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As a result, only 20 of the strong British delegation were issued with passports and even they found it impossible to cross the North Sea due to military operations. The three British women who reached The Hague had either travelled some weeks earlier or went by a different route. Taking a stand against the war was, furthermore, a difficult experience emotionally for many of the delegates.

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They found themselves in conflict with suffragist comrades who chose a different course, seeing the war as an opportunity to prove themselves loyal citizens and hence convince their respective governments to grant women the vote. After four days of discussions and debates, the Congress agreed a set of 20 resolutions encompassing practical proposals for immediate negotiations to end the war, as well as fundamental principles for a permanent peace.

A just world free of conflict, they argued, was impossible to achieve unless women were allowed to take their place alongside men as equal citizens. Enfranchisement, they claimed, would make peace more likely because of the role that women played as mothers in creating the life which war extinguished. Despite the efforts of Addams and others to win support for their proposals after the Congress had closed, both women and their concerns were marginal to the negotiations in Paris in , led by the victorious powers.

Women in the 19th Century: Crash Course US History #16

Not one woman was appointed as a formal representative of her nation at the Peace Conference and while a small contingent of feminists travelled to Paris to lobby the official delegates, their demands fell on deaf ears. The history of seemingly lost causes can tell us a great deal about how power works and, in this case, why women remained peripheral to international politics and diplomacy for so much of the 20th century.

See the Woman and Socialism by August Bebel. By the late nineteenth century, a number of women were working in the professions and playing an active role in social life. This was especially true in the colonies, where the gender imbalance in the population gave women greater opportunity to challenge and undermine traditional patriarchal structures.

The Revolution gave women the vote in Russia, but it was not until that women got the vote in Switzerland. The Russian Revolution prefigured demands of the Third Wave inasmuch as the Revolution focused on measures which would relieve the burden of domsestic drudgery on women and granted women equality in the workplace and in education. Leaders like Alexandre Kollontai promoted extremely radical visions of the place of women in socialism.

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Pacifism and Feminism in the Great War | History Today

However, women were the first to feel the sting of the bureaucratic reaction after the revolution and early gains for women were reversed. While formal equality in the workplace remained, the family law and practice left women carrying the burden of domestic slavery. Gender reform relied on and reinscribed the racialized imperial notions of American superiority and Japanese inferiority on the one hand, and on the other recruited Japanese middle-class women as a tool of class containment, that is, as conservative, anticommunist allies in the midst of increasingly volatile labor mobilization.

Yet, gender, race, and class dynamics did not always so neatly line up. Gender reform also caused instability and incoherence in the occupation, as Japanese middle- and working-class women forged a cross-class alliance in critiquing the "undemocratic" treatment of Japanese women in the occupiers' approach to venereal disease control and reasserted their racial, sexual, and national respectability. A feminist analysis informed by McClintock's and Kondo's insights thus sheds light on the ubiquitous nature of hegemony, but equally or more problematically, allows us to recognize hegemony's inability to hold itself together, or its constant "leakage," in U.


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The centrality of women and gender in the politics of empire has been emphasized by feminist colonial and postcolonial scholars in recent years. Gendered and racialized acculturation projects were further informed by class dynamics, as they often focused on schooling indigenous elite women. American women, including feminists, actively participated in these gendered and racialized dynamics of empire building. Nevertheless, they often uncritically accepted and disseminated the notions of racially inferior, uncivilized, and oppressed non-Western women and civilized and emancipated Western women who were to save women of color.

In Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices , Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan explore the intimate — and problematic — relation between feminism and imperialism:. Our critique of certain forms of feminism emerge from their willing participation in modernity with all its colonial discourses and hegemonic First World formations that wittingly or unwittingly lead to the oppression and exploitation of many women.

In supporting the agenda of modernity, therefore, feminists misrecognize and fail to resist Western hegemonies. The question we need to ask is no longer whether Western feminists were imperialists or anti-imperialists. Rather we need to investigate when and how feminist discourses and practices inform and are in turn informed by politics of nation and empire.

