Italian fascism and the political mobilisation of working-class women 1937-43
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The Sezione Operaie e Lavoranti a Domicilio dei Fasci Femminili (Section of the Fascist Women's Groups for Female Workers and Outworkers) is the only one of the three Italian Fascist Party organisations for adult women that has never been studied. Founded in 1937 and recruiting factory workers, outworkers and domestic servants, it achieved a membership of almost a million by the fall of the regime in 1943. A top-down organisation, run by the largely middle-class Fasci Femminili, it offered its membership a mix of social, educational and professional opportunities. This article explores its activities, its organisational structure, the messages it attempted to convey to its membership and the reasons why such large numbers of women joined. © 2012 Cambridge University Press.