Women of the Right

Comparisons and Interplay Across Borders

Paper or softback
Kathleen M. Blee, Sandra McGee Deutsch
Published 31 Mar 2012
List Price £21.95

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“The wave of populism sweeping through Western democracies is putting women forward—Sarah Palin in the United States, Marine le Pen in France, Siv Jensen in Norway. Yet one knows very little about these women of the right, who are overlooked by existing research. This book is one of the first to make a thorough empirical examination of how and why they get involved. Through a feminist and multidisciplinary perspective covering a century of mobilizations in four continents, it reveals the complex interaction between gender and politics. Even in movements that see them only as mothers and wives, women don’t act or think as men do, and they find in their activism some form of emancipation and transgression, blurring the left-right divide. A whole new planet is opening for research on this unexplored dark side of female activism.”

—Nonna Mayer, Centre d’études européennes de Sciences Po

“Pathbreaking research and sparkling analysis in an accessible and coherent collection that brilliantly illuminates a neglected area of social science research on right-wing movements.”

—Chip Berlet, Political Research Associates

“Kathleen Blee and Sandra McGee Deutsch have produced an important book that examines the role of women in extreme right movements around the globe. Their collection of scholarly essays refuses easy explanations, showing instead that rightist women have both defended and challenged traditional stereotypes of family and society, just as they have sometimes blurred the line between left and right. The bottom line, as Blee and Deutsch rightly point out, is that women, like others, are complex human beings who make different choices in various cultural and political contexts.”

—Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center

Women of the Right is a very valuable contribution to a growing field. It is cutting-edge, occupying a cross section between the burgeoning field of gender and transnationalism and the study of women in right-wing movements. It is particularly exciting because it not only offers various national case studies and brings us up to the present day but also draws important comparisons and contrasts between the ideas, representations, and organization of women on the right and the far right.”

—Julie Gottlieb, University of Sheffield

“Kathleen Blee and Sandra McGee Deutsch, distinguished pioneers in the field of right-wing women’s history, have done it again. This book is impressive in its scope and depth, taking the field to a new level. Blee and Deutsch have assembled a fine collection that builds and expands on previous research on gender and right-wing politics. They address the topic in a transnational context while paying close attention to local actors and circumstances.”

—Victoria González-Rivera, San Diego State University

“A major contribution not only to work on women and different strands of the right but also to our understanding of the right transnationally.”

—Martin Durham, University of Wolverhampton, UK

“Kathleen Blee and Sandra McGee Deutsch have assembled a first-rate group of scholars. The result is a splendid volume that throws new light on the role of women in far-right movements and parties.”

—Sabrina Ramet, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

“The chapters are all highly informative, well reasoned, and excellently written. This major advance will be of lasting value to scholars of gender studies, contentious politics, and global development.”

—J. Li, Choice

“[A] highlight of Women of the Right is the editorial practice of pointing out similarities between the diverse essays that make up the volume, reinforcing the book’s thesis that rightist women’s activism was propelled by trans- and international connections.”

—Erika Kuhlman, Signs

“[Women of the Right makes] compelling reading on a still-fresh topic in women’s history.”

—Erika Kuhlman, Signs

In Women of the Right, Kathleen M. Blee and Sandra McGee Deutsch bring together a groundbreaking collection of essays examining women in right-wing politics across the world, from the early twentieth-century white Afrikaner movement in South Africa to the supporters of Sarah Palin today. The volume introduces a truly global perspective on how women matter in the national and transnational links and exchanges of rightist politics. Suitable for classroom use, it sets a new agenda for scholarship on women on the right.

Aside from the editors, the contributors are Nancy Aguirre, Karla J. Cunningham, Kirsten Delegard, Kathleen M. Fallon, Kate Hallgren, Randolph Hollingsworth, Jill Irvine, Vandana Joshi, Carol S. Lilly, Annette Linden, Julie Moreau, Margaret Power, Mariela Rubinzal, Daniella Sarnoff, Ronnee Schreiber, Meera Sehgal, Louise Vincent, and Veronica A. Wilson.



List of Abbreviations


Kathleen M. Blee and Sandra McGee Deutsch


1 Transnational Connections Among Right-Wing Women: Brazil, Chile, and the United States

Margaret Power

2 Exporting the Culture Wars: Concerned Women for America in the Global Arena

Jill A. Irvine

3 Memoirs of an Avatar: A Feminist Exploration of Right-Wing Worlds in SecondLife.com

Randolph Hollingsworth

4 Righting Africa? Contextualizing Notions of Women’s Right-Wing Activism in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kathleen M. Fallon and Julie Moreau

5 Gender, Islam, and Conservative Politics

Karla J. Cunningham

6 Women in Extreme Right Parties and Movements: A Comparison of the Netherlands and the United States

Kathleen M. Blee and Annette Linden


7 Maternalism Goes to War: Class, Nativism, and Mothers’ Fight for Conscription in America’s First World War

Kate Hallgren

8 From Suffrage to Silence: The South African Afrikaner Nationalist Women’s Parties, 1915–1931

Louise Vincent

9 Porfirista Femininity in Exile: Women’s Contributions to San Antonio’s La Prensa, 1913–1929

Nancy Aguirre

10 Domesticating Fascism: Family and Gender in French Fascist Leagues

Daniella Sarnoff

11 The Volksgemeinschaft and Its Female Denouncers in the Third Reich

Vandana Joshi

12 Mothering the Nation: Maternalist Frames in the Hindu Nationalist Movement in India

Meera Sehgal


13 “It Takes Women to Fight Women”: Woman Suffrage and the Genesis of Female Conservatism in the United States

Kirsten Delegard

14 Women’s Work in Argentina’s Nationalist Lexicon, 1930–1943

Mariela Rubinzal

15 “To Tell All My People”: Race, Representation, and John Birch Society Activist Julia Brown

Veronica A. Wilson

16 Leading the Nation: Extreme Right Women Leaders Among the Serbs

Carol S. Lilly and Jill A. Irvine

17 Dilemmas of Representation: Conservative and Feminist Women’s Organizations React to Sarah Palin

Ronnee Schreiber

Selected Bibliography



Kathleen M. Blee is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sandra McGee Deutsch is Professor of History at the University of Texas at El Paso.

An interdisciplinary collection of essays examining the role of women in right-wing political activism around the world, from the Afrikaner movement in South Africa in the early twentieth century to the supporters of Sarah Palin in the United States.