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1960s - 1970s Feminism: Second Wave Feminism

The 1960s and 1970s saw a resurgence of feminist activity, including the women's liberation movement and the more mainstream feminist groups. This period has been called the Second Wave of feminism, with the first wave usually thought of as being from 1848-1920, when women won the vote.
  1. Types of Feminism
  2. Affirmative Action
  3. Birth Control
  4. Equal Rights Amendment
  5. Feminism and Art
  6. Feminism and Pop Culture
  7. Feminist Poetry and Poets
  8. Feminist Texts
  9. National Organization for Women (NOW)
  10. Key Feminists of the 1960s and 1970s (38)
  11. Second Wave Feminism Year by Year (17)

Important Feminist Beliefs of the 1960s and 1970s
During the 1960s and 1970s, feminists catapulted the idea of women s liberation into the media and the public consciousness. As with any groundswell, the message of second-wave feminism spread widely and was sometimes diluted or distorted. Feminist beliefs also differed from city to city, group to group and even woman to woman. There were,...

Goals of the Feminist Movement
What were the goals of the feminist movement? Read about feminism and important feminist movement goals of the 1960s and 1970s.

Significant Feminist Protests
The Women s Liberation Movement brought together thousands of activists who worked for women s rights. These are a few significant feminist protests that took place in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s.

1960s Feminism Timeline
This 1960s feminism timeline explores feminist history. Learn about key women's rights events with this 1960s feminism timeline.

1970s Feminism Timeline
This 1970s feminism timeline describes important women's rights events. Read about feminist history in this 1970s feminism timeline.

What 1960s Feminists Did During the Women’s Movement
Many people know that during the 1960s, there was a resurgence of feminism across the United States. In local communities, in the media and in women s personal situations, 1960s feminists inspired political action and changed many women s lives. Perhaps you know that 1960s feminism was important, but you are wondering what 1960s feminists...

What 1970s Feminists Did During the Women’s Movement
By 1970, second-wave feminists had inspired women and men across the United States. Whether in politics, in the media, in academia or in private households, women s liberation was a hot topic of the day. But what actually happened during the era of 1970s feminism? What did 1970s feminists do? Here are some feminist activities of the 1970s.

List of 1960s/1970s Women's Liberation Groups
Women s liberation groups of the 1960s and 1970s fought for equal rights and raised consciousness. They lobbied, protested, developed feminist theory and changed women s lives. Many U.S. women s liberation groups formed spontaneously and were short-lived, gaining national attention through a few bold protests.

Abolition of Ladies Auxiliaries
Did feminists want to abolish the ladies auxiliaries? Read about a NOW task force's goal to abolish the ladies auxiliaries and other organizations that separated women from mainstream politics.

Abortion Speak-out
The 1969 abortion speak-out let women's voices be heard. Learn about why radical feminists staged the abortion speak-out.

Backlash and Feminism
Is there a backlash against feminism? Who declares that there is a backlash against feminism and what do they mean by this phrase?

Betty Friedan in 'The Second Feminist Wave'
What were the thoughts of Betty Friedan in 'The Second Feminist Wave' in 1968? Read about the important article by Martha Weinman Lear and how 1960s feminism was analyzed by Betty Friedan in 'The Second Feminist Wave.'

A Brief History of CEDAW
History of CEDAW, the 1979 United Nations agreement on women's rights.

Campaign to Get Women to Run for Office
One feminist goal during the 1960s was to get women to run for office. Read about the NOW task force that called for a campaign to get women to run for office and claim their political rights.

Chicago Women's Liberation Union
The Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU) organized feminists for revolutionary change. Read about CWLU goals from the heyday of the women's liberation movement in Chicago.

What is a "click!" moment? Definition of "click!" and what it meant to Women's Liberation.

Collective Mothering
Collective mothering is an alternative method of raising children. Learn why some feminists wanted multiple adults to take on the responsibility of collective mothering.

Compulsory Heterosexuality
The phrase "compulsory heterosexuality" calls attention to society's assumptions about relationships. Read about Adrienne Rich's explanation of compulsory heterosexuality.

What is consciousness-raising? Learn what the term consciousness-raising meant in the feminist movement.

The Dagenham Womens Strike of 1968
The Dagenham women's strike of 1968 drew attention to the issue of equal pay in the U.K. Learn what prompted the Dagenham women's strike and read about their struggle for equality at the Ford Motor plant.

