From Left to Right: Maternalism and Women's Political Activism in Postwar Canada

From Left to Right: Maternalism and Women's Political Activism in Postwar Canada

by Brian T. Thorn


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In From Left to Right, Brian Thorn explores what motivated Canadian women to become politically engaged in the 1940s and ’50s. Although women in these decades are often depicted as being trapped in the suburbs, they joined diverse political parties, including the CCF, Social Credit, and the Communist Party of Canada. Thorn argues, controversially, that while women on the “left” and “right” had different goals, their activism continued to be informed by maternalism. They used their roles as wives and mothers to influence their parties’ positions and break down barriers. Along the way, they laid the foundations for the 1960s feminist movement.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780774832083
Publisher: University of British Columbia Press
Publication date: 07/01/2016
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 16.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Brian T. Thorn teaches in the Departments of English and History at Nipissing University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 3

1 Women No Longer Need Fear Want or Illness: Women on the Left 21

2 Ladies, Let Us Hold High the Banner of Social Credit! Women on the Right 47

3 Peace Is the Concern of Every Mother: Communist and Social Democratic Women's Anti-War Activism 69

4 Traveling Bags for Their Trip to Russia: Social Credit Women Campaign for Peace 86

5 The Well-Being of the Home Depends on the Well-Being of the Union: Women-Only Organizations 106

6 Healthy Activity and Worthwhile Ideas: Confronting Juvenile Delinquency 127

Conclusion 146

Appendix: Brief Biographies 153

Notes 159

Bibliography 204

Index 233

What People are Saying About This

Julie Guard

By comparing the roles and efforts of women who belonged not only to left-wing parties but also to the right wing, Brian Thorn offers a new and useful perspective on women’s political activism during the postwar decades.

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