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Daring to Hope: Book Launch with Sheilah Rowbotham
Tue 27 July, 2021 @ 18:00 - 20:30
In this powerful memoir Sheila Rowbotham looks back at the women’s liberation movement, left politics and the vibrant, creative culture of a decade in which freedom and equality seemed possible. It is a riveting personal history of second wave feminism from the front line.
After addressing the first Women’s Liberation Conference at Ruskin College, Oxford, in 1970, she went on to encourage night cleaners to unionise, immortalised in the film Nightcleaners, to campaign for nurseries and abortion rights, and to play an influential role in discussions of socialist feminist ideas. It is also an account of her attempt to live her politics: bringing to life meetings, magazines, child care networks, grass roots movements, along with communal houses and squats, and a shared impetus to organize collectively and to love without jealousy or domination. By the middle of the decade her prolific writing – journalism and poetry as well as social history – had attracted a wide international readership. She describes the publication of Women, Resistance and Revolution (1972), Hidden from History and Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World (1973), seminal works that were translated into many languages and remain in print half a century later.
Through this whole decade she charts the women’s liberation movement and its place within a larger politics, including the decline of the Labour Party. As the decade ends, with Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street, the movement has started to fracture. Alongside others she tried to hold together the socialist feminist hopes with Beyond the Fragments.
Sheila Rowbotham, who helped start the women’s liberation movement in Britain, is known internationally as an historian of feminism and radical social movements. She is the author of the ground-breaking books Women, Resistance and Revolution; Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World; and Hidden from History. Her later works include Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties; Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century; and the biography Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love, shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize and winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Biography. Her poetry and two plays have been published and she has written for newspapers and journals in Britain, the US, Italy, Brazil, Turkey, Sweden and Sri Lanka. An Honorary Fellow of Manchester University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, she lives in Bristol.
This is a Bristol Transformed event.