The Women’s Liberation Movement originated in the United States of America during the mid 1960s. Women’s liberation was social and political movement which aspired to liberate women from the social and political restrictions that came with the perception of traditional womanhood during the mid 1900s.
The first wave of feminism was defined by suffragettes who demanded the right to vote and was finally granted this privilege in 1902. The Women’s Liberation Movement from the 1970s was recognised as the second wave of feminism. The feminists of the movement declared their desire to revolutionise the way women were perceived and treated by society. The movement aspired to empower women by encouraging them to pursue higher education, careers and to oppose sexist role stereotypes of the time.
The first sign of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia was evident in 1969 when it was reported in an Australian journal. In January 1970, a group of women organised a public conference in Sydney to discuss the direction of the Women’s Liberation Movement. In May 1970, a national conference was organised to be held in Australia to discuss the issues that affected women in Australia.
The issues include:
• Equal Pay
• Sexist & Discriminative language in texts and advertising
• Health Issues
• Higher Education Opportunities
• Domestic Violence & Sexual Harassment
During the early 1970s, Australian women endured limitations in employment opportunities. Women had to deal with discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace and the Australian society. The media also discriminated women by encouraging traditional roles in advertising and television, ultimately resulting in discrimination against women when it came to pay and promotions in the workplace.
Women’s liberationists believed they would have to shape their own future and realised that direct action through campaigns such as lobbying, protests and media attention was the only technique that would gain equality for women.