chapter  2
Ladies in the field: women's farm education, the Unione delle Massaie della Campagna and Domus Rustica
Pages 23

One of the core activities of the fascist organization for peasant women was the training of rural women for their agricultural and familial role. This chapter traces the roots of this project, examining pre-existing training provisions for rural women, provisions which were, in fact, far from numerous. Frequently, the most developed programmes of this kind were found in industrialized nations and the fact that Italy lagged behind certain other European countries, such as Germany and Belgium,l in this respect, may be linked to its relatively slow rate of industrialization. An interest in educating women to be good farmwomen tended to emerge once there was a risk that they would desert the land. In fascist Italy this link was clear. Like the ruralization campaign as a whole, most farm training initiatives for women were, at least in part, a response to industrial and urban growth and it was not by chance that a disproportionate number of those initiatives that did exist were in the industrialized region of Lombardy.