Monday, Nov. 2, 1970



Vol. LXII, No. 42

Women's Liberation














The resurgence of the women' struggle in the form of Women's
Liberation is a young movement.' A few small groups of radical
women began forming in 1967 and 19G8 to discuss their common
problems made conscious to them. by their experience in the civil
rights movement and in the urban white organizing undertaken by
white radical youth after the collapse of the civil, rights movement.
Marlene Dixon, a nationally prominent woman in Women's Lib,
who spoke at the UK Midwestern Women's Liberation Conference,
elaborates on such experiences:
"Young women and girls risked their lives in the struggle to
create a just and humane society. They were 'beaten Tin demonstrations, they were arrested and they were often sexually.. mistreated.
They served time in jail, staffed the freedom houses, cranked the
mimeograph machines, washed the dishs, lov ed the men, and cared
for the children. Only to discover themselves absent from the steering committees, silent during meetings, jind ridiculed when they'
protested that they worked and risked Uieiriivcs in" organization?
in w hich they had little power to make decisions."
These women found that in a freedom struggle they were not
free. They developed an understanding of male chauvinism, i.e.,
male supremacy.
Through a coalition of these women, Women's Liberation was
born. Women's Liberation supports the fight for equal job and educational opportunity, repeal of abortion laws, and establishment of
day care centers, Hut its main focus is against
male chauvinism and the social and economic exploitation of all
However, the women's movement began as, and remains, a grassroots movement. There are no national officers of Women's Libera













tion and no officers within local groups. There has been a conscious
effort to avoid leader-followautltoritarianism which women found
so oppressive in New Left "participatory democracy" organizations.
Women's Lib has developed a new consciousness among the
radical movement in general, as well as proliferating to high school
women, woiking class women, middle class women, black women
and poor w omen. Each group is autonomous. Even within the same
.city there may be several groups which differ somewhat in philoso-ph-y
and tactics.
In Lexington the Women's Lib group meets every other week for
a plenary. session which is broken down into small groups for general discussion. Tjie Lexington group is further divided into action
groups-abort- ion
counseling, legal rights, radical caucus and study
groups. There is;no one "platform" that women must subscribe to
in order to participate in Women's Lib.
Women's Lib Las spread to every major city in the United States
and almostjyyerfl university.
I "Women s Lib became a social movement as women
began to
realize that they were not alone in their personal problems,
A woman in Atlanta's Women's Lib describes the importance
of the small group as a means of organization:
"Liberation is a constant process and for a woman whose
'liberation involves in great part an end to her loneliness and isolation from other women, it would be both agonizing and impossible
without their support. And to provide this support, women have
organized the "small group" the strength of our movement, through
which women reach out to each other, grope together, grow together. It is our best means of raising consciousness, our most
effective organizing tool, and, at the same time, our most human

A Female Revolution