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“The Women’s Movement”. Jo Freeman. History of Women’s Movement. 1970: Most scholars dismissed the Complaints Women Ferris (1971), for example, suggested there was no identifiable socio-economic reasons why women would be discontent in the 1970s. Scholars were asking the wrong questions.

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history of women s movement
History of Women’s Movement

1970: Most scholars dismissed the Complaints Women

Ferris (1971), for example, suggested there was no identifiable socio-economic reasons why women would be discontent in the 1970s.

Scholars were asking the wrong questions.

history of women s movement1
History of Women’s Movement

Structural Preconditions for the Development of SM

Study of Women’s movement must be concerned with structural preconditions for the development of SM.

Key Questions:

Where did the people who made up the original organizing cadre come from?

How did they come together?

How did they come to share a similar view of the world?

development of the women s movement
Development of the Women’s Movement

Three Propositions:

Proposition 1: Need an Pre-existing Communication Networks

Proposition 2: This network must be Co-optable to the ideas of the emerging SM

Proposition 3: With a Co-optable comm. network, two other conditions must be meet:

a. A crisis galvanizes the network into

action.

b. One or more persons begin organizing a new organization or disseminating a new idea.

origins of women s movement
Origins of Women’s Movement

Origins of Women’s Movement:

Freeman identifies the Origins and Structure of the Women’s Movement in the following two traditions:

1) Reform: Women Rights

2) Radical: Women’s Liberation

Generational and Organization Differences

Each Tradition (or Branch) had its own style of organization.

origins of women s movement1
Origins of Women’s Movement

Older and Younger Branches of Women’s Movement

Older Branch: OB

Core Organization: NOW: National Org of Women

Programs: focus on legal and economic issues

Organization: traditional, formal: elected officers, board of directors, bylaws, etc.

Structure: top-down lacked a mass base.

origins of women s movement2
Origins of Women’s Movement

Older and Younger Branches of Women’s Movement

Younger Branch: YB

Core Organization: no real centralized national

organization.

Programs: more confrontational

Organization: prides itself on the lack of organization, “communication was haphazard”

Structure: saw structure as inherently conservative, and leaders as

Elitist endorsed a “policy of ‘structurelessness.”

origins of women s movement3
Origins of Women’s Movement

Origin of Branches: Older Branch

OB: 1961 President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and resulting 50 state commissions.

State Commissions

State comms. did three things to promote WM:

1) Brought women together

2) Highlighted gender discrimination

3) Promoted a sense that change was possible

origins of women s movement4
Origins of Women’s Movement

Origin of Branches: Older Branch

Other factors that helped organize the OB of WM:

1) 1963 publication of Feminine Mystique

2) Inclusion if “sex” provision to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

origins of women s movement5
Origins of Women’s Movement

Origin of Branches: Older Branch

YB: originated in politics and tactics of the Civil Rights, New Left and Anti-War movements.

Radical Left Community and YB:

Radical community provided communication network, and ideas/analysis for women’s inequality.

origins of women s movement6
Origins of Women’s Movement

Four Elements Helped WLM Form

1) Preexisting Communication Network:

OB: Presidential comms, state comms,

YB: radical community (Black power, Civil Rights, New Left, Anti-War)

2) Co-Optablity

OB: Presidential Comm and State Comms were a co-optable

comm. Network for NOW since it immersed women in the details of women’s inequality…

YB: “The atmosphere of questioning, confrontation” and freedom

that defined the “radical community” exposed the contradictions of male authority.

origins of women s movement7
Origins of Women’s Movement

Four Elements Helped WLM Form

3) Crisis

OB: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) failure to

enforce Title VII, and state comms would not push for it either provoked the creation of NOW.

YB: Explicit hostility of New Left men to women attempts to

organize.

4) Role of the Organizer