HIST 3360: Women in European History
Dr. Marion Gray
The Role of Women in a Fascist Society
The political system known as fascism was exceptionally harmful to the objective interests of individuals as well as the collective interests of women, specifically in Italy. Fascist regimes such as Italy in the early twentieth century introduced policies that would wind back the progress of women in society in addition to damaging the welfare of the country itself. Under the rule of the fascist, Benito Mussolini, Italian women were directly subjected to discrimination in their professional and private lives. Ideologically, fascism is difficult to classify. It is too often considered to be the absolute opposite of communism, and that assumption is misleading. In a communist society, the state owns all means of production and property whereas fascism allows individuals to rent property from the state. In both forms of government, the state centrally controls business in one way or another. Therefore, a more accurate spectrum of political thought lies between libertarianism and authoritarianism. Communism and fascism are both forms of authoritarianism but there are several political characteristics that are unique to fascism. Within a fascist society, the government attempts to indoctrinate people with a strong sense of nationalism. Mussolini founded the Fascist party as a militaristic and populist alternative to both left and right wing political movements. Under Mussolini, ideologues taught people that national identity was the basis of individual identity and could not be corrupted by foreign influences. Fascist Italy championed various mottos and symbols in order to foster national pride of country such as “Mussolini ha sempre ragione” which simply means “Mussolini is always right”. Another example is “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato” which is Italian for “Everything in the State,...