This chronology is designed as a resource and a guide for women who are interested in the herstory of the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) in Britain, both inside and outside of academic institutions. What we have presented here is a draft which we hope will encourage contributions to help us to create a complete herstory of the WLM in Britain 1969 – 1979.
The basis of this chronology is in research undertaken for the Oral History Project on the Women’s Liberation Movement in Leeds and Bradford 1969 – 1979. The project was based in The Feminist Archive North, which has a focus on grassroots material from the WLM. This research began in October 1994 with Elizabeth Arledge Ross and was continued by Miriam Bearse. The explicit goal of the project from its beginning has been to record women’s memories before they fade, and to collect and preserve related printed material before it is destroyed or thrown away. Accordingly, this research has had three main foci:
1) interviews conducted with women active in the movement in the Leeds / Bradford area between 1969 – 1979;
2) the creation, from those interviews and related printed material, of the chronology of the WLM which is presented here;
3) the collection and preservation of early WLM material in the Feminist Archive North.
The project is assisted by the archive advisory group and the archive’s trustees. At the time the chronology was created (summer 1996), 20 interviews had been conducted with 23 different women. Transcripts of these interviews are available for consultation in the Feminist Archive. In January 2007, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, FAN will have its first professional archivist and it is hoped that this project can now be expanded and consolidated.
What is presented here is a listing of WLM groups, organisations, journals and campaigns. This guide provides a brief outline of major issues of debate and interest during the period and will hopefully stimulate memories of WLM activities by mentioning other significant events that pertained to women in those years. In this vein, the researchers request that anyone who notes a missing entry that is appropriate to this chronology let us know, so that we may add it.
This chronology cites events as they were referred to within WLM publications, recognising that ‘national’ is used in different ways to mean Great Britain, the United Kingdom or to refer individually to Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland. As the Oral History Project and the Feminist Archive are both based in England, the local, regional and ‘national’ materials we have had access to have been predominately English-based. Listings of Scottish and Welsh national organisations, conferences, publications and events are included where this information was available. However, at this stage we have relatively little in the way of local material from Northern Ireland and, therefore, there are no separate listings for Northern Irish WLM activities.
It is the intention of this project to include all national events, however they are defined, in all areas of the United Kingdom.
If any woman has material from any of the organisations, conferences, journals or events listed or from relevant WLM activities not listed which they would like to donate or lend to the Feminist Archive North we would urge you to contact us so that we may expand and preserve the herstory of the WLM for future generations of women.