Women in the family movement: Working-class, gendered activism (1935-1957)

By Geneviève Dermenjian

The Popular Family Movements (Mouvements familiaux populaires, 1935-1957), created by former members of the Young Christian Workers and the Women’s Young Christian Workers, focused on women from the working classes with the aim of collective advancement. The organisation wanted to train these women to be active militants in their neighbourhoods, able to tackle daily difficulties. This neighbourhood activism brought women out of their homes, made them autonomous, gradually taught them public speaking and how to take on responsibilities, how to manage services offered for local women, to learn about diversity and politics. From housewives who did not leave their homes, they became more autonomous, more responsible, and more open to modern life and social issues.

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