Transnational Collaborations for Women's Rights and Social Justice

Prof. Dr. Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson



A transnational history of the women's rights movement in the 19th and 20. century. In the sense of a histoire croisée, the flow of ideas and the role of specific political and social developments as well as concrete examples of cooperation between women's rights activists across the borders of different European countries and the Atlantic will be examined. Contrary to the widespread assumption that such a system was only introduced in the late 19th century, it was not possible to establish a system of this kind. Although the history of the International Council of Women began in the 18th century - shortly before the founding of the International Council of Women in 1888 - a closer examination of the sources reveals that its origins can be traced back to the end of the 18th century.


Special attention will be paid to France, Great Britain, Germany and the USA, but also North, South and Eastern European countries as well as Australia and New Zealand will be included in the study. Cooperation with relevant colleagues in Europe and the USA has been established and will be further intensified.


In the initial phase of the project, an international conference was held at the DHI Washington, focusing on transnational cooperation between European and North American women for women's rights and social justice in the 19th century. This conference resulted in an anthology published in autumn 2017 by Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson and Anja Schüler entitled Forging Bonds Across Borders: Transatlantic Collaborations for Women's Rights and Social Justice in the long 19th Century.


In a second phase, the project focuses on the transnational movement for the promotion and protection of the health of women and girls since the late 19th century. The history of FGM in the 20th century (from the beginnings of the British and American Birth Control Movement to the multinational coalition against FGM)