World War I provided San Francisco women public opportunities to actively engage in the body politic. These women expanded their organizational strategies, honed over the decades in clubs and associations, to meet the nation's wartime needs. In 1911 such activism resulted in passage of California suffrage, but the majority of San Francisco men voted against the state amendment. For San Francisco women, World War I was another avenue through which they could expand their community invovement. As guardians of the kitchen, women emphasized their vital contributions to the nation's economy. They continued crusades to eradicate vice and promote community health. They sought ways to make a difference on an international scale. Civic equality remained unobtainable as men dominated wartime leadership roles, but San Francisco women continued to adapt by creating new opportunities to mobilize female citizenry.
“We Can Fulfill Our Obligation as Women Citizens”: San Francisco Women, Civic Identity, and the Great War
heather clemmer is professor of history, chair of the Department of History, Politics, and Law, and director of general education at Southern Nazarene University. She received her MA and PhD in history from the University of Oklahoma. She served for nine years as a historian for the Oklahoma City Historic Preservation Commission. She has a chapter, titled “‘My Heart Had Been Burdened for the Orphaned and Homeless Children’: Religious Imperative and Maternalism in the Work of Mattie Mallory,” in the forthcoming This Land Is Herland: Gendered Activism in Oklahoma, 1870s–2010s (2021).
Heather Clemmer; “We Can Fulfill Our Obligation as Women Citizens”: San Francisco Women, Civic Identity, and the Great War. California History 1 August 2020; 97 (3): 37–63. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2020.97.3.37
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