This paper identifies private behaviors that women used to “perform citizenship.” It explores the nature of citizenship rights in the late colonial context and argues that while women fought for suffrage, they nevertheless utilized private actions to display national citizenship. These economic, social, and cultural behaviors complemented their struggle to win the vote. By challenging the public/private dichotomy, this paper analyzes tools of political participation commonly used by women and highlights the intersections between gender, ethnicity, social class, and citizenship status in the colonial context.
By analyzing women’s periodicals from the Dutch East Indies, I explore arguments surrounding the fight for voting rights in the 1930s. In particular, I look at magazines targeting Dutch housewives as well as monthly newsletters from The Association for the Vote of Women in the Dutch Indies. These periodicals compare and contrast women’s political pursuits with private behaviors in helping scholars better understand the many methods of performing citizenship.
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