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The legacy of the 70s Women's Liberation Movement

Posted on 15 April 2002

Conference invites teenagers to participate in feminist discussions

Bra-burning and dungarees have become cliches of the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970s. The impact and legacy of the activism of that time will be examined in The Feminist Seventies, a one-day conference at the University of York on 27 April.

In an unusual departure, special workshops on ‘Post-Girl Power' will be run for 16 to 18 year olds, who will also be invited to hear the main speakers at plenary sessions.

The Feminist Seventies Conference will examine the relationship between the Women's Liberation Movement and feminism, and examine how the decade shaped how feminism is perceived today. Using the ‘seven demands' made by the Women's Liberation Movement as inspiration, participants will be asked what they would demand today.

Post-Girl Power: Young Women and Feminism, specially for 16 to 18 year olds from York and the surrounding area, is sponsored by York Connexions and has been advertised in schools and colleges, and at the Youth Inquiry Service, cafes, the City Library, museums and City Screen. Their workshops will include:

  • What is feminism?
  • Talking chocolate: oral histories of women working at Rowntrees
  • From menstrual angst to PMS

"This conference is a great opportunity to revisit the feminist seventies and assess its legacy," said Helen Graham, one of the conference organisers.

"As someone born in 1977 and who became active as a feminist in the late 90s, the iconography, debates and activist tactics of the seventies Women's Liberation Movement had a massive impact on what being a feminist meant to me. This is why I am so excited about the post-girl power sessions. I think that understanding the past is the key to moving feminism into the 21st century."

The younger participants will be invited to present their ideas alongside those of other delegates, in a book and on the internet, via print and web publications by Raw Nerve Books, a small press based at the Centre for Women's Studies at the University of York (

Notes to editors:

  • The conference will be held in the Exhibition Centre, University of York on Saturday 27 April. Members of the media are welcome to attend. Please contact Helen Graham (details below) in advance.
  • York Connexions offers a range of guidance and support for 13 to 19 year olds to help make the transition to adult life a smooth one (
  • Conference papers will be given by academics, students and activists. They include:
    • Mary Eagleton on ‘Re-reading the Seventies: re-reading women's silence'
    • Myrtle Hill on ‘Challenging the state we're in: the feminist seventies in ‘troubled' Northern Ireland'
    • Gail Chester on ‘Active then, active now: or, I still call myself a radical feminist'
    • Zoe Fairbairns on ‘Saying what we want: women's liberation and the seven demands'
    • Margaret Beetham on ‘Feminism across generations'
    • Judy Giles on ‘Revisiting the feminine mystique: Betty Friedan and the suburban housewife
    • Stevi Jackson and Sue Scott on ‘What ever happened to feminist critiques of monogamy?'
    • Mary Joannou on ‘Revisiting the best-selling confessional novels of the 1970s'
    • Margaretta Jolly on ‘Writing the web: letters from the women's peace movement'

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153