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British Women and the Three Encounters: International, European, and Fascist

  • Julie V. Gottlieb

Abstract

Women’s political status and the political relationships between the sexes were transformed between the two world wars. Not only did women become British citizens with the vote if they were over 30 in 1918 and on equal terms with men in 1928, but the politically motivated among them seized every opportunity for women to exercise influence in international affairs and through international bodies. Much hope was invested in women to heal a world profoundly wounded by a war of annihilation, to reform the culture of international relations, to democratize diplomacy, to educate the next generation to abhor war, and to remake the world in their own feminine image and as an alternative to male aggression. The tone was set during the war. In April 1915 radical women from 12 countries, belligerent and neutral, met at The Hague for a congress that is widely regarded as the inauguration of feminist pacifist internationalism. Its British Committee held its first congress in London that October at which it ratified its manifesto. The document articulated the maternalist anti-militarist principles that were to underpin women’s aspirations in international politics post-war: “Since women are in a special sense the custodians of life, we are determined that we will no longer consent to political social conditions involving the reckless destruction of life either in peace or in war.”

Keywords

Foreign Policy Foreign Affair British Woman Relief Work Liberal Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Julie V. Gottlieb 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie V. Gottlieb
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK

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