The feminist movement of the 1970’s was often referred to as the “second wave movement.” The first wave movement was from 1867-1960, and it was mainly focused on women’s suffrage. This time period sparked the formation of a number of feminist rights groups such as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Voice of Women and the National Council of Women of Canada. The ultimate goal of this movement was about achieving political and legal equality. This meant to reform societies where power was always in the hands of upper and middle class white males. Thérèse Casgrain was a key player in the first wave feminist movement, as she campaigned for women’s suffrage, and she was the leader of the “League for Women’s Rights.” Because of her success, she inspired many women to stand up for their rights during the second wave feminist movement. The third wave is from 1985-present day, and this wave focuses on events that you hear about on the news, for example employment equality and ending the violence against women.
The second wave feminist movement campaigned for equality in education and employment, and an end to violence against women, among other things. The feminist movement consisted of women from different races, sexualities, occupations and religions. The second wave movement basically started when the Voice of Women (VOW) was formed. The feminist activists wanted to change the academic and athletic curriculum that was forced onto young girls/women. Many groups campaigned for educational reforms in both grade school and postgraduate.
The public’s mindset was that women were to be taught skills to do housework and to take care of their families. At the time, there were far more men than women attending post-graduate schools. The reason for this may have had to do with the general expectation that women were not meant to go to university. Some universities had a limit on the number of women that were able to attend or had a higher academic standard for women to get accepted into their programs than men. “Educational equality lay close to the heart of a better deal of women,” was the belief of many feminists. The feminists wanted to change the “triple day” of work that most women face, the triple day being a full day of waged, domestic and caring labour. The feminist wanted to change the sexist and gendered pay gap, lack of support for pregnancy and health care.
They also wanted to change the harassment that a lot of women faced in the work space. And it worked. By the 80’s feminists made up of 32.
3% of all Canadian unionists.Before the feminist movement, women’s lives were planned out for them: marry young, start a family, take care of their family. In fact, women would spend an average of 55 hours a week doing housework. They had no legal rights to their husbands property or earnings, which meant that their husband’s controlled all of the properties and earnings. They had to have a “proper” reason to file for divorce from their husbands, if they so chose to.
In the 1960s, only 38% of women worked, and even then their jobs were limited to teachers, nurses or secretaries. They were generally thought of as unwelcome in professional programs. In the 60s, out of the 38% that worked, only 6% were doctors, 3% lawyers, and less than 1% were engineers. If they did work, they were given lower salaries and fewer opportunities for advancements in their work space. Employers always had the sexist mindset, that their female employees would get pregnant and quit their job. Elderly women and single mothers were more likely to be poor than a man in the same situation.The feminist movement consisted mainly of protests, strikes for equality, and the making of many liberal feminist arts.
For example, during the feminist movement, at least fifty feminist newspapers, magazines and books were published/made. Some of the more popular pieces from the time, all of which challenged the idea of misogyny, include Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Maria Campbell’s “Halfbreed” and Marie-Claire Blais “A season in the Life of Emmanuel”. There were also a lot of strikes, for example in 1978, nurses from Alberta, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan all went on strike to protest equal pay. An example of a protest that took place in the United States was “bra burning” to protest against Miss America in 1978. Nearly four hundred women took place in this protest.
Women would participate in protest of ludicrous standards of beauty. While the bra burning did not take place in Canada, it is an example of what some of the protests looked like, and the large amounts of people that joined it.Feminist: A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and humanity of men and women. In order to understand the feminist movements (specifically second wave), we need to understand what it means to be a feminist. Often people have different opinions and views on the matter which may lead to controversy. Lauren Southern, a Canadian political activist, posted a photo a few years ago, claiming “I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlement and superiority.
” Then, in a video posted April 8, 2015, she explains her reasoning for the photo. “Feminists continue to place this blanket judgment over all men, that they are all privileged, and that all women are all oppressed.” She then talks about the injustice in court, how a woman will almost always get custody of a child, etc.. People in the comment section of YouTube agree with her statements. “Preach it, Sister!” one user writes.
“AMEN Lauren.” These statements are fair however, they are also a good representation of an incorrect understanding of feminism. Some women claim to be “feminists” however they do not believe in equal rights, and they just want to overthrow the patriarchy. Women like that have put a bad reputation on real feminists. Being a feminist is not about finding faults in the actions of men, but rather wanting and fighting for the same opportunities that they have. Equal rights do not mean that everything is just handed to you and you no longer have to work hard. In order to be deserving of equal rights, you need to be willing to put effort into achieving your goals. Voice of Women (VOW): This non-government organization was established in 1960, and includes members in every province in Canada.
