Who we were, who we are
Ursula Owen talks about the periodic reinvention of feminism
The Women’s Liberation Movement was not the first movement concerned with the emancipation of women. Some of its predecessors include:
The suffrage movement from the 1840s to the 1920s in Britain, the USA and Europe
Early Indian campaigns against sati (self-immolation of recently widowed women) and prohibitions on widow remarriage in the mid-19th century
The so-called ‘May Fourth Feminist Movement’ in China in the 1910s and ‘20s The Ottoman Welfare Organisation of Women founded in 1908 in Turkey, an early example of Arab women’s organising.
These campaigning histories had been mostly been forgotten by the 1960s and were little known by post-war generations, so much of the intellectual work of the WLM was of rediscovery and rethinking.
Sue Crockford recalls the first conference on Women's Liberation
In the light of these struggles, past, present and future, how can we understand connections between women’s movements across the world? In the British context (the focus of the Sisterhood and After archive) how do we make connections between today’s feminists, the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s and ‘80s, and the suffragists and suffragettes of the 19th and early 20th centuries?
Since the first National Women’s Liberation Movement Conference in the UK was held at Ruskin College, Oxford, in 1970, equal rights have become enshrined in legislation and equal opportunities are an expectation (if not always a reality) of everyday life. Women in the UK have control over their fertility, a secure presence in every area of public life, and are active in government as well as the professions and industry. So is there a need for a women’s movement today and why does the idea of feminism still create controversy?
Juliet Mitchell talks about why changes in gender relations take so long to achieve
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