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Gender between the Wars


  • What are the links between motherhood and the state in the interwar period?
  • How 'liberated' were women after WWI?
  • How did constructions of masculinity and femininity change after WWI?
  • Do you characterise the period 1760-1939 as transformative when thinking about gender?



Dale and Foster, Feminists and State Welfare, Chapter One: The Formative Years

Sue Innes, 'Constructing women's citizenship in the interwar period', Women's HIstory Review, 13:4 (2004)

Further Reading

J. Alberti, Beyond Suffrage: Feminists in War and Peace, 1914-1928 

C. Beaumont, ‘Citizens not Feminists: the Boundary Negotiated Between Citizenship and Feminism by Mainstream Women's Organisations in England, 1928-39’, Women’s History Review, 9:2 (2000), 411-429

C. Beaumont, ‘Moral Dilemmas and Women's Rights : the attitude of the Mothers' Union and Catholic Women's League to divorce, birth control and abortion in England, 1928-1939’, Women’s History Review 16:4 (2007) 463-85

B. Caine, English Feminism 1780-1980 [chapter on the inter-war citizen]

D. Cohen, ‘Private lives in public spaces: Marie Stopes, the mothers clinics and the practice of contraception’ History Workshop Journal. 35 (1993), 95-116

A. Davin, ‘Imperialism and Motherhood’, History Workshop Journal 5 (1978)

L. Hall, Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain Since 1880

J. Lewis, ‘Gender, the Family and Women's Agency in the Building of "Welfare States": the British Case’, Social History, 19 (1994), 37-55

J. Lewis, The Politics of Motherhood: Child and Maternal Welfare in England, 1900-1939

J. A. Mangan, 'Manufactured' masculinity : making imperial manliness, morality and militarism

J. Martin, ‘Beyond Suffrage: Feminism, Education and the Politics of Class in the Inter-War Years’, British Journal of Sociology of Education 29:4 (2008), 411-23

S. Pedersen, Family, Dependence and the Origins of the Welfare State in Britain and France 

Michael Roper and John Tosh, Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain since 1800

Harold Smith, British Feminism in the Twentieth Century

Selina Todd, Young Women, Work and Family in England, 1918-1950

Selina Todd, 'Breadwinners and dependants: young working-class people in England, 1918-1955', International Review of Social History; 52 (2007)

Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Women in Twentieth-Century Britain