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Cover of Women's History Review

Women's History Review

Volume 19, Issue 4, Sep 2010
Pages 595-612

  • DOI: 10.1080/09612025.2010.502403
  • Print ISSN: 0961-2025
  • Online ISSN: 1747-583X

International Feminisms in Historical Comparative Perspective: France, Italy and Portugal, 1880s–1930s

This article approaches international feminisms in historical comparative perspective by looking at three feminist federations, called national councils of women, that were established in France, Italy and Portugal in 1901, 1903 and 1914, respectively. All of these organisations emerged from the International Council of Women, which had been founded in Washington in 1888 ‘to stimulate the sentiment of internationalism among women throughout the world’, as an attempt to build a collective women’s identity. The comparison between France, Italy and Portugal during the first three decades of the twentieth century must take into account the fact that the last two countries faced authoritarian regimes (fascist and Salazarist dictatorships, respectively) while, by contrast, France spent the period considered in this article under the Third Republic. After examining the origins of these three national councils of women, the focus will be on their common agenda, taking into account the national contexts to which they had to adapt themselves. The aim of this article is to contribute to the history of transnational feminisms and to a comparative women’s history of the twentieth century.