Handbook on Gender and War
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Handbook on Gender and War

Edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pedersen

Gender and war are in many ways inextricably linked, and this path-breaking Handbook systematically examines the major issues surrounding this relationship. Each of its four sections covers a distinct phase of war: gender and opposition to war; gender and the conduct of war; gender and the impact of war; and gender and the aftermath of war. Original contributions from an international group of leading experts make use of a range of historical and contemporary examples to interrogate the multi-faceted connection between gender and war.
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Chapter 3: The twilight war: gender and espionage, Britain, 1900–1950

Juliette Pattinson


Popular discourse surrounding espionage in the first half of the twentieth century has centred on the scrupulously patriotic British gentleman spy and the duplicitous foreign ‘mata-hariesque’ female spy-courtesan, rendering almost invisible the many women who staffed the various branches of intelligence organizations, both in Britain and overseas. These women were generally undertaking mundane, low status and low paid work but were crucial to the development, expansion and professionalization of twentieth-century British espionage. This chapter utilizes official records, personal testimonies, newspapers and film in order to examine the gendered nature of espionage and counter-espionage, focusing on the experiences of the men and women who engaged in it, as well as public perceptions of them.

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