1st Edition

New Perspectives on European Women's Legal History

ISBN 9780367263980
Published March 22, 2019 by Routledge
452 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $49.95

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Book Description

This book integrates women’s history and legal studies within the broader context of modern European history in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sixteen contributions from fourteen countries explore the ways in which the law contributes to the social construction of gender. They analyze questions of family law and international law and highlight the politics of gender in the legal professions in a variety of historical, social and national settings, including Eastern, Southern, Western, Northern and Central Europe. Focusing on different legal cultures, they show us the similarities and differences in the ways the law has shaped the contours of women and men’s lives in powerful ways. They also show how women have used legal knowledge to struggle for their equal rights on the national and transnational level. The chapters address the interconnectedness of the history of feminism, legislative reforms, and women’s citizenship, and build a foundation for a comparative vision of women’s legal history in modern Europe.

Table of Contents


[Ute Gerhard and Karen Offen]


Introduction: Legal Cultures and Communities of Female Protest in Modern European History, 1860-1960s

[Sara L. Kimble and Marion Röwekamp]

Part I: Gender and Family Law

1. Adaptation, Emulation, or Tradition?: Greek Family Law and the Courts in the First Decades of the Modern Greek State

[Evdoxios Doxiadis]

2. Family Law, Legal Reforms, Female Lawyers and Feminist Claims in Spain, 1868-1950

[Gloria Nielfa]

3. Democracy at Home: Debating Family and Marriage Law in the First Czechoslovak Republic, 1918–1938

[Melissa Feinberg]

4. Equality at Stake: Legal and National Discourses on Family Law in Czechoslovakia, 1918-1931

[Jana Osterkamp]

Part II: Women in the Legal Professions

5. The Rise of "Modern Portias": Feminist Legal Activism in Republican France, 1890s-1940s

[Sara L. Kimble]

6. Women and the Courts in Twentieth-Century Belgium: An Historical Perspective

[Eva Schandevyl]

7. The First Lawyers and Attorneys: The Struggle for Professional Recognition of Women’s Rights in Yugoslavia, 1918-1953

[Gordana Stojaković]

8. Bulgarian Women in Legal Education and the Legal Profession During the First Half of the Twentieth Century

[Krassimira Daskalova]

9. "The Napoleonic Civil Code is to Blame for My Decision to Study Law": Female Polish Law Students and Lawyers in the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939)

[Iwona Dadej]

10. Women, Equal Rights and the Legal Profession in Germany, 1895-1933

[Marion Röwekamp]

11. Feminism and Criminology in Britain, 1910-1950

[Anne Logan]

12. Attempting to Advocate: Women Entering the Legal Profession in Finland, 1885-1915

[Mia Korpiola]

Part III: Transnational and International Intersections

13. Tracking Feminist Interventions in International Law Issues at the League of Nations: From the Nationality of Married Women to Legal Equality in the Family, 1919-1970

[Catherine Jacques]

14. "Who Belongs" or the Question of Women’s Citizenship in Switzerland Since 1798

[Regina Wecker]

15. Legal Position of Women in Portugal: The Case of the Standing Committee on Legislation of the National Council of Portuguese Women (CNMP), 1914–1947

[Anne Cova]

16. Night Work for White Women and Bonded Labour for "Native" Women?: Contentious Traditions and the Globalization of Gender-Specific Labour Protection and Legal Equality Politics, 1926 to 1939

[Susan Zimmermann]

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Sara L. Kimble is a historian at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

Marion Röwekamp is Feodor Lynen Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at UNAM and the Colegio de México in Mexico City.