Images of Women's Suffrage in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (1907-1971)

Athena Hills

Directed by Dr. Laura McLary

This project seeks to encapsulate the experience of women’s suffrage in the German speaking world. We researched the history of suffrage efforts in these three nations, and collected nine posters and political advertisements which best exemplified the struggles and successes of each movement. In doing so, we discovered a number of ways in which the German movements were similar to their counterparts in the rest of the world, as well as the ways in which they were wholly unique. The images compiled also demonstrate a number of underlying ideas about women’s suffrage and roles in society, from sexuality to motherhood. The issues surrounding these ideas are not only present in these historical pieces, but continue to plague women’s political participation today. In some images we see positive, powerful examples of women in politics, and in others, the effects of continual and oppressive expectations and ideals. We will present these ideas and analysis alongside a printed visual display of our posters, and invite students, staff and others to participate in discussion by having them write on notecards in response to questions about each poster. This will not only be interesting and engaging for all involved, but allow us to see how these images and ideas from a seemingly bygone era have persisted across time and across the globe.