Grassroots Feminist Organizations: Part 2: San Francisco Women’s Center

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This series contains a collection of essential materials for the study of the development of Second Wave Feminism - the women’s movement concerned with the issues of equality, the sexist power structure, and the end to discrimination and oppression.

Second wave feminism, a phrase coined by Marsha Lear, rose out of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements in which women, disillusioned with their second-class status even in the activist environment of student politics, began to band together to contend against discrimination. The tactics employed by Second Wave Feminists varied from highly-publicized activism, such as the protest against the Miss America beauty contest in 1968, to the establishment of grassroots consciousness-raising groups. However, it was obvious early on that the movement was not a unified one, with differences emerging between black feminism, lesbian feminism, liberal feminism, and social feminism.

The slogan "the personal is political" sums up the way in which Second Wave Feminism did not just strive to extend the range of social opportunities open to women, but also, through intervention within the spheres of reproduction, sexuality and cultural representation, to change their domestic and private lives. Second Wave Feminism did not just make an impact upon America, but has also continued to inspire the struggle for women’s rights worldwide.

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