Barbara Spadaro

Intrepid housewives. Gender, imperialism and totalitarianism in women's colonial training under Fascism (1937-1943)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Italian Fascism - Italian Colonialism - Gender and Imperialism

In training colonial women, Fascism mixed gender politics with nation and empire building. As in the case of other European empires, the need to send women to the colonies was seen as an opportunity to stress their traditional roles and the importance of motherhood. Inspired by the German "Farmersfrau", the regime established colonial courses where women learnt home economics, and how to minimize consumption and preserve racial integrity. The article analyses the courses demonstrating that the regime used the colonial training in order to define once and for all the female fascist model and to strengthen the women consensus to the empire. The article also shows that Fascism at the same time limited the women's initiative in the colonies prohibiting their "civilizing missions". Women's work in Africa was supposed to enhance racial segregation and demographic colonialism, similarly to home, where autarkic measures were implemented, leading up to war propaganda and World War II.

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