top of page

1960 to 1969 

The Second Wave for Women's Rights Begins

"Equal Rights - Not Privileges" - Women's Liberation Movement.  


Image taken from BBC news report in 2010:

​In the 1960's with an economic boom in Britain's women gained new freedoms, as a result they were targeted again by advertising, but this time with freedom being the significant factor.  More women were now able to build a career and increasingly enter University’s which opened up not only career prospects but a wider understanding.  Women again became fed up with cultural sexist attitudes leading to a second wave of feminism. Tackling sex inequality in Britain again got under-way. 

In 1961 the birth control pill became available to women free via the National Health Service and for the first time in history women began to have real control over their own fertility.  It is difficult to over state the impact this one small pill has achieved for women.  It has rightly been hailed as the single most important scientific achievement for women to date, although, at the time it was mainly prescribed to older married women who already had children and GP’s were slow to prescribe it due to its cost and fear of growing promiscuity in women.

In 1964 the Married Women's Property Act was passed entitling a wife to receive equal share of property or money where the money was derived from allowances by the husband to the matrimonial home or for similar purposes.

1967 Abortion is finally made legal under the Abortion law of although the strict criteria of medical supervision still leaves many women exposed to black market, infection and even death.


With health care came the first mammography machines developed in 1967 aiding the diagnosis of breast cancer, (although from a personal perspective, from a woman who has had a mammogram, I think as a matter of urgency another technology must be found).

1968 With new found independence and equality firmly in mind women machinists at the fords of Dagenham plant go on strike for equal pay (their plight was dramatised into a film called “Made in Dagenham” in 2010).  With Barbara Castle the Secretary of State for Employment at the time intervening the women went back to work with a pay increase but still 8% below that of the men.  The strike was influential in passing of legislation for equal pay two years later.

1969 The Women's Liberation Movement was born with its first conference taking place in.


1969 also saw the Representation of the People Act being extended to allow all men and women over 18 the vote.

Here is a great link to the bbc's video archive about 1960's attitudes and women:

BBC Two - History File, 20th Century World, The changing role of women in the 1960s


bottom of page