The Women’s Liberation Movement

The Women’s Liberation Movement “rejected establishment values and refused rigid sex roles”. It “recognised importance of the personal life” which influenced the slogan of the Women’s Liberation Movement, “the personal is the political”. Meaning women’s personal issues are coming out the the public, it was time to be loud and be heard. The movement came about at a time of rapid social and political change, it fought for four initial demands depicted  in conferences by the active women of the movement;

  • Equal pay
  • Equal education and job opportunities
  • Free contraception and abortion on demand
  • Free 24 hour nurseries

The Women’s Liberation Movement protested for equal pay against Ford, whose female mechanists were being paid less than men, for their work was considered unskilled. The most notable protest led by the movement was in 1970 at the Miss World beauty pageant in London. Televised live on television, active feminists of the movement disrupted the competition by attending the event as audience members. Their aim was to highlight their outrage on the objectification of women in the competition as it focused solely on female physicality. In the crowd, the protestors threw flour bombs, causing police to step in and escort the protestors out of the Royal Albert Hall with arrests taking place. One of the protestors at the time, Sally Alexander, looks back on the event in an interview with the BBC. She described the motivation’s of the movement’s protest as “why do you have to be beautiful and look like this, before you get noticed as a woman?”. She goes on to share her experience of what went on during that protest, and says the signal to throw the flour bombs was a football rattle. But apparently, this came early as one of the women was so sick of Bob Hope’s “jokes and demeanour”. She made it to the stage and climbed up, being escorted off by 4 policemen. Alexander comments, “as we were being dragged out, some of the Miss World contestants….were saying “let them go!” to the policemen and security.”

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