This paper overviews part of a wider study of feminist teachers, born and educated in New Zealand in the year immediately following World War Two. The method used is life history analysis, which explores 'biography, history and social structure'. The first part of this paper discusses the post-war educational context through analysing contradictions in the policies and expectation for girls' education and exploring the relevance of these to the resurgence of feminism as a mass social movement amongst 'educated' women of the time. The second part presents case studies of the school experiences of two New Zealand women who have, as adults, become educators and come to identify themselves as feminists. The focus of the case studies is on the strategies those women developed to deal with the contradictions in their lives and to trace the beginnings of their political radicalisation.