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German American Women's Clubs—Constructing Women's Roles and Ethnic Identity

Anke Ortlepp
Amerikastudien / American Studies
Vol. 48, No. 3, Constructing Identities – Culture, Politics, Economics (2003), pp. 425-442
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41157874
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
German American Women's Clubs—Constructing Women's Roles and Ethnic Identity
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Abstract

Like their male relatives German-American women in Milwaukee were fond of organizing. At a time when the city's German community reached its greatest extension and complexity these women were involved in a wide variety of activities, appropriating for themselves all types of organizational forms. By building their own organizations, German-American women proved their ability to create their own spaces in which they could come together outside the home and invest their energies in projects beyond the immediate concern of the family. While some areas of activity, like the different reform movements, were almost completely ignored, it can safely be argued that by organizing and becoming involved German-American women were able to realize their potential as social agents and to make crucial contributions to community-building processes. At the same time they were able to move beyond the gender role of wife and mother, which had restricted them for so long.

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