How Mussolini Ruled Italian Women (CXX)

TitleHow Mussolini Ruled Italian Women (CXX)
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsDe Grazia, Victoria, and Françoise Thébaud
EditorDuby, Georges, and Michelle Perrot
Book TitleA History of Women. Toward a Cultural Identity in the Twentieth Century
Number of Volumes5
PublisherHarvard University Press

In How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922-1945, Victoria de Grazia examines the role of women in Benito Mussolini’s Italy arguing that the lives of Italian women were inextricably tied to the policies of Mussolini’s dictatorship. Through the use of regime propaganda, speeches, and contemporary studies, women found themselves caught between the Italian state’s want for both traditional gender roles, as advocated by the Catholic Church, and the modernization of women. Although traditional concepts of womanhood were forced upon women, Italian policy was ripe with contradictions.  Ultimately the policies of fascist Italy pulled women in opposite directions. The state wanted women to revert to their traditional roles in the home, but at the same time fostered the modernization of women. Review by Robert Thompson

The essay is included in the 5th volume series, History of Women in the West. "Volume 5 surveys Western women’s history through the 1980s. The work examines the social factors of the 20th century in the context of traditional women’s issues. The consequences of Freud and Marx; two world wars; nationalism and fascism; reproductive legislation; the bioethical rights of family members; and the feminist movement have created a century of drastic and not always beneficial change.”—Library Journal










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