In 1939, newspapers predicted that U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would appoint Josephine Roche to head his new Federal Security Agency. But Roche did not get the job. This article asks why. It argues that gender played a role in her failure of appointment but that her political ideals and associations were more significant. Analysis of the episode illuminates and challenges the transnational practice of personalizing women's political conflict and suggests a new understanding of women's political networks. Instead of the self-contained and unified female network that historians have identified as so important to shaping the U.S. welfare state in the 1930s, Roche's networks were many and sometimes at odds. Indeed, to comprehend women's politics in 1930s America, postwar Europe, or contemporary Africa, we need to imagine women as full participants in multiple, loosely connected and intersecting political networks, not all of which were exclusively female.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 60-83
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.