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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 8, 2017

The Other Half of Communism: Women's Outlook

Rachele Ledda
Pages 211-228
DOI: 10.5840/hce2017810

The Season of Transgression Is Over?
The Union of Italian Women and the Italian Communist Party: Reaction, Negotiation and Sanctioned Struggles in Local and Global Context 1944-1963

This contribution aims to outline the birth and development of the Unione Donne Italiane (UDI) in regard to its relations with the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) from 1944 to 1963. The present research has drawn mainly from archival sources. UDI was born as a multi-party women’s organization but the hegemony of the Communist women would de facto bring it under the influence of the PCI. The Italian Communist Party tried to perform a normative and normalizing task. By the logic of the Cold War, women were relegated to deal mainly with the defence of peace, both nationally and internationally. From the international point of view, UDI was among the founding organizations of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF). Gradually, the Unione began to accrue dissent even within the WIDF, leading to an internal struggle on the path to emancipation that the organization was already developing within its national context.