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Women, Social Leadership, and the Second World WarContinuities of Class$
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James Hinton

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243297.001.0001

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Colonizing the Urban Public Sphere

Colonizing the Urban Public Sphere

(p.35) 3 Colonizing the Urban Public Sphere
Women, Social Leadership, and the Second World War

James Hinton (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the shape and nature of the female public sphere as it existed in the late 1930s, arguing that the women's organizations which burgeoned in the inter-war years did much to sustain middle-class social leadership in urban Britain. As WVS colonised this world, it took on many of its middle-class contours, in particular by seeking to build the new organization around the prestige of established female social leaders. Organizations discussed include Townswomen's Guilds, Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Soroptimists and the National Council of Women, all of which contributed to WVS' local leadership, as did the Conservative Party whose activists migrated wholesale into WVS when their local branches largely ceased to function due to the wartime electoral truce.

Keywords:   Women's Voluntary Service, social leadership, urban Britain, Townswomen's Guild, Soroptimists, National Council of Women, Conservative Party

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