The Cultural, Political and Ideological Context of Femminismo Cristiano

Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


In the early 1900s the nascent Catholic women’s movement in Italy comprised activists whose initial brief was to re-Christianize society and ameliorate the condition of working-class women, but who then extended their social apostolate to women’s civil and political rights. These activists and their like-minded supporters, both male and female, advocated women’s issues in journal articles and other publications, and engaged in various initiatives, such as union organization, conferences and educational programmes. Discussion here will focus on the origin, doctrinal setting and contemporary environment of this early Catholic women’s movement, known as femminismo cristiano, to highlight its uniqueness. With its parent organization, the Opera dei congressi e dei comitati cattolici in Italia, it shared, above all, a missionary zeal, intransigence towards the Liberal State and an aversion to socialism. In contrast to contemporary secular feminists, whom they rivalled and emulated, Catholic feminists were constrained in their activities by doctrine and ecclesiastical supervision.


Italian Woman Contemporary Context Christian Democrat Parish Committee Rural Bank 
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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© Helena Dawes 2014

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