Book review: Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain 1918-1939

Edinburgh University Press, 2018

Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain looks at various publications offered to women in the interwar period and the different notions of the modern woman they portrayed.

The book explores the role of women’s print media in reshaping public discourses of gender by defining women’s interests, activities, and identities in this period. 

The period was marked by women’s victory in their campaign for the vote in 1917 as well as mass unemployment following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

One of the publications analysed is Woman’s Outlook, a magazine for women in the co-operative movement, which was published between 1919 and 1967.

Written by Natalie Bradbury, the Woman’s Outlook chapter focuses on the role of the woman in the co-operative movement and the wider society.

The Women’s Outlook developed out of a column called Woman’s Corner, featured in Co-op News in 1883. The first editor of the column was Alice Aclan, one of the founding members of the Co-operative Women’s Guild.

Unlike many women magazines at the times, which were owned, written and edited by men, Woman’s Outlook was written and edited by women in the movement.

The chapter explains how readers were not regarded as passive recipients, but were invited to contribute content and take part in discussions. The key message of the magazine was that women’s involvement in the co-op movement should not be limited to their role as consumers. In spite of its relationship with the CWG and the wider co-operative movement, the magazine had its own identity, reflecting the challenges faced by its readers.

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