Keywords: Female intellectuals; University; Associazione nazionale fascista donne artiste e laureate; Emancipation of women; Fascism
The paper examines the relationship during the 1930s between the fascist regime and exponents of a female world set determined to on giving life to an association capable of attracting and keeping – based along the lines of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women in the US – professionals, artists and young graduates. During fascism, many women aspired to establish their place in the professions and arts despite the regime’s attempt to dissuade them. Tuition fees were set higher for female students in an attempt to reduce their numbers in school and university. Marriage bonuses were introduced in an attempt to encourage women to become brides and prolific mothers. Despite denunciations in various publications, the education system did not take into account the needs of girls. And laws and decrees restricted their access to public and private employment. By involving women in cultural events – conferences, exhibitions, literary fairs – the Associazione nazionale fascista donne artiste e laureate provided them with the opportunity to make themselves visible and feel valued. However, at the same time it made them an essential propaganda tool both inside and outside Italy, for a hagiographic representation of Mussolini’s regime and policies adopted concerning women.