British Free Trade and the International Feminist Vision for Peace, c.1846–1946
This chapter explores the free-trade vision of international feminist peace activists from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Economic globalisation in the post-1945 era is commonly associated with free trade, marked by the growth in international trade liberalisation as facilitated by supranational organisations such as the World Trade Organization. Nowadays, feminist peace activists across the globe oppose these institutions and their free-trade initiatives because they view such policies as conspiratorial attempts by multinational corporations to erode national sovereignty, exacerbate social inequality and exploit workers. This chapter demonstrates how this anti-free-trade position is striking, at least on the surface, when compared with the feminist peace activism of a century ago. In doing so, it challenges common preconceptions that surround the economic ideas and political activism that lay behind both pre- and post-1945 economic globalisation.