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This article examines the significance of two large Italian women’s associations in the immediate postwar period. The Unione Donne Italiane (UDI) and the Centro Italiano Femminile (CIF) led Italian women through years that would be vital to the construction of new female identities and roles in a modernizing Italian state. I argue that despite pressures from political parties and the Catholic Church in Italy, the UDI and the CIF acted as mass autonomous associations while they set and met ambitious goals for women. Their opposed positions revealed nonetheless some of the tensions and challenges of the postwar Italian political climate and influence of the Cold War.