In Home and Harem: Nation, Gender, Empire, and the Cultures of Travel , which examines British and Indian feminist formations, Inderpal Grewal offers analytical insights that are applicable to instances beyond British imperialism and that put not only Western but also non-Western feminist formations under critical scrutiny:. In American gender reform in postwar Japan, feminist emancipatory rhetoric and practices were never outside, but rather at the center, of postwar American imperial expansionism.

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Despite these similarities between the U. Importantly, U. While contending with Western colonial domination, Japan pursued its own imperial project by colonizing neighboring nations in the name of creating the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Despite its unconditional surrender and enormous reduction in territory at the end of World War II, many aspects of Japanese colonialism, including its gendered nationalist politics, survived after the summer of As John Dower documents in Embracing Defeat , the existing Japanese ruling sector tenaciously negotiated with and even covertly resisted the U.

Since the U. This led to, among others, the Japanese rearticulation during the occupation of its own hegemonic nationalist and imperial discourses concerning women, race, family, and nation. Finally, in examining the U. American women owed this to capitalism, free market enterprise, and the abundance of consumer good.


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All of this, Nixon insisted, demonstrated the clear superiority of American capitalism to communism. Khrushchev flatly disagreed. He pointed to Soviet women workers as evidence of the superiority of communism.

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The debate gave new meaning and status to domesticity, endowing it with political significance specific to the Cold War era. That domesticity came to possess new political significance in the Cold War is observed in other instances as well. As evidenced in the civil defense programs in the U.

The civil defense programs also urged Americans to master skills and procedures through repeated practices in preparation for nuclear war.

How far have women’s rights advanced in a century?

Postwar Japan became a highly charged theater for emerging Cold War culture, where containment discourses and practices, including mastery of skills and techniques through repeated exercises, became disseminated as the central component of gender reform. It was not simply that Cold War culture was being exported to and imposed on Japan.

It would be more appropriate to argue that despite its geographical distance from the U. Despite its ubiquitous nature, Cold War containment culture was also fraught with ambivalence and anxieties. In occupied Japan, Cold War sexual politics produced a number of ambivalent and often ironic dynamics. Fraternization between American soldiers and Japanese women, and the resulting widespread venereal disease infection, caused a whole new set of sexual controversies.

The dynamics described above challenge and complicate earlier analyses of the occupation. The crisis of American masculinity represented by venereal disease and unruly and uncontainable sexuality of Japanese women indicate the precariousness of the notion of America as masculine and powerful and Japan as feminine and docile.

The emergence of female-to-female bonds in the course of gender reform further challenges and complicates the argument that the occupation be read exclusively as a heterosexual narrative of white men dominating subjugated and docile women of color. Stepping into a postwar imperial project primarily defined in heterosexual and masculinist terms, American and Japanese women shifted, rather than simply replicated, these terms.

A reform network consisting of American and Japanese women introduced a narrative of female-to-female homosociality into a Cold War project predicated on the erasure of any sign of sexual transgression. The current, almost exclusive emphasis on masculinization of America and feminization of Japan in gender analysis of U. Reinterpreting the meanings and consequences of the occupation from a critical feminist perspective generates a multidisciplinary dialogue among occupation studies, Cold War cultural studies, and postcolonial feminist studies where assumptions of each discipline are challenged and even altered.

Cold War cultural studies has conventionally focused on domestic dynamics but not fully investigated the ways in which containment culture was also articulated abroad, with significant involvement of non-American and nonwhite others. To gain a fuller understanding of the Cold War, it is necessary for scholars to cast their gaze beyond the national domestic context and examine transnational space, especially international feminist discourses and practices, as yet another site of historical and analytical significance, with critical attention to a multitude of tensions, dissonance, and incoherence in containment culture.

Postcolonial feminist studies has been generating increasingly critical and sophisticated understandings of Western feminism. In the case of the U. At the same time, the complex nature of the U. Far from powerless victims under U. Finally, critical examination of the U. Her research and teaching center on re-examining European, American, and Japanese feminisms from critical perspectives involving race, nation, and empire. The present article draws on and develops material from her book, Pedagogy of Democracy: Feminism and the Cold War in the U.