At the start of the 20th century, women in Germany faced crushing oppression. German women were not allowed to partake in an array of things, ostracized repeatedly for their gender. They were entirely restricted from the right to vote, only afforded access to hold property through the use of their husband's name, conceded to appear in university classes but only if the professor gave individual acceptance; and not even granted the opportunity to be the headmaster of most girls' schools. Even though this was a battle that seemed utterly unattainable, there were females who risked everything to make change, no matter the cost. Anita Augsburg was one of the leading women to challenge this struggle.
This revolutionary female always proved herself to be defiant, in both thoughts and actions. Born on September 22, 1857 in Verden An Der Aller, Germany, she was the youngest of five children. Anita was raised with an academic background and was nurtured with love and liberal philosophies. Her father's occupation consisted of being a Landgerichsrat (a senior official in the justice system) and her mother from a wealthy family in lower Saxony that had a pattern for producing doctors. Naturally gifted, she was able to read and write by the age of four. The suffragette had an inclination for the arts. She ended up pursuing this passion in an attempt to be an actress after she finished her education. This endeavor was short-lived, but Anita did become prosperous in many other ways. In 1887, she created a photography studio in Munich with her dear friend, Sophia Goudstikker. These two females were unlike their counterparts. They defied the standards of bourgeois women and showed-off short hair-cuts, wore bloomers, rode bicycles, and even became so bold as to sit astride their horses.
Although, Anita already cultivated success with her photography business, she grew restless. Shortly after witnessing the women's movement in Munich, she undertook a significant obstacle and decided to pursue the study of law in Zurich. In 1897, Anita received a Doctor of Laws Degree. Consecutively, she met her life long partner, Lida Gustava Heymann. The two co-founded the first German branch of the International Abolitionist Federation in Hamburg. This organization battled the restrictions placed on prostitutes’ civil liberties, a very courageous and valiant thing to advocate for in suppressive Germany. In 1902, the duo co-created another movement, Deutscher Verein für Frauenstimmrecht: this was the first women's suffrage operation in Germany. Prior to this, only the Social Democratic Party asked for women's right to vote. Augspurg and Heymann were pioneers who marked the radical blooming of the women's movement. Anita and Lida made several daring statements, especially for the espousal against war.
In 1915, they founded the International Women's Congress for Peace and Freedom. This was condemned and savagely attacked by Germany. Afraid, after the collapse of the first democratic government, the partners were forced to live reclusively in Bavaria. Nazis forced them into exile in Switzerland. With no income to support herself, Anita was entirely dependent on her friends from the international women's movement. The revolutionary rebel died on December 20, 1943, poverty-stricken and suffering, of dementia and old age. Although a tragic death for such an influential and powerful woman, Anita's efforts for women's suffrage made an impact that can never be forgotten.