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Authority record
Women's activism

Women's Health and Reproductive Rights Information Centre

  • Corporate body
  • 1988-2006

Women's Health was formed in 1988 as a merger between the Women's Reproductive Rights Information Centre (WRRIC) and Women's Health Information Centre (WHIC). The Women's Health Information Centre formed in 1982; Women's Health Information Centre was established in 1983 after a split from the National Abortion Campaign. At the time of the merger, the group was known as the Women's Health and Reproductive Rights Information Centre (WHRRIC), before changing its name to Women's Health.

The aim of the centre was to provide information and support to women on health and reproductive issues, motivated by the idea of information as a form of political empowerment. They worked with, and acted as a resource for, medical professionals, women in health groups, self-help groups, community groups and trade unions in line with the ethos of the Women's Liberation Movement. The centre collected resources relating to all areas of women's health, including books, leaflets, journals, press cuttings and articles. As well as providing an information service, the centre was politically active, and made submissions to the House of Commons Select Committee on AIDS, as well as acting as a point of contact for the media on women's health and reproductive issues.

Women's Health was based near Old Street and closed in 2006.

Wages for Housework

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-

The International Wages for Housework Campaign (IWFHC) is a grassroots women's network campaigning for recognition and payment for all caring work, in the home and outside. The campaign was initiated in 1972 by Selma James, who first put forward the demand for wages for housework at the third National Women's Liberation Conference in Manchester (UK), coining the word 'unwaged'. The IWFHC state that they begin with those who possess the least power internationally – unwaged workers in the home (mothers, housewives, domestic workers denied pay), unwaged subsistence farmers and workers on the land and in the community. They consider the demand for wages for unwaged caring work to be also a perspective and a way of organising from the bottom up, of autonomous sectors working together to end the power relations among them.

Spare Rib

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-1993

Spare Rib was a second-wave feminist magazine and an active part of the emerging Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 20th century. Running from 1972-1993, this now iconic magazine challenged the stereotyping and exploitation of women, while supporting collective, realistic solutions to the hurdles women faced.

Shocking Pink!

  • Corporate body
  • 1981-1982; 1987-1992

Shocking Pink! was a zine written by and for young women, with an emphasis on topics like contraception, abortion, sexuality, lesbianism, queer issues, violence against women, feminist arts and culture, skill sharing (e.g. how to form a band, a women's group etc.), racism, women's rights, politics, and more.

Outwrite Women’s Newspaper

  • Corporate body
  • 1982-1988

Outwrite newspaper, produced by a collective of women throughout the 1980s, was dedicated to offering news by women, for women. Self-defined as an ‘internationalist feminist’ publication, the paper focused on ‘the development of feminism worldwide’ and an examination of women’s oppressions ‘in the context of imperialism, racism and class divisions.’

Liberation struggles across Latin America, southern Africa, Palestine, Bangladesh and India, as well as local campaigns including those of Southall Black Sisters, the Sari Squad and the King’s Cross Women’s Centre were regularly featured in Outwrite’s monthly reports. The transnational community Outwrite envisioned and embodied resonates powerfully with the social justice struggles of today.

off our backs

  • Corporate body
  • 1970-2008

off our backs was a radical feminist print news journal by, for, and about women, published from 1970 to 2008. From 2008 onward OOB changed its remit, becoming a nonprofit organisation run by a collective where decisions are made by consensus.

London Women's Centre

  • Corporate body
  • c.1970s-c.2000

Based at Wesley House, 4 Wild Court, the London Women’s Centre was a thriving hub for women’s orgs for around three decades. The Centre was home to numerous women’s and feminist groups, including the National Abortion Campaign, Asian Women’s Network, Microsyster, English Collective of Prostitutes, Women’s Network for Palestine, Camden Women’s Bus, London Fat Women's Group, Lesbian Archive and Information Centre, Women's Information and Resource Exchange (WIRES), Women's Resource Centre, and many more.

From 1984-1996, the LWC housed Lesbian Archive & Information Centre, whose collections now live here at GWL. The Lesbian Archive makes up around one-third of our total archive holdings, and the LAIC library – up on the mezzanine level of our home in Bridgeton – comprises feminist and lesbian feminist literature, many of which titles are increasingly rare and hard to come by.

Facing increasing pressure from their main funder, Camden Council, to turn away from their explicitly feminist focus and instead become a more commercial venture, the LWC rebranded themselves as a music and events venue The Wheel in the mid 1990s. The rebrand was ultimately unsuccessful and Wesley House closed around 2000 (date unconfirmed).

City Limits

  • Corporate body
  • 1981-1993

City Limits was an alternative culture and event listings magazine for London, published weekly. It was founded by former Time Out staff writers as a co-operative, after TO owner Tony Elliott refused to adopt co-operative working principles. City Limits initially took a vocally radical feminist stance, though later investors tried to rebrand the title as a women's lifestyle magazine.

Camden Women's Bus

  • Corporate body
  • 1983-late 1980s

Camden Women's Bus was a mobile women's information and resource centre, funded by the Greater London Council. The centre comprised a double-decker bus, chosen because it offered a means of connecting with women who were otherwise unable to attend in-person meetings because of socioeconomic, health, caring and lifestyle-related barriers. Its organisers (and drivers) were Louisa John-Baptiste, Anna Birch, and Juleikha [surname unknown].

Big Flame

  • Corporate body
  • 1970-1984

Big Flame were a revolutionary socialist feminist organisation with a working class orientation in England. Founded in Liverpool in 1970, the group initially grew rapidly in the then prevailing climate on the left with branches appearing in a number of cities.

They published a magazine, also entitled Big Flame, and a journal, Revolutionary Socialism. Members were active at the Ford plants at Halewood and Dagenham. They also devoted a great deal of time to self-analysis and considering their relationship with the larger Trotskyist groups. In time, they came to describe their politics as “libertarian Marxist“. In 1978 they joined the Socialist Unity electoral coalition, with the International Marxist Group. In 1980, the anarchists of the Libertarian Communist Group joined Big Flame. The Revolutionary Marxist Current also joined at about this time.

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