Displaced Homemaker
What are displaced homemakers? Why are they displaced? Tish Sommers began using the term while working for NOW's Task Force on Older Women.

The ERA Deadline
The Equal Rights Amendment(ERA)deadline led to political debate, protests and a fight for ratification. Would enough states ratify in time, or would the ERA deadline be extended beyond the 1970s?

Equal Rights and Responsibilities as American Citizens
How and when would women gain equal rights and responsibilities in American politics? The NOW legal and political rights task force envisioned women's full participation as citizens with equal rights and responsibilities.

Female Liberation
Female Liberation was a Boston feminist group during the women's liberation movement. Learn about the women's equality issues addressed by Female Liberation.

Feminism and the Nuclear Family
Studying the concept of the nuclear family is important to feminist theory. The emphasis on the nuclear family in society has affected women and gender roles.

Feminist Literary Criticism
What is feminist literary criticism and how does it fit into feminist theory?

Feminist Consciousness-Raising Groups
An explanation of feminist consciousness-raising groups: what was the purpose of a consciousness-raising group, and what did its members do? Learn about the origin and results of feminist consciousness-raising.

The Feminist Press
Florence Howe started The Feminist Press; learn about its history and publishing mission.

Freedom Trash Can
What was the freedom trash can? Find out what went in the freedom trash can at the 1968 Miss America Protest.

The meaning of gynocriticism, in the context of women's writing, and where the term originated.

International Women's Year
The U.N. designated 1975 International Women's Year. The U.N. raised global awareness of women's rights with International Women's Year.

The abortion referral service "Jane" helped thousands of women seeking abortions in the years before Roe v. Wade. Read more about Jane's place in the history of the women's liberation movement.

Ladies' Home Journal Sit-In
A 1970 sit-in at the Ladies' Home Journal offices presented key demands related to issues feminists had with women's magazines.

Lavender Menace
What did "lavender menace" refer to, who is supposed to have coined the term, and what were the purposes of the organization that named itself Lavender Menace?

Miss America Protest
Feminists staged the Miss America Protest at the 1968 Miss America Pageant. Learn how the "freedom trash can" and even a live sheep were part of the Miss America Protest.

Ms. Magazine
A profile of the feminist Ms. magazine, founded in 1972. Editors have included Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan.

Myths of Women's History: Bra Burning Feminists of the Sixties
Feminists in the 1960s burned their bras - we all know that - even if it Just Ain't So.

National Organization for Women
A profile of the National Organization for Women, founded in 1966 to work for women's equality.

New York Radical Women
New York Radical Women staged significant protests and developed theories of radical feminism.

The Personal Is Political
Meaning of the phrase The Personal Is Political: Which early feminists said that "the personal is political" and what did they mean by this phrase? Read about the early use of the phrase and the ideas behind the feminist concept that the personal is political.

Poll: Greatest Advance in Women's Rights?
Answer the poll, and see what others think: what has been the greatest advance in women's rights, especially in the 20th century?

President's Commission on the Status of Women
A history of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, 1961-1963, and its lasting effects.

The Pro-Woman Line
The meaning of the Pro-Woman Line, a standard feminist argument about responsibility for male supremacy.

Quotes Explained From ‘Female Liberation as the Basis for Social Revolution’
The struggle for human liberation is examined in these six quotes from Roxanne Dunbar's "Female Liberation as the Basis for Social Revolution."

Ratification Definition
A definition of ratification from the perspective of women's history.

Learn about the origin and activities of the radical feminist group Redstockings.

The Runaways and Feminism
The Runaways were teenage girls when they formed their all-female band. Read about The Runaways, who blazed a trail for women in rock music.

'The Second Feminist Wave'
An early analysis of the second feminist wave: Martha Weinman Lear's article 'The Second Feminist Wave' appeared in 1968, reporting on the 1960s women's movement.

The Secretary Coffee Protest of 1977
A secretary coffee protest in Chicago called attention to subtle workplace discrimination. Learn how the 1977 secretary coffee protest supported Iris Rivera when she refused to make the coffee.

Specific Bills for Specific Ills
What does "specific bills for specific ills" mean? Do specific bills for specific ills solve discrimination problems better than an Equal Rights Amendment?

The Survey That Launched "The Feminine Mystique"
Learn about Betty Friedan’s pre-Feminine Mystique survey of Smith classmates.

