Women's Consciousness Raising

July 5, 1973

Report Outline
Resurgence of Feminism in New Form
Evolution of U.S. Women's Protest
Consequences of Consciousness Raising
Special Focus

Resurgence of Feminism in New Form

The time for bra-burning may have passed but this is not to say that the women's liberation movement has played itself out. On the contrary, the currents of change released by the movement are still coursing through the nation and their effects are being registered in many areas of American life. The movement's crowning achievement is that it has raised the consciousness of the people on the issue of sexual equality. As a result, women are acting—and men are reacting—as never before to the ideas fostered by the movement.

Where it will all end no one can say, but the portents of major social change loom large. For the feminist revival that began in the latter half of the 1960s is heading toward a far more fundamental change than that sought by the suffragists of a half-century ago or even by the “equal rights” fighters of the more recent past. The underlying goal is no less than a reconditioning of the American people to accept sex equality as the norm of social and personal behavior. It would mean a reordering of the way men and women customarily feel about each other in every relationship of life: as father-daughter, mother-son, sister-brother, teacher-student, boy friend-girl friend, husband-wife, employer-employee, doctor-patient.

A feminist leader, Wilma Scott Heide, president of the National Organization of Women (Now), has described the women's liberation movement as “the most profound universal behavioral revolution the world has ever known.”Authors of a comprehensive study of the movement call it “as much a state of mind as it is a movement.”This is doubtless because the area of struggle is not merely economic, social and political, but psychological, intellectual, and emotional. The embattled women today are conducting a war for the minds and feelings of women primarily, men secondarily. Through liberating women from viewing themselves as the inferior sex, it is expected that men will be liberated from the burdens of dominance. When society no longer imposes “sex-role segregation” on its members, both sexes will gain and presumably will get along a lot better with each other.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Apr. 17, 2015  Girls' Rights
Apr. 03, 2012  Women's Rights
Nov. 13, 2009  Women in the Military
May 2008  Women's Rights
Mar. 21, 2008  Women in Politics
Feb. 28, 1997  Feminism's Future
Oct. 13, 1989  Should Women Be Allowed into Combat?
Jul. 28, 1989  Do Pregnant Women Lose Legal Rights?
Sep. 17, 1982  Women and Politics
Dec. 15, 1978  Equal Rights Fight
Jun. 23, 1978  The Rights Revolution
Jun. 13, 1975  International Women's Year
Jul. 05, 1973  Women's Consciousness Raising
Oct. 11, 1972  Women Voters
Aug. 05, 1970  Status of Women
Feb. 20, 1956  Women in Politics
Jan. 24, 1951  Womanpower in Mobilization
Apr. 04, 1946  Equal Rights Amendment
May 31, 1927  The Woman's Vote in National Elections