Continental Women’s Agency

European Women’s Agency is a collection of essays that explore the complex ways that women and young girls construct all their lives across Europe. It employs a range of methodological solutions and new archival material to investigate the interplay between gender, society and the ways that girls manage their daily experiences. The chapters in this volume look at women’s encounters from various cultural, societal and financial perspectives: as mothers and wives; as philanthropists; as writers and artists; and as activists. Despite the vastly different source materials, some key themes unite the contributions as a whole. One is the centrality of a notion of female agency. The authors employ micro-studies of individual cases to reveal how women, despite their legal disabilities because of their gender, could assert considerable agency in the pursuit of their interests.

The articles in this size emphasize how crucial it is to take female into account when describing the premature inclusion processes in Europe. Maria Pia Di Nonno, for instance, looks at how the ladies in Malta’s Common Assembly and the forerunner to the European Parliament earnestly influenced the integration of Europe. In Bernard Capp’s chapter on Agnes Beaumont, the subject herself wrote a words to demonstrate how disobeying her father was an act of bureau in and of itself.

A final factor discusses how express socialist children’s organizations in Eastern Europe served as both brokers on behalf of women and prevented their firm at the same time. A closer examination of the buildings and political contexts in which these official organizations operated reveals a more complex picture, and the author casts doubt on revisionist feminist researchers’ assertions that they were “agents on behalf of women.”