Ti-Grace Atkinson in ‘The Second Feminist Wave’
Thoughts from feminist Ti-Grace Atkinson in 'The Second Feminist Wave,' Martha Weinman Lear's 1968 article. Read about radical feminism from the perspective of Ti-Grace Atkinson in 'The Second Feminist Wave.'

Voter Awareness of Women’s Equality
Awareness of women's equality, or women's unfinished equality, was essential to feminism. Learn how the NOW Task Force on Legal and Political Rights explained its goal to increase awareness of women's equality issues.

What Is the Feminine Mystique?
What is the definition of the feminine mystique? Read about what Betty Friedan described in her 1963 bestseller: the definition of the feminine mystique that crafted a limited feminine "role" for women in society.

What’s Wrong With Beauty Pageants?
What's wrong with beauty pageants? Why did feminists of the 1960s protest Miss America? A list of 10 women's liberation objections to the Miss America pageant.

Women's Liberation
Read about the meaning of women's liberation and the struggle for justice, equality and freedom from discrimination.

What is a womanist? Definition of the term womanist and how it relates to feminism.

Women's Liberation Movement
What was the women's liberation movement? Find out who was involved, and how they worked for women's equality and freedom from oppression.

Women's Strike for Equality
Learn about the organization and impact of the 1970 Women's Strike for Equality.

Feminism in 1962
What were the important events of feminism in 1962? A look at some historical events related to U.S. feminism in 1962.

After the Death of God the Father
Mary Daly in her critique of Christianity and patriarchy, published in Commonweal in 1971.

The BITCH Manifesto
A 1968 paper by Jo Freeman, signed as Joreen, defining "bitch" as the term is used to discredit women and redefining the term as positive.

Feminism in 1966
A look at feminism in 1966. What were some important women's history events related to feminism in 1966?

Feminism in 1967
A look at the history of feminism in 1967. What were some of the important events of feminism in 1967?

Feminism in 1968
A look at the history of feminism in 1968. What were some of the important events of feminism in 1968?

CWLU Rock Band
From 1970-1973, this feminist rock band rocked audiences as it slammed male "pig bands" with music and comedy.

Does it matter how the Equal Rights Amendment is worded?
A 1996 commentary on the history of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the wording used in it, from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Feminism in 1972
A look at the history of feminism in 1972. What were some of the important events of feminism in 1972?

Fight on Sisters: and Other Songs for Liberation
By Carol Hanisch: 29-page book, with score and lyrics, from 1978. Insight into the culture of the women's liberation movement.

From Suffrage to Women's Liberation
"Feminism in 20th Century America." Article written by feminist historian Jo Freeman, published in 1995. Freeman traces the 60s "second wave" to its roots in the early 20th century suffrage movement, with a section on the history of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment).

Legal issues of married women who keep their own names
Alice Marie Beard in a 1974 article on the legality of women keeping their name after marriage.

Liberation School
Teaching everything from auto repair to childbirth preparation to feminist theory, this 1970s institution is a feminist classic.

Nancy Chodorow
Biographical sketch and summary of the work of psychoanalytic feminist and sociologist Nancy Chodorow, a participant and documenter of 1960s and 1970s feminism and early participant in developing women's studies methodology.. Includes bibliography.

Notes from the First Year
Key writings from 1968, representing the beginnings of the radical women's liberation movement.

Psychology Constructs the Female
Classic 1968 document, by Naomi Weisstein, on sexist theory of sex-roles. Helped shape modern feminist theory.

Revolution for Women in Law and Public Policy
Jo Freeman's analysis and history of the revolution in public policy towards women, including the equal pay act in 1962 and anti-discrimination legislation in 1964. The article gives the background in common law and earlier government policy, too.

Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement
From the British Library, interviews with those who were active in and affected by the 1960s/1970s women's liberation movement in the UK.

Trashing: The Dark Side of Sisterhood
Originally published in 1976 in Ms. magazine, Jo Freeman (writing as Joreen) in this article criticizes what she sees as a weakness within the feminist Movement.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness
Jo Freeman, writing originally as Joreen, on the down side of leaderless organizations, common in the 1960s feminist movement.

Whatever Happened to Women's Rights?
A 1964 Atlantic Monthly article (by a male author) about changes in women's lives and status, 1920-1964.

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