VOW advocates for a world without war. The second wave feminist movement started with their formation. VOW has run many campaigns to educate citizens about the problems that women face/faced. They have also lobbied all levels of government, held numerous meetings and conferences, and have sent representatives from their organization to meet with other countries, and discuss the concerns women face in both places and how they are planning to take action.Accomplishments In the Time of The Vietnamese War:In 1962, VOW collected baby teeth. They found high levels of Strontium 90 in them, which can be found in the environment after nuclear testing. They did this to support the ban of nuclear testing, and were partially successful. In 1963 there was a partial ban put on nuclear testing.
Protests on the ban of nuclear testing sparked controversy about the environment which later lead to a cause for many feminists defending women and children.Doris Anderson: Doris Anderson was a Canadian author and women’s rights activist. She was also the president of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Anderson and the Advisory Council had planned for a meeting to discuss the issue of women being treated unfairly in the legislation. Due to government intervention and attempts to prevent the conference from being held, Anderson resigned from the Council in 1981. Her resignation prompted 1300 women to join the cause that later resulted in the legislation being amended.Women’s Legal Education and Act Fund (LEAF): This Canadian establishment was founded in 1985, the last year of the second wave feminist movement.
The purpose of LEAF was to ensure that Canadian courts protect the equality of women. Before the LEAF was created, its founders had noticed certain issues in the way women were being treated in court. In the Supreme Court, women were guaranteed “equality before the law” but not always “equality under the law”. This was an issue because it allowed women to be treated differently to men. Many cases in the 1970s showed the distinction of the two being ignored. Later on in 1981, a group of lawyers got together and formed an Ad Hoc Committee on the Constitution with the objective of creating Section 15 of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This section focused on making sure that: “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination” and that discrimination could not occur “based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” On April 17, 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted. Along with it, Section 15 was to be included in it after three years in order to allow the government to review it and make any changes before they were to put it into action. In 1985, it was officially part of the Charter, and LEAF was founded. Throughout their history, they have worked to promote and educate people surrounding the issues of equality for women and girls. They have also intervened in court cases where the interpretation of the law resulted in a questionable understanding of women’s rights. Grace Hartman: Grace Hartman was a Torontonian who was the first female unionist to hold top position in a Canadian union.
She also strongly campaigned for female pay equality. She was the second national president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.Laura Sabia: Born in Montreal, Quebec, Laura played an important part in the feminist movement as National Chair of the Committee for the Equality of Women, in the creation of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.
In 1967, Laura lead over 30 female activist groups to form a coalition, as she was the president of the Canadian Federation of University Women, and they won a federal commission on the status of women.The Royal Commission on the Status of Women: Was established in 1967 by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson after a great deal of campaigning by various female activist groups. Its purpose was to reduce inequality between men and women in society and give women the same rights as men. On December 7th, 1967 a report on this commission was written with 167 suggestions to the federal government about issues regarding gender equality. This report included recommendations on pay equality, birth control and abortion rights, education, family law reform etc.
The federal government then responded to these suggestions with the 1974 Status of Women Amendment Act.Some examples of issues addressed in the Commission: Women were not allowed to join the RCMP.In BC, PEI, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, men and women had different scales of minimum wage. In BC, it was only in 1972 that the separate scale for women was abolished.
At the time, the law stated that women would have to get a new passport after they were married, as their husbands name was required to appear on it. However, this was not required of men.Before applying for unemployment insurance, pregnant women would have to work more than a regular applicant.
1960- Voice of Women was founded. They campaigned for nuclear disarmament and peace.1964- Front de libération des femmes du Québec made a slogan “Sisterhood is powerful.
” Young women rejected imperialism and patriarchy. 1967- The Royal Commission on the Status of Women was established. It highlighted problems females face in society.1971- The National Action Committee on the Status of Women was founded. The objective of this group was to pressure the Canadian government into implementing the suggestions of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.
1972- Resources for Feminist Research was founded. The objectives of this company was to publish research findings addressing a broad range of issues about feminist theory and activism, amongst other things.1975- Grace Hartman, the first female president of the “Canadian Union of Public Employees” campaigned for pay equality. 1975- The United Nations announced that 1975 was National Women’s Year. 1978- Nurses in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan went on strike.1981- Grace Hartman was jailed for illegally counseling a strike. She protested that hospital workers, who were legally not allowed to go on strike, must have full collective bargaining rights. 1985- Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) was created, which brought us to the end of the second wave feminist movement.
