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Clements, Samantha Ruth (2008)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
This local study of single-sex organisations in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire is an attempt to redress some of the imbalanced coverage given to this area of history thus far. A chronological study, it examines the role, importance and, to some extent, impact of a wide range of women's organisations in the local context. Some were local branches of national organisations, others were specifically concerned with local issues. The local focus allows a challenge to be made to much current thought as to the strength of a "women's movement" in the years between the suffrage movement and the emergence of a more radical form of feminism in the 1970s. The strength of feminist issues and campaigning is studied in three periods -- the inter-war period, the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, and the 1950s and 1960s. The first two periods have previously been studied on a national level but, until recently, the post-Second World war era has been written off as overwhelmingly domestic and therefore unconstructive to the achievement of any feminist aims. This study suggests that, at a local level, this is not the case and that other conclusions reached about twentieth century feminism at a national level are not always applicable to the local context. The study also goes further than attempting to track interest in equality feminism in the mid years of the century by discussing the importance of citizenship campaigns and the social dimension of membership of women's organisations. The former has been introduced into the academic arena by Caitriona Beaumont and her ideas are assessed and expanded upon. As a result the thesis makes strong claims that citizenship activity was of vital importance to the empowerment of British women in the twentieth century. The importance of a single-sex social sphere in allowing women to develop as individuals, is also recognised in each of the three periods.
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