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Women's Activism in the Revolution of 1848/49: Statutes of the Viennese Democratic Women's Association (1848); Report on their Activities (1850); Petition to the Austrian Constituent Assembly (October 16, 1848)

The statutes of the Viennese Democratic Women's Association, founded during the Revolution of 1848/49, define the group's various political, social, and humanitarian objectives: education aimed at democracy and women's equality, and assistance for the victims of revolutionary fighting. While men were allowed to attend group meetings on special occasions, only women were permitted as active, voting members. The following excerpts also include the association's 1848 petition to the Austrian Constituent Assembly. The petition was an unsuccessful, last-ditch attempt to mobilize the militia against approaching counter-revolutionary forces.

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I. Statutes of the first Viennese Democratic Women's Association (1848)

Price: 2 kr. C.M.

§ 1
The name of the association is: Viennese Democratic Women’s Association

§ 2
The task of the association is threefold: political, social, and charitable:

a) political, to inform oneself through reading and instructive lectures about the welfare of the Fatherland, to disseminate the democratic principle in all women's circles, to inspire the love of freedom in a child's heart from the very beginning of a child’s upbringing, and at the same time to strengthen the German element;
b) social, to strive for the equality of women by establishing public primary schools [Volksschulen] and higher educational institutions, to reform the curriculum for women, and to improve the state of the poorer girls through loving advancement;
c) charitable, to express the deeply-felt gratitude of the women of Vienna for the blessings of liberty by providing conscientious care for all victims of the Revolution.

§ 3
The association shall consist of active (female) and supporting male and female members.

§ 4
Active members are obliged to exert themselves on behalf of the association as best they can and in every way. Consideration is given to each member’s self-chosen primary occupation.

§ 5
Active members pay 30 kr. the first month and 20 kr. C. M. a month thereafter, supporting members pay 20 kr. C. M. monthly. The former contributions flow into the association’s treasury, the latter into the support fund.

§ 6
Each member shall receive a card with the association’s seal, which is shown at the meetings.

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