Finding A Space In Schools: Female Doctors and the Reform of Girls’ Physical Education in Weimar Germany
Abstract

Abstract:

Focusing primarily on the discourse of those women doctors who were members of the League of German Female Physicians, this article demonstrates that women became involved in the reform of girls’ physical education programs in the Weimar Republic’s vocational schools by offering a unique expertise to aid young girls in matters of health. Female physicians claimed to be more disposed to answer questions about what types of exercise fit adolescent girls’ bodies and best prepared girls for their future roles as mothers. Through their reform efforts, women physicians also revealed their own class biases in school healthcare, which often aimed at aiding working-class students and guiding working-class mothers in matters of health. By fashioning themselves as indispensable to the new subject of girls’ physical education, and rationalizing their work through biopolitics, women doctors carved out a niche for themselves in a hostile, male-dominated work environment through their professional writing.