New Directions: Policy Conflicts and Fresh Campaigns, 1976–8
Two factors helped decide what direction the movement would take in Britain. The Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Acts had shifted the focus of the economic campaigns away from legislation towards enforcement, and a sharply worsening economy and the erosion of the welfare state undermined the remaining social demands. The dissatisfaction with the new equal rights legislation which had been vigorously expressed from the start would continue to grow through the 1970s. In the first six months of 1976 only 31 out of 110 equal pay cases taken to the tribunals succeeded, and only 5 out of 20 sex discrimination cases. The EOC in particular was consistently attacked for timidity, male bias, elitism and its too-close ties with government and industry. Although given wide powers to investigate discrimination and promote equality, it did not take up the issues aggressively. It funded mainly narrow, policy-oriented research, and was unwilling even to touch hot issues like child care.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Spare Rib, no. 70, May 1978, p. 17.Google Scholar
- 2.The WIRES Newsletter is not available to men. The debate was subsequently published in a pamphlet, Love Your Enemy? (London: Onlywoman Press, 1981).Google Scholar
- 4.See Carol Lipman, ‘Red Baiting in the Women’s Movement’, in Robert R. Evans (ed.), Social Movements (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1973); Robin Morgan, ‘Goodbye to All That’, in Robin Morgan (ed.), Sisterhood is Powerful (New York: Vintage, 1970).Google Scholar
- 5.David Bouchier, ‘The Deradicalisation of Feminism: Ideology and Utopia in Action’, Sociology, vol. 13, no. 3, September 1979.Google Scholar
- 6.Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine and Anita Rapone (eds), Radical Feminism (New York: Quadrangle, 1973).Google Scholar
- 7.Betty Friedan, It Changed My Life (New York: Random House, 1976) pp. 383–4.Google Scholar
- 8.Erin Pizzey, letter to The Guardian, 4 February 1982. See also Erin Pizzey and Jeff Shapiro, Prone to Violence (London: Hamlyn, 1982).Google Scholar
- 10.David Bouchier, Idealism and Revolution (London: Edward Arnold, 1978).Google Scholar
- 11.Spare Rib, no. 73, August 1978, p. 4.Google Scholar