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Wilhelmina Drucker’s feminism was radical in its pertinently egalitarian outlook. She not only advocated equal suffrage for men and women, but rather equal rights in every conceivable social domain: the labour market, education, sexuality, marriage, housekeeping, legislation, and all else. In doing so, she didn’t limit herself to legislation alone, but took on every social convention that sanctioned or codified gender inequality. Unmistakably inspired by the renowned nineteenth-century Dutch freethinker, writer and social critic Multatuli (nom de plume of Eduard Douwes Dekker), she further chose to speak freely about women’s sexual behaviour and desires as being equally real as men’s. These libertarian beliefs, added to the import of Drucker’s radical approach to feminism within the Protestant culture that defined the Netherlands at the time.

To Drucker, economic autonomy for women was paramount, regardless of their marital status or motherhood. Many contemporaries would dismiss as ‘man-hate’ or ‘ultra-feminism’ what was in fact her pertinent battle against gender inequality in every field. As her campaign would necessarily entail an attack on the privileges of men – both individuals and men in general – in what she would openly coin the ‘sex struggle’, analogous to socialist ‘class struggle’, her reputation as ‘man-hater’ became firmly established.

Additional Info

  • Published: 17 June 2016
Modified: 29 June 2016
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