Sheila Rowbotham is a historian and writer. She was involved in organising the first national UK Women’s Liberation Movement conference held at Ruskin College, Oxford in 1970, was active in the London Women's Liberation Workshop, and campaigned extensively, including to unionise night cleaners, in the National Abortion Campaign (NAC) and in the National Child Care Campaign. Her influential pamphlet Women's Liberation and the New Politics of 1969 is widely considered to have been the first manifesto for the new movement in Britain. Later key texts included Women, resistance, and revolution: a history of women and revolution in the modern world (New York: Pantheon, 1972); Woman's Consciousness, Man's World (London: Penguin, 1973); and Hidden from History: 300 years of Women's Oppression and the Fight against it (London: Pluto, 1973). She was also key organiser and author of the conference and book Beyond the fragments: feminism and the making of socialism (London: Merlin Press, 1979) and worked as a research officer for the Greater London Council's Industry and Employment Department in the 1980s. Recent books include Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties (London/: Verso, 2001); and Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century (London: Verso, 2010).
Listen to Sheila Rowbotham discussing the origin of the WLM demands and her adolescent ignorance and fear due to lack of sex education.
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