Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: Italian Studies

First Advisor

Dario Del Puppo

Second Advisor

Giuliana Palma

Third Advisor

Joshua King


The women of the Italian Resistance movement during WWII fought to free Italy from Nazi-Fascism and in doing so they fought to liberate all Italian women. In Italian society and, especially, under Fascism (1922-1943) women were considered primarily for their reproductive and marriage roles that promoted the state's political, social, and cultural objectives. In taking up arms for freedom, they fought against sexism and against traditional gender roles. For this project, I focus on three women: Tina Anselmi (1927-2016) from Treviso, Carla Capponi (1918-2000) from Rome, and Maria Agamben Federici (1918-1984) from L'Aquila. From different regions and language backgrounds, each of them went on to play an important role in the Resistance and also in Italian politics after WWII. Using their published memoirs, biographies, and the scholarly literature about them and their historic struggle, I seek to understand what the experience of armed insurrection was like for them? What inspired them? How were they viewed by their respective families and by others, especially by non-combatant women? What challenges and obstacles did they have to overcome in what was very much a chauvinistic militia? How did these women interpret the greater social and political struggle they were part of? How has history recorded their achievements? And how did these women ultimately help achieve women's right to vote in 1945? What is their legacy for Italian feminism? These are the principal questions I seek to answer. More importantly, studying the women of the Italian Resistance has contributed to my overall understanding of Italian history but it has also given me perspective on the continuing struggle for women's rights in contemporary Italy. The past is somehow always present.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Italian Studies.