Women liberated from history tell it like it was

March 7, 2013

An oral history archive that brings to life the voices of 60 women central to the Women’s Liberation Movement will be launched this week to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Sisterhood and After, a project led by the University of Sussex in partnership with the British Library and the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics, records personal accounts and present-day reflections of many of the activists, most of whom are now in their sixties and seventies.

The project’s 420 hours of interviews, which took three years to compile, provide a permanent oral history of the movement as well as highlighting topics that resonate today, said Margaretta Jolly, reader in cultural studies at Sussex, who led the project.

An impetus for producing the archive - which will be based at the British Library - was the realisation that there was no other complete and permanent account of the British movement, she said.

“One of the things we discovered was how diverse and complex this movement was,” she said. “The cliché is of activists all being these housewives, fed up with being unpaid and sexually frustrated…but probably many more were politically active in other campaigns before they came to the movement.”

The depth of the interviews - which cover everything from family backgrounds, social life, fashions and eating habits to specific campaigns and passionate personal accounts - makes the archive a useful resource, she said. Some accounts are so frank that interviewees have asked for them to become available to the public only in 30 years’ time, or, in one case, after a century.

Interviewees include high-profile campaigners Jane Hutt, originally a grass-roots activist and now finance minister for the Welsh Assembly, and Susie Orbach, psychotherapist and author of Fat is a Feminist Issue. Also in the archive are potentially lesser-known names such as Una Kroll, who campaigned for the ordination of women priests, and Pragna Patel, one of the founders of the Southall Black Sisters.


You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate