Second Wave Sisterhood

The Feminist Library

Sisterhood, socialising, and solidarity during the Women's Liberation Movement.

Second wave feminists supported each other
Solidarity and sisterhood were central to the Women's Liberation Movement, with feminists coming together to support each other. This all day event was held at Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, to celebrate the diversity and unity of women around the world.

Feminists from particular minority groups, or affected by specific issues, also stuck together, forming support groups like the London Lesbian Line – an advice phone line for lesbian women in the capital.

Just as we do now, feminists then looked back at the history of the women that came before them, in order to learn from and celebrate it.

Black feminists organised together around their rights, campaigning against the dual oppression of sexism and racism.

The intersectional nature of the movement was visible in many campaigns, like the one of Black Single Mothers.

The Women's Alcohol Centre offered support for women struggling with alcohol problems – who were often marginalised or misunderstood by mainstream addiction services.

‘The Personal is Political’ was the key Women’s Liberation Movement slogan that was used in consciousness-raising groups, where women discussed their personal experiences of everyday sexism in their lives.

Through this process, women came to realise that such experiences were not their own individual problem, but were part of women’s systematic oppression which had to be dealt with by collective political action.

This message is very much still alive today through campaigns such as the Everyday Sexism project.

They made music, produced culture, and had fun
Like the suffrage movement, the Women's Liberation Movement was highly engaged in popular culture – producing music, publications, and performances to challenge the male-dominated mainstream and get their message across in an engaging way. All-female, feminist choirs emerged…

…and rock bands…

…and even a women's recording studio.

Second wave feminists organised events and festivals celebrating women.

Many of these were inclusive, diverse, and accessible.

They produced their own theatre pieces, to tell women's stories…

…and gave popular culture a feminist twist.

They elevated women's voices by creating their own feminist print media – magazines, books and audio books, pamphlets, posters and leaflets.

The most notable of these was Spare Rib magazine, founded by Marsha Rowe and Rosie Boycott in 1972, and run as a collective from 1983 until 1993.

Feminist Audio Books (FAB) was created to give people with visual impairments access to feminist material.

Feminist youth workers enabled young women to get creative and have fun.

And they worked with women from many parts of the world
The Women's Liberation Movement also had an international focus, engaging in global campaigns and standing in solidarity with women from all over the world.

They also believed in the importance of coming together across borders, to share knowledge, ideas, and campaigns.

The first International Feminist Bookfair was held in London in 1984, and was followed by bookfairs in Oslo (1986), Montréal (1988), Barcelona (1990), Amsterdam (1992), and Melbourne (1994).

They acknowledged the global nature of many issues affecting women worldwide, and joined together to campaign in solidarity.

The Feminist Library today continues in that same spirit of sisterhood and solidarity, campaigning together, while also sharing fun, inspiration and friendship.

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