Women's Rights are a Casualty of Democratic Backsliding

Historians in the News
tags: abortion, fascism, womens history



From Nazi Germany to Mussolini's Italy, fascist regimes shared an early target: Women.

"The fascists passed laws criminalizing abortion both for doctors performing, for people providing information for women seeking," professor Anne Wingenter says.

Women's rights, even a woman's purpose, were narrowed to one goal: Advancing the greatness of the state.

"For the fascists, the main role of women was to be the mothers of many children, ideally the mothers of many future soldiers," professor Anne Wingenter says.

"In the Italian case, for example, there is an attempt to promote traditional patriarchal values, motherhood, especially prolific motherhood."

Today, On Point: Does the attack on women's rights in the past have any relevance to the rapid spread of anti-abortion laws in the United States today?

And are women's rights an early indicator of the health of a democracy overall?


Anne Wingenter, professor of history and women’s studies at Loyola University Chicago's John Felice Rome Center.

Erica Chenoweth, professor of the First Amendment at Harvard University. Author of Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know. (@EricaChenoweth)

Read entire article at WBUR

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