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Be(ing) prepared : girl guides, colonial life, and national strength

journal contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Michelle Smith
This paper seeks to bridge a gap in feminist critique of gender and empire with regard to the founding of the Girl Guide movement in 1909. In contrast with previous studies of the Boy Scouts, which have briefly considered Guides as a mere derivative organisation, it suggests that the formation of the Guides, and printed material such as the first handbook How Girls Can Help Build Up the Empire (1912), were grounded in notions of the part which women, and girls specifically, could play in the imperial project. This paper proposes that, although tempered by an emphasis on raising children in order to prevent the “degeneration” of the British race, the Guide handbook permits increased non-domestic activity for Edwardian girls, which is justified by aims of preparing for home defence in case of foreign attack and for life in the colonies.

History

Journal

Limina : a journal of historical and cultural studies

Volume

12

Pagination

52 - 63

Publisher

University of Western Australia

Location

Crawley, W.A.

ISSN

1324-4558

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2006, The Limina Editorial Collective

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