The education of women during the Estado Novo. An ethnography on the Obra das Mães and the Mocidade Portuguesa Feminina

Principal researcher: Clara González Cragnolino

Research group: Governance, Policies and Livelihoods


Gender and power | Subjectivities and subjections | Obra das Mães and Mocidade Portuguesa Feminina | Estado Novo

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date





The debates about the role of women in Portuguese society gain complexity when integrated in the social processes of recent history. This project seeks to ethnographically describe the meanings, strategies and consequences of the production of subjectivities and subjections during the Estado Novo, focusing on the policies of state organizations targeting women: Obra das Mães pela Educação Nacional and Mocidade Portuguesa Feminina. The aim is to understand how the model of women's participation in Portuguese society, conveyed by institutions of "feminine education", constituted a central basis for the configuration and reproduction of a political project of society. Based on ethnographic and documentary analysis this project aims to analyze how, through these institutions, the Estado Novo promoted a familist and patriarchal model of society, rooted in gender ideals that shape the life experiences of the Portuguese in a profound way and that remains well beyond the period of that political regime.


Full members

Antónia Pedroso de Lima

Governance, Policies and Livelihoods