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Brian Thorn explores what motivated Canadian women to become politically engaged in the 1940s and '50s. Although women in these decades are often depicted as being trapped in the suburbs, they joined diverse political parties, including the CCF, Social Credit, and the Communist Party of Canada. Thorn argues, controversially, that while women on the "left" and "right" had different goals, their activism continued to be informed by maternalism. They used their roles as wives and mothers to influence their parties' positions and break down barriers. Along the way, they laid the foundations for the 1960s feminist movement.