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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939The Interwar Period$
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Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474412537

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

‘The Sheep and the Goats’: Interwar Women Journalists, the Society of Women Journalists, and the Woman Journalist

‘The Sheep and the Goats’: Interwar Women Journalists, the Society of Women Journalists, and the Woman Journalist

(p.463) 30 ‘The Sheep and the Goats’: Interwar Women Journalists, the Society of Women Journalists, and the Woman Journalist
Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939

Sarah Lonsdale

Edinburgh University Press

By the outbreak of the Second World War, women made up approximately 20 per cent of journalists in Britain, doubling their participation in mainstream journalism since the turn of the twentieth century. They were mostly employed by women’s magazines, were precariously freelance or confined to the newspaper ‘women’s page’, and faced resistance from the powerful National Union of Journalists, which imposed limitations on women’s access to newspaper newsrooms. Women journalists had emerged from the First World War with prominent bylines on popular newspaper leader pages; however, many women struggled to maintain their elevated status through the interwar years and either retreated into, or were pushed back into, the women’s sections. Using content from the Woman Journalist, newspaper and magazine articles, and memoirs, this chapter will examine the role, status, and professional associations of interwar women journalists to piece together their lives and attitudes to work. There is no doubt that, as members of a subjugated group, women journalists faced many struggles, but this chapter will ask whether these struggles were outweighed by the opportunities for adventure and financial independence that journalism offered them. It will also examine whether female journalists’ contributions to interwar newspapers and magazines reinforced media messages limiting women’s lives to ‘hearth and home’, thus contributing to women’s ‘symbolic annihilation’ from the public sphere.1 It will also ask whether the professional organisation, the Society of Women Journalists (SWJ), and its organ, the Woman Journalist, helped women journalists challenge gender barriers or encouraged gender stereotyping in their work.

Keywords:   women’s periodicals, women’s magazines, interwar, British, feminism, women readers, modernism, fashion, domestic magazines, popular magazines

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