Women's Liberation Movement Analysis

1793 words - 7 pages

Imagine being a woman living in Europe during the war, taking on many important leadership roles and having a good amount of power. All of a sudden, the war ends and all of these roles and powers are taken away. Europe made women feel equal to men when everything was being sacrificed for a cause, and then threw them back into being a housewife and oppressed as soon as the war ended. Once seeing how much a woman can truly have, she was not going to go back to having nothing. This is what some consider to be the initial spark of the Women’s liberation movement and the second wave of feminism across Europe. In the 1960s, women liberationists saw themselves as an oppressed group and started to demand radical change all across the continent. The way each country reacted to this demand however, was somewhat different. Although after the war, women all across Europe were fighting for liberation, they only completed strides in everyday cultural and social life and gained little to no influence in political life.
Italy was considered to be the most reluctant country to give women certain rights and services. They still had laws restricting where a woman could work in the 1960s and were very skeptical about giving abortion, contraception, and divorce rights out of fear of losing the catholic vote. Hitchcock states: “Until 1967, adultery was a crime punishable only for women; until 1976, girls as young as twelve could be married; abortions were strictly prohibited, and only in 1971 was a ban on sales of contraceptives lifted”. Clearly radical change had to occur if it was still considered accepted for a girl to get married at 12 years old. In order to make these radical changes, women formed groups like the women’s liberation movement and feminist struggle to help put their issues on the political plan and to help ban together to fight these problems at hand. The most fought for right was abortion. Women felt that they deserved the say in whether they were to have a child or not. They felt this way mostly since an unwanted child out of rape or a child unable to be supported because of low income is one of the worst things to have to be forced to face. Italy still seemed hesitant until the women’s groups’ arguments and the demonstration put on in Rome in favor of women’s rights to abortion started to win over the minds of the public years later. The demonstration put on in Rome was when 50,000 women from all over Italy marched through the streets of Rome demanding a right to abortion on request. In 1978, Italy finally decided to pass a less restrictive law on abortion. The law stated that a woman had to be over 18 years of age, she had to receive an abortion within the first 90 days of pregnancy, and a doctor can still refuse any patient on what they believed to be a bad reason to terminate the pregnancy. Hitchcock still viewed Italy as being backwards and the country was also very behind in giving women rights in the workplace. The...

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