Clara Zetkin was a female politician active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
She believed in Marxism and was an advocate for women’s rights as well as being a peace activist.
In 1910, an International Women’s Conference was organised in Copenhagen. Alongside, Luise Zietz, a prominent of female politician, Zetkin called for the creation of an annual International Women’s Day. Conference delegates agreed with the idea to promote equal rights including suffrage for women.
In 1919, Zetkin joined the newly founded KPD (Communist Party) and represented the party from 1920 to 1933 in the Reichstag.
During the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis Party, Zetkin went into exile in the Soviet Union. She died here in 1933 at the age of 75.
After her death, Zetkin became a much-celebrated heroine in the former East Germany. Every major city had a street named after her, and her picture appeared on bank notes and stamps.
Below, we look at some of Zetkin’s most inspirational quotes:
“Women’s propaganda must touch upon all those questions which are of great importance to the general proletarian movement. The main task is, indeed, to awaken the women’s class consciousness and to incorporate them into the class struggle.”
“The proletarian woman fights hand in hand with the man of her class against capitalist society.”
“When the men are silent, it is our duty to raise our voices in behalf of our ideals.”
“When the men kill, it is up to us women to fight for the preservation of life.”
“The workers have nothing to gain from this war, but they stand to lose everything that is dear to them.”
“All the many brands of suppression – racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, classism – are historical; they have not been always with us. It was not ever thus. And it’s not going to be this way, come the revolution.”
“We would, however, perform an injustice to the bourgeois women’s rights movement if we would regard it as solely motivated by economics. No, this movement also contains a more profound spiritual and moral aspect.”
“In individual industries where female labour pays an important role, any movement advocating better wages, shorter working hours, etc, would not be doomed from the start because of the attitude of those women workers who are not organised.”
“When a battle for suffrage is conducted, it should only be conducted according to socialist principles, and therefore with the demand of universal suffrage for women and men.”
“Given the fact that many thousands of female workers are active in history, it is vital for the trade unions to incorporate them into their movement.”