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The Women's Liberation Movement in the Post-World War Ii Period [...

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The Women's Liberation Movement in the Post-World War Ii Period [Australia]

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  • August 26, 2012
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“Women’s liberation” or the “women’s movement” was a second wave of feminist activism. The first wave took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and concentrated on getting women the vote and into universities. Second-wave feminists campaigned for equal pay, equal opportunities, anti-discrimination legislation, child and maternal welfare, divorce laws and childcare. They also demanded freedom of choice for women, not only for education and employment, but for marriage, contraception and abortion.

Feminists wanted to remodel society and give women fair and equal access to careers as well as family life. The strategies adopted were varied as the goals of the women’s movement. Women wrote books, marches in the streets, ran campaigns, organised conferences and lobbied politicians. Some women set up women’s crisis and health centres. Others formed organisations such as the Women’s Electoral Lobby. WEL was formed in Melbourne in 1972. The organisation operated on the principal that women could only achieve social change by directly influencing the political process. This meant: •Encouraging women to use their vote on issues important to them rather than supporting one party or another •Lobbying political parties, politicians and governments for support through submissions, the media and public debate

These principles were applied during the 1972 federal election when WEL surveyed high-profile politicians for their views on a range of feminist concerns. Immediate gains for women flowed from the Labor Party’s victory in the 1972 election. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, WEL played an influential role in: •Lobbying governments to fund women’s services in areas of health and childcare •Arguing for an adult minimum wage before the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1973 •Agitating for anti-discrimination legislation

Gains for women during this period included:
A supporting mother’s benefit which enables single mothers to keep their...