1970 to 1979
Equal Pay in Law for Women or is it?
"Yet if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?" - Germaine Greer
Image taken from original front cover of: A Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. More in our must read section.
Image taken from original front cover of: Sexual Politics published 1971 by Kate Millett also in our must read section.
1970 saw the Equal Pay Act passed although it took another 5 years for it to come into force and it did not fully address work of equal value which even today is notoriously difficult to define and can still be a legal sticking point.
1970 also saw books like The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer, Sexual Politics by Kate Millett, both receiving instant acclaim and in so doing promoting awareness of the pervasive sexism still facing women in Britain.
With an open and eager audience word spread along with the determination to challenge it.
In 1971 the first women's liberation march occurred in London with over 4000 women taking part, ending with their petition being handed in the Prime Minister at the time; Edward Heath. The demands were; equal pay, equal education and job opportunities, free 24hr nurseries and free on demand contraception and abortion.
The NHS Reorganisation Act in 1974 allows family planning to be incorporated into the NHS, all contraceptive advice and prescriptions finally becomes free to all women in the UK irrespective of age or marital status.
Nearly 40 women’s refuges organisations supporting battered women are brought together by the Women’s Aid Federation, the country’s first national domestic violence organisation (1974).
1975 An historic year for women seeing the Equal Pay Act come into force together with The Sex Discrimination Act (supported by the women’s aid federation) making discrimination illegal in advertising, education and recruitment, finally the Employment Protection Act which introduced maternity provisions and makes it illegal to sack women because of pregnancy.
The Domestic Violence act comes into force in 1976 enabling women to obtain protection and a court order against violent husbands.
In 1977 - the UK’s first Rape Crisis centre is open to the public in London. The General Assembly of the United Nations formalises an International Women's Day in the Month of March.
And finally to conclude the decade in 1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female Prime Minister as leader of the Conservative Party.