"Geneva—The Key to Equality": Inter-War Feminists and the League of Nations

Title"Geneva—The Key to Equality": Inter-War Feminists and the League of Nations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsMiller, Carol
JournalWomen's History Review
Date Published06/1994

Interwar feminists converged on Geneva seeking international action to raise the status of women. They believed that support from the League of Nations would strengthen national efforts to combat the anti-feminist reaction caused by the Great Depression and the rise of conservative ideologies. During the 1930s, demands for an equal rights treaty exposed tactical and ideological tensions among women's groups. While all women's groups active in Geneva sought the extension of women's rights, some questioned the effectiveness of blanket legislation, such as an equal rights treaty, and its implications for protective legislation. Although these tensions remained unresolved, the international campaign by feminists led ultimately to a league-sponsored inquiry into the legal status of women. With this victory, interwar feminists irrevocably challenged the idea that the status of women was a subject for consideration by national governments only. The league inquiry laid the foundations for the creation of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1946. [Publisher]

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