Social Context / Legislation
• Equal Pay Act of 1970 goes into effect.
• Sex Discrimination Act passed. The act covers direct and indirect discrimination in the public sphere (e.g. training and education) but areas such as pension and social security rights are not covered.
• Employment Protection Act passed. This act increases some maternity rights.
• Family allowances are amalgamated with child tax allowances to create Child Benefits.
~ National Women’s Liberation Movement Conference, Manchester
Women’s Aid emerges as a WLM Conference issue. National Women’s Aid Federation (NWAF) begins as an organisation out of a split within the refuge movement between refuges aligned with Erin Pizzey’s philosophy and orientation and those aligned with the WLM. The NWAF is begun by those aligned with the WLM.
The Leeds Chapeltown Women’s Liberation Group proposes a national newsletter to inform WL groups of activities and to act as a referral and information service. A resolution is passed to establish The Women’s Liberation Movement National Information Service which is renamed Women’s Information, Referral and Enquiry service (WIRES). The first group to produce the newsletter is the Chapeltown Women’s Liberation Group and it is agreed that publication of the newsletter should be passed to another group after a couple of years.
~ Scottish National Women’s Liberation Conference, Aberdeen
~ Welsh National Women’s Liberation Conference, Aberystwyth
~ South West Regional Women’s Liberation Conference, Bath
~ Fifth Women’s Liberation and Socialism Conference, London:
Perspectives on the Women’s Movement.
The socialist feminist current in the WLM is split at this point by differences between women who are and those who are not aligned to Left organisations:
“At first the political differences between those women whose primary political orientation was within the revolutionary left groups, and those whose orientation was within the WLM were obscured behind the collective euphoria generated by discussion of new ideas and new understandings, However, by the Oxford Conference, these differences were becoming more obvious and the final conference in London 1975 saw the alliance between the two tendencies end in bitterness and anger. The socialist current was organised in campaigns directed towards women at work in a way that precluded discussions about the practice and the theory behind it.” (Scarlet Women Collective 1977: 6).
Sexuality/ Sexual Politics
~ Female Sexuality, Brighton.
~ (Third) National Lesbian Conference, Lancaster.
~ Regional Lesbian Conference, Leeds.
Violence Against Women
~ First NWAF (National Women’s Aid Federation) Conference, London.
Five aims are established. Importantly, “the phrase that violence against women was ‘due to the position of women in society'” is included (Sutton and Hanmer 1984). The structure of the new organisation includes regional co-ordinators to be elected at regional conferences, as well as a national co ordinator to be elected from the national conference.
~ Women’s Aid meeting held in Leeds prior to the National WLM Conference in Manchester.
~ Second National Women’s Aid (WA) conference, Leeds.
“At the second national conference of Women’s Aid in February 1975 almost all of the 42 groups attending decided to form the NWAF. Erin Pizzey fired Jo Sutton [..] and staged a walkout. NWAF immediately employed Jo Sutton as co-ordinator and collected donations amongst themselves to begin to enable this salary to be met.” (Hanmer 1976)
~ Women in National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO), London.
~ Women Workers’ Conference (WWCC), Basingstoke.
~ Childbirth Conference, Birmingham
~ National Abortion Campaign (NAC) National Conference, Glasgow (1)
~ NAC National Conference, London (2)
At issue: Splits between feminists and the left over organisation and whether a ‘single issue’ campaign can express the feminist demand meaningfully.
~ Nursery and Childcare, Nottingham
~ Sexism and Education, Nottingham
~ (First) Women and Health Conference, Sheffield (1)
“There was all this stuff about self examination, but just all kinds of information starting to come out about things like contraception and abortion [ … ] It was one of the areas where women would say, ‘Oh gosh, I didn’t know that’, getting that kind of power about themselves.” (Collins, OHP Interview No. 12)
~ Women and Health Conference, Manchester (2)
~ Women and Media, London
~ Women’s Conference to Mobilise Support Against the Use of Torture, London
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