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Title: A socio-historical study of the British Federation of University Women, 1930-57
Author: Golby, Alison.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3501 737X
Awarding Body: University of Portsmouth
Current Institution: University of Portsmouth
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis sets out to recover part of women's history by exploring the origin, aims, development, philosophy, approach and activities of a little known women's organisation, namely the British Federation of University Women (henceforth, BFUW), from 1930 to 1957. The thesis is situated within a feminist theoretical framework as well as drawing upon insights from recent developments in women's history. The study is placed, however, within a wider political, economic and ideological setting and does not neglect to highlight women's 'real' lived experiences. The research shows that the BFUW could be considered as 'feminist' and an 'equality first' organisation for educated middle-class women. The Federation, however, moved in and out of campaigns and organisations during the period, addressing women's issues based upon both 'equality' and 'difference' and incorporating a variety of different voices. Thus, by utilising a broad definition of feminism, the study challenges the notion that the actions of women's organisations can be viewed as a simple dichotomy. The thesis also challenges the assumption that women's political actions waned or changed direction after 1928 until the 1960s 'second wave' women's movement. The way the focus of the BFUW broadened to embody international concerns, including responding to the threat from Nazism to both the status of women and to its own international community on both a practical and personal level, is also explored. The collective identity of the BFUW, guiding its actions during the period, was especially influential in its response to meeting the needs of Jewish women graduates escaping Nazi persecution who sought refuge in Britain. This study of a somewhat neglected area in history, and indeed women's history, shows that the response of the BFUW, on a local, national and international level, was unlike that of some other professional organisations at that time. Although the thesis does not comprise a narrative 'history' of the BFUW, it does, however, tell us much about the BFUW and indeed, the women's movement from 1930 to1957, especially the diverse nature of women's collective political activity and women's informal friendship networks
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available