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Women in the firing line : the Home Guard and the defence of gender boundaries in Britain in the Second World War.

Summerfield, A. Penny and Peniston-Bird, Corinna M. (2000) Women in the firing line : the Home Guard and the defence of gender boundaries in Britain in the Second World War. Women's History Review, 9 (2). pp. 231-255. ISSN 0961-2025

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Abstract

The Home Guard is well known as a local volunteer force formed to protect Britain against invasion in 1940. Less familiar is the history of the gendering of the organisation. Although the boundary between male combatants and female non-combatants was put under pressure in the Second World War, women's presence in the Home Guard was resisted from within government and the military hierarchy. Participation in home defence would have required women to be armed, a step which the authorities were not prepared to take, in spite of the insistence upon it of women campaigners in and out of Parliament. This article explores the tensions within political discourse that arose as a result, and the eventual official compromise, as well as analysing representations of the gendering of home defence in popular entertainment during the War and since, and the implications of such constructions for the personal reminiscences of women Home Guards.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Women's History Review
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > History
ID Code: 14473
Deposited By: Mr Richard Ingham
Deposited On: 20 Oct 2008 11:02
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 15:14
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/14473

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