Women in the Bavarian Ministerial Administration, 1945-1975: From Higher Civil Servants to “Cleaning Women”

Employees (IfZ):   Elisabeth Perzl

Women are rarely taken into account in studies of West German authorities after 1945. An entirely different picture emerges, however, when the perspective is broadened to include female staff members and employees across all occupational groups. This dissertation project investigates how the change in the political system affected these women and how they contributed to the new democratic beginnings in the Bavarian administration. To this end, the project pursues perspectives from the history of gender, democracy, and administration for the period between 1945 and the late 1970s.

The study begins with a look into the career paths and biographies, individual influences, and possible connections with broader networks on the part of female civil servants at all levels of administration as well as other female employees all throughout the Bavarian ministries. The project, secondly, investigates the conditions and limitations of the male administration as an experiential space that enables gender-specific administrative action. The Bavarian ministerial bureaucracy thus comes into focus here as a gendered, hierarchical sphere of action with everyday practices of gender delimitation and attribution. Of particular interest here is whether and how this changed in the context of external influences, new demands on the administration, and tendencies towards liberalization throughout society as a whole.

This study is a part of the IfZ project “Democratic Culture and Nazi Past: Politics, Personnel, Issues in Bavaria, 1945-1975.

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