Iris Wohnsiedler wins Economic History Society New Researcher Prize
Test for Iris Article

CEPH Research Student Iris Wohnsiedler has been awarded the Economic History Society (EHS) New Researcher Prize for her paper and presentation titled ‘Breaking Boundaries: Women, Labour Unions and Political Activism in Early 20th Century Germany’

The prize was awarded at the EHS annual conference which was held in Northumbria University from the 5-7th April.

When asked about the importance of this work, Iris said:

In historical and economic research on the labour movement in Germany, women have largely been invisible. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, women faced double repression by the state: as socialists and as women. This repression was due to their severely limited participation in the public sphere, not only because of their inability to vote but also due to legal restrictions on discussing politics or attending meetings deemed political. My research introduces a new perspective by quantifying the campaigning activities of women activists during periods of repression and beyond.

This research has important historical implications, shedding a light on a part of labour history which until now has been obscured. Women’s participation in labour movements was commonplace, but often left unnoticed. As Iris explains:

They (women) established their own informal structures and organised female-specific events, relying on personal networks to circumvent the restrictions imposed on them. However, the covert nature of these activities has made them difficult to document and study. My work represents an initial effort to illuminate women’s political activities during times of repression, unveiling a previously overlooked aspect of their contribution to the labour movement.

Iris received the award alongside Louise Cormack (Lund) and Héctor Paredes (Paris School of Economics), all of whom are pictured above.

If you would like to read more of Iris’ work, click here.