Google Doodle celebrates German author Hedwig Dohm on her birthday

Google Doodle celebrates German author Hedwig Dohm on her birthday

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  • September 20, 2023
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Today’s Google Doodle honours German author Hedwig Dohm on her 192nd birthday. She was a pioneering feminist and a strong advocate for gender equality.

Early life

Hedwig Dohm was born in Berlin, Germany in 1831 on September 20 into a large family of eighteen siblings. From a young age, she had a passion for reading and thoroughly enjoyed her time in school. Her formal education was cut short by her parents when she was just fifteen as she was required to assist with household chores. However, her determination to continue learning led her to convince her parents to allow her to attend Lehrerinnenseminar, a women’s teachers’ college.

Dohm married the editor-in-chief of the satirical weekly newspaper, Kladderadatsch in 1853. Her husband was highly supportive of her literary ambitions, and they engaged in lengthy discussions on politics and art. Over the years, she gave birth to five children, four of whom were daughters. During these early years of motherhood, she dedicated herself to educating her children, striving to provide opportunities she had been denied. Her home also became a popular gathering place for Berlin’s artists and intellectuals.

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Dohm decided to pursue a career as a writer in the early 1870s when her children reached adulthood. Her first work, “Was die Pastoren von den Frauen denken” (What the Clergy Thinks About Women), was a response to conservative writings that argued against higher education for women. 

She gained fame for her essays, including “Die Antifeministen” (The Antifeminists), which dissected those opposing women’s rights. During this period, Dohm was one of the few German feminists advocating for women’s right to vote. She further continued to write books like “Sibilla Dalmar,” “Schicksale einer Seele,” and “Christa Rolan,” often telling stories of contemporary women struggling against patriarchal societies.

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Feminist activist

She founded the Deutsche Frauenverein Reform in 1888 and played a significant role in drafting its initial chapters. This program advocated for women to have access to all university subjects. Dohm’s work is celebrated for its clever social commentary. This Google Doodle of Hedwig Dohm spans the region of Germany. 

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Updated: 20 Sep 2023, 07:02 AM IST

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