Only Subordination to Offer? Women and Conservative Politics in Europe

Friday, January 6, 2012: 9:30 AM
Chicago Ballroom F (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Kirsten Heinsohn, Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden
Looking at the history of European Societies in the 20th century from a female perspective, right-wing nationalistic politics for women had much more to provide than only restriction to the home and the children. Rather, conservative and right-wing parties offered a distinct mode of female participation in politics and society that was perfectly in line with the bourgeois gender-order and allowed for a very successful mobilization of women for nationalistic intentions. Women, who were engaged in such movements or parties, tried to establish a female path to politics. In Germany, for example, the female members of conservative parties argued that women had to fulfill specific tasks in the constitution of the “Volksgemeinschaft”, the ‘people’s community’. Before 1932 this message was one of the catchphrases that helped to mobilize women for conservative and right-wings politics.

The purpose of my contribution is twofold: to describe and explain this specific conservative female path into politics, based on material from German history and supplemented with information from European Countries, such as Britain, Italy, Spain and the Scandinavian states.  Furthermore, by comparing the history of right-wing mobilization of  women across Europe, I investigate whether success in doing so was based on specific national factors or not.

Previous Presentation | Next Presentation >>