Essay on the Role Women played in Nazi Society
(i) Women in Nazi society had the role of maintaining purity of race, look after the home and teaches children Nazi values.
(ii) They were to be bearers of the Aryan culture and race.
(iii) All women were not treated equally. Those who deviated were publicly condemned and punished.
(iv) Those that bore racially ‘desirable’ children were favoured in hospitals and were also entitled to concessions in shops and on theatre tickets and railway fares.
(v) To encourage women to produce more children as incentive Honour Crosses were awarded. A bronze cross was given for four children, silver for six and gold for eight or more.
(vi) Those who maintained contacts with Jews, Poles and Russians were paraded through town with shaved heads and blackened faces. Many received jail sentences and lost civic honour as well as their husbands and families.
Women formed the deprived and unprivileged section of society both during the French Revolution of 18th century and also during 20th century Nazi society of Germany. They had no political rights. Women of lower classes were employed in small jobs; their wages were lower than those of men.
They had no access to education and freedom to choose their partners. Their role was limited to house, family and bearing children. There was no equality of gender. ,
Unlike in Germany, French women played a very proactive role in the French Revolution which brought about many changes in French society. To voice their interests women had their own political clubs and newspapers. Main demands of French women were the right to vote, political representation and equality of gender.
Unlike France, Nazi women had no freedom of speech, expression and association. Equal rights for men and women were regarded detrimental for society. Woman’s role was limited to reproductive role and the home. They were bearers of Aryan culture and race.
Thus while women’s role in France was progressive and proactive, women’s role in Nazi Germany was retrogressive and that of passive onlookers.