Marianne Weber (1870-1954) was a German sociologist and women’s rights activist.
She has published numerous books throughout her life, dealing with the role of
women in a patriarchal society, and the relation between genders.
She became interested in the women’s
movement during her studies in Freiburg, and co-founded a society for circulating
feminist thought in Heidelberg in 1896. She served as the chairwoman of the
League of German Women’s Associations. Her publications include Occupation
and Marriage, Wife and Mother in the Development of Law, and Women, Men
and Human Nature.
Albers (b. 1965) is a German professor and computer
scientist. She is known for her research in the design and analysis of algorithms.
She studied at several universities in
Germany and the United States, and has been a chair for efficient algorithms at
the Technical University of Munich since 2013. She has received the prestigious
Otto Hahn Medal and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for her work.
Marie Stritt (1855-1928) was a prominent feminist
and suffragist in Germany. She helped improve women’s rights in terms of
politics, society and reproductive health.
She worked with groups
such as the Women’s Legal Aid Society and the International Woman Suffrage
Alliance, of which she was a leader. She was also a founder and chair of the International
Alliance of Women, who still works today to promote women’s rights around the
Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) was a prolific German pianist
and composer. Even though she composed almost 500 musical pieces throughout her
life, many of them were originally published under the name of her brother
She showed great musical talent from a young age;
her teacher praised her piano skills as by saying that “she plays like a man”. Even
while recognizing her talent, her father stated that, while music would become
Felix’s profession, it would always be just a pastime for her. Therefore, her
brother published several of her works under his own name in order for them to
be released to the world.
Helene Stöcker (1869-1943) was an early feminist
activist in her native Germany. She was also involved in pacifist and anti-war
She was one of the first German women to receive a doctorate. In 1909 she
founded the League for the Protection of Mothers, and later became an activist
for sexual freedom, legalisation of abortion and equality of illegitimate children.
Her organisation sponsored sexual health clinics where young women could obtain
contraception and advice.
(1885-1952) was a German psychoanalyst, seen as the founder of feminist
psychology. Many of her theories challenged traditional Freudian views, such as
the differences between men and women, which she saw as results of society rather
She attended several universities and obtained a medical degree in 1913.
She was a founding member of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute in 1920, and
helped develop its training programme. A low-cost treatment centre bearing her
name opened in New York City in 1955.
Ruth Pfau (1929-2017) was a
German nun and physician. She dedicated her life and career to fighting leprosy
She studied Medicine at the University of Mainz and later joined a Catholic
order. She travelled to Pakistan and spent most of her life there, helping
people affected by leprosy all across the country. Due to her efforts, Pakistan
became one of the first countries in Asia to keep the disease under control –
dropping from almost 20,000 thousand cases to just over 500 in 2016.
Ahnert-Rohlfs (1912-1954) was a German astronomer who made significant contributions to
the study of variable stars.
She studied at the University of Gottingen,
and later became an assistant astronomer at the Sonneberg Observatory. She received
a doctorate in astrophysics in 1951.
Auguste Schmidt (1833-1902) was an important women’s rights activist from Germany. She worked as a teacher and fought for female education in her country.
She co-founded the General Union of German Women in 1866, with the aim of providing better access to education and better professions. She became the first president of the League of German Women’s Associations in 1894, a union of 34 women’s groups around the country (growing to 65 the following year).