Gender Roles and Nuclear Disarmament Activism, 1954-1965


Wittner, Lawrence S. 2000. “Gender Roles and Nuclear Disarmament Activism, 1954-1965.” Gender & History 12 (1): 197–222.

Author: Lawrence S. Wittner


“Changes in science and technology do not always produce revolutions in consciousness, but they can certainly have an impact, especially when the changes portend mass annihilation. Thus, not surprisingly, the terrifying preparations for nuclear war of the mid twentieth century – including atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons with a thousand times the explosive power of the bomb that obliterated Hiroshima – and the stark nuclear confrontations among the great powers sent new currents of thought swirling off in numerous directions. Gender roles could hardly remain unaffected and, in fact, underwent the beginning of a significant shift. Indeed, scholars looking for the missing link between the conventional gender norms of the immediate postwar decade and the emerging women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s would do well to examine the impact of the Bomb upon popular consciousness in the intervening years. And the first place to look for this transition in thinking about gender is at the worldwide welling up of nuclear disarmament activism” (Wittner 2000, 197).

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: Japan, United States of America

Year: 2000

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at