LEAF was founded to ensure Canadian courts protect the equality of women, established in sections 15 & 18 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom. The section contains guaranteed equal rights for women.Making ConnectionsThe feminist movement of the 1970’s is similar to other topics relating to Canadian history because it is the second of three waves of feminism.
In the first wave feminist movement (1867-1960), feminists protested temperance, women’s suffrage, pacifism, as well as labour and health rights. The feminist movement that we are focusing on, the second wave (1960-1985), campaigned for equality in education and employment, peace and disarmament, and an end to violence against women. Lastly, the third wave (1986-present day) protested from employment equity and daycare, to anti-racism and ending poverty.
Contemporary Comparison Our topic is related to issues that we see around the world because even though most countries have made enormous progress with giving women the same rights, there is still some stubborn sexism that lingers to this today. For example, in Canada, women earn eighty-seven cents to a man’s dollar. In the United States, high power men, such as Donald Trump, are notorious for saying sexist things regarding women. For example on March 16th, 2016, Trump tweeted, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?” Sadly, that is not the worst of it.
In countries such as Pakistan, young girls and women are subject to a life of obedience to their husbands, and are denied the right to any education or employment. There has been some change, however with passionate young activists such as Malala Yousafzai campaigning for women equal rights, but these issues, in Canada, America, Pakistan and everywhere, are unfortunately getting resolved at a less-than-satisfactory pace. Personal Reflection Researching this made us aware and gave us a better understanding of the world before the feminist movement as well as after. We learned about the struggles, hardship and discrimination many women had to face in order for women to have the opportunities and rights in the present.
Although there is far more equality between genders currently, there are still areas in which Canada can improve on. We have had three waves of feminism, with a total of one hundred fifty-six years between the three, and yet there are still barriers in Canada that only men can surpass, such as the pay gap, and employment opportunities. Women all over the world still campaign for equal rights and continue to build on the foundation that was set by the first and second wave feminist movements.Extension The change that occurred as a result of the feminist movement of the 1970s is that women gained the right to the same education as a man, the violence against women in the workspace has decreased, and the pay gap ebbed.
In this case, change does mean progress. Without the feminist movement of the 1970s, women would still face the “triple” day of waged, domestic and caring labour. Women would also do an average of fifty-five hours of housework. These days, women can choose if they want to marry or start a family. Women have the option of being a nurse, respectively, but they also have the option of being a doctor.Impacts from Different AnglesThe feminist movement was formed by the acts and protests of different female activists and groups. They include VOW, LEAF, Laura Sabia etc.
They all helped women gain their rights in court, in education and in the workplace today. Voice of Women (VOW) signified the start of second-wave feminism. VOW began in 1960 when a new issue had risen. Women were concerned with the threats the nuclear war created and how it, specifically nuclear testing, could affect the lives of their children. Lotta Dempsey, a journalist from the Toronto Star, reached out to women and called for a movement for peace.
This sparked the formation of the Voice of Women. Their many accomplishments include: lobbying all levels of government, holding numerous meetings and conferences, and having sent representatives from their organization to meet with other countries, and discuss the concerns women face in both places and how they are planning to take action.Women’s Legal Education and Act Fund (LEAF) was established to ensure equality for women in court. After noticing certain flaws in the law regarding women in the Supreme Court, many female activists got together to evoke change, such as Doris Anderson who was the president of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Anderson and the Advisory Council had planned for a meeting to discuss this particular issue, but the conference never happened. Due to government intervention and attempts to prevent the conference from being held, Anderson resigned from the Council. Her resignation prompted 1300 women to join the cause that later resulted in the legislation being amended.
Relating CircumstancesThe second wave of feminism took place from 1960-1985. During this time, social media as we know it today did not exist. Currently, along with entertainment, we use websites such as “Twitter” or “Instagram” to keep us up to date on social matters in the world. Websites like these allow us to be informed and aware of what is happening in the world around us, and gives us the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions about the different matters. We can support different causes, regardless of where we are in the world, by tweeting, posting and using trending hashtags.
In the 60s, the alternative to this was holding rallies and protests in support of a certain cause. In this case being equality for women. However, not all supporters of a cause can attend the rallies and protests for different reasons. Such as location, schedule, work etc. But social media allows would allow them to be a part of the rally, without physically being there.ExtensionThe beliefs surrounding our topic is that a man and a woman deserve to have equal rights in all senses, be it education or the ability to vote.
A quote from Gloria Steinem to prove this is “I don’t want to prove the superiority of one sex to another; that would only be repeating a male mistake.” These are the beliefs that caused the first wave movement, which lead to the second and third wave movements.