Authors Maria Blomquist and Lisa Bjurwald found that the notion of women as passive neo-Nazi group members, simply following their boyfriends into the movement, was largely a myth.
“Women are active in everything from distributing propaganda material, writing articles and takng part in white power concerts, to releasing their own collections of poetry, standing for election and speaking at public demonstrations,” Maria Blomquist told The Local.
The book, Good dag kampsyster (‘Good day, sister in arms’), also looks at the growing numbers of women signing up to the burgeoning right wing extremist movement in Sweden.
“At the neo-Nazis’ national day march last June we counted 200 women, making up some 20 to 25 percent of the total participants,” said Blomquist, adding that women often find their way into neo-Nazi circles in much the same way as their male counterparts.
“They get involved via the internet, by attending concerts or following the lead of a famly member, to name just some examples.”
Blomquist and Bjurwald’s book tracks the development of 111 members of the National Socialist Front (NSF) from 1997 to 2003. By analysing membership registers and cross-referencing them with public records, the authors examine the women’s lives at the time they joined the NSF, followed by a snapshot of the same women’s circumstances in 2008.
According to excerpts published in the Swedish magazine Expo, the median age of women who joined NSF was 19, with just a handful over the age of 30.
Expo is the publishing arm of the Expo Foundation, “a privately-owned research foundation founded in 1995 with the aim of studying and mapping anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and racist tendencies in society.”
On average NSF’s female members — the majority of whom lived in southern Sweden — remained members for a year and ten months. Few of the women had jobs, and though their circumstances had improved by 2008, their incomes and education levels were generally low.
A lot of the women had left the organization by autumn 2008 but there were some who had remained members for over 10 years.
The National Socialist Front (NSF) disbanded in November 2008 and re-launched itself as the Folkfronten (’People’s Front’) party.