During the 1920s there had been significant progress for women in Weimar Germany - equal voting rights, an increase in women taking professional roles and independent leisure activities.
However, the Nazis had clear ideas of what they wanted from women. They were expected to stay at home, look after the family and produce children in order to secure the future of the Aryan race.
Hitler believed women’s lives should revolve round the three Ks.
Hitler wanted a high birth rate so that the Aryan population would grow. He tried to achieve this by:
Measures were introduced which strongly discouraged women from working, including:
However, female labour was cheap and between 1933 and 1939 the number of women in employment actually rose by 2.4 million. As the German economy grew, women were needed in the workplace.
Women were expected to emulate traditional German peasant fashions - plain peasant costumes, hair in plaits or buns and flat shoes. They were not expected to wear make-up or trousers, dye their hair or smoke in public. They were discouraged from staying slim, because it was thought that thin women had trouble giving birth.