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Some women who worked for women's rights were in fact opposed to extending the vote to women, a stance that became more widespread at the turn of the 20th century, when many Germans were concerned that granting women the vote would result in more votes for socialists.
Nevertheless, women became much better organized themselves.
Feminism in Germany as a modern movement began during the Wilhelmine period (1888–1918) with individual women and women's rights groups pressuring a range of traditional institutions, from universities to government, to open their doors to women.
This movement culminated in women's suffrage in 1919.
Middle class women enrolled in the Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine, the Union of German Feminist Organizations (BDF).
Founded in 1894, it grew to include 137 separate women's rights groups from 1907 until 1933, when the Nazi regime disbanded the organization.
Feminism in Germany has its earliest roots in the lives of women who challenged conventional gender roles as early as the Medieval period.
From the early Medieval period and continuing through to the 18th century, Germanic law assigned women to a subordinate and dependent position relative to men.
Salic (Frankish) law, from which the laws of the German lands would be based, placed women at a disadvantage with regard to property and inheritance rights.
Any woman who had inherited an artisan business had some freedom in practice to run the business, but she was not permitted to attend guild meetings, and had to send a male to represent her interests.
Tradition dictated that "the state recognizes a burgher but not a burgess".