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The BDF gave national direction to the proliferating women's organizations that had sprung up since the 1860s.
From the beginning the BDF was a bourgeois organization, its members working toward equality with men in such areas as education, financial opportunities, and political life.
Legal recognition of women's rights in Germany came more slowly than in some other countries, such as England, France, the United States, or Canada.
The equal rights of parents under German law did not arrive until the German Federal Republic in the 20th century; the German Civil Code introduced in 1900 had left the law unaltered in the matter, basing it precisely on the General state laws for the Prussian states of 1794. During the late 19th century, married women still had no property rights, requiring a male guardian to administer property on their behalf (exceptions were made for cases involving imprisoned or absent husbands).
Stritt's goals included suffrage for women, access to higher education, an end to state-regulated prostitution, free access to contraception and abortion, and reforms to divorce laws.
Stritt was active as a member and leader in many German feminist organizations during the late 19th century and early 20th century, including: The FGWA had been moderate in its positions until 1902, then launched a campaign to reform the civil code, but the campaign failed to bring about any changes.
Feminism as a movement began to gain ground toward the end of the 19th century, although it did not yet include a strong push to extend suffrage to German women.Middle class women enrolled in the Bund Deutscher Frauenvereine, the Union of German Feminist Organizations (BDF).Founded in 1894, it grew to include 137 separate women's rights groups from 1907 until 1933, when the Nazi regime disbanded the organization.German feminists began to network with feminists from other countries, and participated in the growth of international organizations; Marie Stritt was active as a feminist leader not only in Germany but with the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA).Stritt met the radical feminists Anita Augspurg (Germany's first woman university graduate) and Minna Cauer, and became a supporter of the Women's Legal Aid Society.