a member of Knesset for the Mapam party. During her time in the Knesset, she engaged in social issues, including, equal rights for women.

Käthe Leichter

Käthe Leichter was undoubtedly the foremost socialist feminist in “Red Vienna” during the interwar years. A Social Democratic politician, labor organizer and author, with a doctorate in political economy, she directed women’s affairs for the Viennese Chamber of Workers (Arbeiterkammer). In May 1938, before she had a chance to escape from Austria, Käthe Leichter was arrested by the Gestapo for illegal socialist activities; she was never released from imprisonment.

Lazarus, Nahida Ruth

In 1891 Nahida Ruth Lazarus published The Jewish Woman, a product of her fundamental interest in both feminism and Judaism, which aroused enormous interest. It was and remains an important source book for women’s studies, used and cited by countless female and male authors.

Lawyers in Germany and Austria

Even more than medicine and other male-dominated professions, law was a notoriously difficult field for women to break into in Germany and Austria. Since women lawyers were admitted to German bar examinations only in 1922, they had very limited opportunities to establish themselves in legal careers before the Nazi era. Therefore, although a disproportionately high percentage of women law students in Germany and Austria were Jews, very few Jewish women actually practiced law. According to official census data, fifteen Jewish women made up forty percent of the women lawyers in Prussia in 1925 and thirty-two Jewish women comprised thirteen percent of all women lawyers in Germany in 1933.

Law in the United States

The situation of the Jewish community in the United States is shaped fundamentally by the condition of political equality. This legal status is shared with all other citizens and is assumed as an essential baseline. Where there are violations of that status—when an individual otherwise of full legal capacity is treated as a member of a subordinated racial or religious group, and when group membership defines rights and duties—we discuss the problem under the heading “discrimination.”

Law in Israel

The socio-economic status of a profession determines the significance of women’s integration into the profession. The integration of women into professions is not always an indication of socio-economic flourishing. When a profession is undervalued and underpaid, the integration of women may represent exploitation rather than success. In contrast, the legal profession in Israel is sought after and elitist. Women have been prominent partners in the legal profession for some time and their successful integration reflects socio-economic success in a wider frame of social reference.

Linda Lavin

Linda Lavin was born on October 15, 1937, in Portland, Maine, to David J. Lavin, owner of a flourishing furniture business, and Lucille (Potter) Lavin, a singer and local radio show host. The Lavins were active participants in the local Jewish community. In 1959, Lavin received her B.A. in theater arts from the College of William and Mary. After struggling to “make it” in Broadway musicals, she became frustrated with the vapid female roles. She switched to drama and was acclaimed for her work in Little Murders, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Broadway Bound, which won a Tony Award.

Anna Kuliscioff

Russian revolutionary, internationalist, early feminist, doctor and one of the founding generation of Italian socialists, Anna Kuliscioff was born Anja Moiseevna Rozenstein, near Simferopol in the Crimea, between 1854 and 1857.

Matilda Steinam Kubie

Matilda Steinam Kubie directed her energies toward the support and growth of charitable institutions that sought to better the lives of those in the Jewish community. She helped many organizations extend their reach through her leadership and her savvy use of advertising.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women's Rights." (Viewed on September 21, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/womens-rights>.

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