Week The birth of the women’s liberation movement



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Week 1.

The birth of the women’s liberation movement
Questions to ponder whilst you read…

  • Was the sexual revolution an important factor in the rise of the WLM? If so, how?

  • Was the Left responsible for the emergence of a ‘second wave’ of feminism in the 1970s?

  • What are the main differences you perceive between ‘first’ and ‘second’ wave feminism? Are these useful labels for the historian?

  • What obstacles did women face in forming a feminist consciousness in the early days of the WLM?


Documents

S. Rowbotham, Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties (2000)


L. Segal, Making Trouble: Life and Politics (2007)
J. Mitchell, Women’s Estate (1971) [part 1 traces the history of the WLM]
J. Mitchell, ‘Women: The Longest Revolution’, New Left Review (1966) [seminal article which played an important role in the beginning of the WLM in Britain]
Fighting for Feminism: The Woman Question in an Italian Revolutionary Group by Big Flame Women’s Group (available at www.libcom/files/5975.pdf)
S. Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1971)
G. Greer, The Female Eunuch (1970)
Histories
B. Caine, English Feminism 1780-1980 (1987) [chapter 6]
* S. Rowbotham, Dreams and Dilemmas (London: Virago, 1983), pp.5-44
* B. Campbell & A. Coutes, Sweet Freedom: The Struggle for Women’s Liberation (1987)
S. MaitlandVery Heaven, Looking Back at the 1960s (1988)
J. Glencross, How the international women's movement discovered the "troubles": brokered and broken transnational interactions during the Northern Ireland conflict, 1968-1981(2011)
A. August, ‘Gender and 1960s Youth Culture: The Rolling Stones and the New Woman’, Contemporary British History 23:1 (2009), 79-100
M.P. Donnelly, Sixties Britain: Culture, Society, and Politics (2005) [chapter on women]


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