Feminist ideals also inspired a series of Women's World Fairs (1925–1928), where women exhibited their achievements in the arts, literature, science, and industry. The fairs showcased women's accomplishments, but they also served as a venue in which women could inform each other about careers and jobs.
The 1960s also produced a new-wave feminist movement called Women's Liberation, which argued that women suffered both personal and political oppression in a male-dominated society. In 1965, women at the University of Chicago organized one of the country's first campus groups focused on this issue. Chicago feminists then founded the Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU) to raise women's consciousness of their oppression, and from 1974 until its demise in 1981 the National Black Feminist Alliance was such a consciousness-raising group for African American women in Chicago. The CWLU argued that fighting women's oppression required radical alteration of prevailing economic, social, and political structures. The CWLU and other feminist organizations at the time also proposed to operate in a women's cooperative, “democratic” style as opposed to what they called a men's competitive style.
The feminist movements of the 1960s also concentrated on achieving reproductive and sexual freedom. Feminists demanded affordable child care, birth control and abortion on demand, more attention to women's health needs, rape crisis centers, and women's shelters. Their efforts resulted in the municipal Rape Treatment Center Act of 1974, which established rape treatment centers in city hospitals. Feminists were also prepared to defy the law, forming an underground organization (“Jane”) to provide abortions when they were still illegal in Illinois.
Feminist collectives, some of them lesbian or at least closed to men, and periodicals also emerged. Periodicals included Womankind, published in the early 1970s by the Chicago Women's Liberation Union; Mountain Moving, published later in the decade by the Mountain Moving Collective in Evanston; Sister Source, subtitled “a midwestern lesbian/feminist newspaper,” and published briefly in the 1980s; and Catalyst: Chicago Womyn's Paper (1980). The collectives and these periodicals were a manifestation of some Chicago-area feminists' desires by the late twentieth century to free women from male domination in a patriarchal society by removing themselves as much as possible from control by men in all areas of their personal and public lives.
Cott, Nancy. The Grounding of Modern Feminism. 1987
Payne, Elizabeth. Reform, Labor, and Feminism: Margaret Dreier Robins and the Women's Trade Union League. 1988.
Schultz, Rima L., and Adele Hast, eds. Women Building Chicago: A Biographical Dictionary. 2001.
The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago © 2005 Chicago Historical Society.
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