On Wednesday (August 26), the 50th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States, American women throughout the country will be abstaining from housekeeping and lovemaking as part of a "Women's Strike for Equality".
SCU Women demonstrate at Home Journal office, New York 1970 (1970)
SV INT. Women at congressional hearing (4 shots)
SV INT. Mrs Solanis at N.Y. police station (4 shots) (1968)
SV INT. Anti-women's Liberationists demonstrate in N.Y. (2 shots) (1970)
SCU Women enter Congress for debate (3 shots) (1970)
SV McSorley's Ale House TILT DOWN TO men outside
SCU Man arguing with woman & woman drinking
SV INT. Man & woman drinking
SEQ. 2: WOMAN: "Why have you assured the drug companies that they could testify - why have you told them they will get top priority? They're not taking the pill, we are!
NELSON: I'm not going to permit the proceedings to be interrupted in this way - if you ladies would....
WOMAN Our lives may be interrupted by taking this pill!
NELSON: Now let's proceed -- I will see you in my office at...
WOMAN: No, we want an answer now. You told us that the first day, the second day - and we're tired of this. Our lives are at stake....
NELSON: Officer, we will recess the hearings. All people leave the room".
SEQ. 6: MRS GRIFFITHS: "I think the effect of it will be to draw to the attention throughout the country and the state legislatures particularly the inequality involved and that they will begin to change those laws. They have done this in the past. Any case that has ever been tried, the legislature has directed that the supreme court of the United States denied the right.
MR CELLER: If the legal rights amendment applied the remedy, I would be among the first to rise to its support. It does not. It is I'm sorry to state a deft, ear and eye-catching slogan deceiving in its simplicity and dangerous because of that simplicity. It's a pure abstraction and the women themselves don't agree as to what equality means and that's true because even the fingers on your hand are not equal and between you and me the only equality that exists is in a cemetery."
COMMENTATOR'S VOICE FOR GUIDANCE ONLY
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Background: On Wednesday (August 26), the 50th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States, American women throughout the country will be abstaining from housekeeping and lovemaking as part of a "Women's Strike for Equality".
The idea of the strike was proposed by Mrs Betty Friedan, founder of the National Organisation of Women (NOW), one of the first Women's Liberation groups.
Since 1966 when NOW began its activities, thousands of women have become involved in fighting the oppression they feel they have suffered in a male-dominated society. Although at first the Women's Liberation Movement provoked laughter and ridicule, it has since forced itself on the national consciousness, and certain reforms have begun to be made.
The Women's Liberation or Women's Lib Movement has no national organisation, no agreed set of goals, and still less agreement on how the goals should be attained.
Now is one of the more conservative groups which calls for definite social action to achieve women's rights. It was NOW's successful picketing of the New York Times which forced them to de-segregate their want ads on the basis of sex.
However, all women's liberation groups share the same purpose -- to foster in the American public a new psychological attitude towards the position, function, and right of women in the family, in business and in national life, and to educate the public in this direction. What the movement basically seeks is an emotional and practical acceptance of complete equality of rights and opportunity between the sexes.
Members of WITCH (Women's International Terrorist Corps from Hell) staged demonstrations against abortion laws and protests against the Miss America beauty contest. They also burned brassieres and girdles as an expression of "liberation" from being regarded as a sex object. Considered to be one of the more radical Women's Liberation groups,. WITCH has recently turned its activities away from demonstrations and has started to "infiltrate" offices and factories where they can bring their point of view to less "enlightened" women.
Perhaps the most extreme of the Women's Lib groups is the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM). The SCUM Manifesto, written by the group's founder Valerie Solanis, states as its goods the overthrow of the government, elimination of the money system, and the elimination of the male sex. With this last aim in mind. Miss Solanis critically shot pop-artist Andy Warhol in June, 1968.
Another group, called the Feminists, regard marriage as a form of oppression, and claim that love and sex are simply man's means of enslaving woman.
The Women's Lib Movement however, can count other women among their fiercest opponents. In June of this year, women in swimsuit paraded down New York's Fifth Avenue carrying anti-Women's Liberationist placards.
Next September 30, women across the United States will be urged to be particularly nice to their husbands as part of a "Celebration of Womanhood Day", proposed as a counter-action to Wednesday's Women's Strike for Equality".
The journalistic profession came under attack in March of this year when 150 women invaded the offices of the "Ladies Home Journal" magazine in New York, claiming the publication's contents were trite and demeaning to the women of America. In another confrontation this spring, 46 female members of the editorial staff of "Newsweek" filed charges against the management for "Systematic discrimination against women". The president of the company that owns "Newsweek" is a woman, and the magazine devoted the next week's edition to the Women's Liberation cause.
On August 10, American women celebrated what was described as the greatest triumph for womanhood since they won the right to vote in 1920. The House of Representatives approved an amendment to the U.S. constitution stipulating that "equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or any state, on account of sex." The legislation was approved by 346 votes to 15, and will go to the Senate next month. After that, the amendment will have to be approved by three-quarters of the fifty states -- a process that may take months, or even years.
Around the same time, Mayor John Lindsay of New York signed a bill barring discrimination against women in the city's public places. As a result, women were allowed to drink in McSorley's Ale House, an all-male refuge since it opened in 1854. But the manager of McSorley's insisted he would not build a ladies room or even put a latch on the men's lavatory.
Membership in the ranks of Women's Liberation is variously assessed at between 10 and 600,000, but activity is still in the early stages. Interest in it is growing, and the movement does represent the first serious and determined body of feminist opinion in the United States since the suffragettes half a century ago.
A recent Congressional hearing on the birth control pill was interrupted by angry Women's Liberationists:
Speaking a the debate on the equal rights amendment to the Constitution earlier this month, were Mrs Martha Griffiths and Mr Emmanuel Celler.