Winnipeg Women’s Liberation Newsletter

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Winnipeg Women’s Liberation Newsletter began about  1973  as the communications vehicle of Winnipeg Women’s Liberation. The organization began in about 1969-70 by a group of young University of Manitoba activists, as a development of the consciousness-raising sessions begun in the living room of Millie Lamb, a feminist and high school teacher. The Newsletter was a way for those of us involved on the left wing of the women’s movement to communicate with each other, and to provide support to those women who were unable to participate in meetings, but were exploring feminist ideas. The Manitoba  Status of Women had organized around the Royal Commission about the same time but did not work on feminism within a socialist or social democratic framework.

Regular meetings were attended by 20-30 women but we had a mailing list of 250-300. At the time, there was very little written theory in the feminist world, and we worked out our policies and positions on issues through animated discussions and consensus decision-making. There were some women with years of political experience in the NDP, particularly the Waffle, and the Communist Party.

The newsletter was produced monthly, most of the time, and by a volunteer group of about 20 women who we could call upon to help with any issue. A lot of it was hand-written and photocopied, or reproduced by gestetner and stapled together by us. We believed in a non-hierarchical structure with consensus decision-making, and therefore, as a collective, we didn’t sign our last names. Although the newsletter had lots of good material, it was never very polished. We were able to send it out, including mailing for about $3.00 a year!

It was a time of optimism in Winnipeg and the feeling that we were involved in historic change. The NDP was in power during many of the years of the WWL, and we were busy doing public speaking, writing up presentations to government and legislative committees, and mobilizing around abortion, daycare, family law, and participating in labour union actions. We were the noisy group in the Winnipeg women’s movement, and the Newsletter was another vehicle to organize women.  In 1973 Women’s Liberation opened A Woman’s Place, a drop-in centre and meeting space, with a resource centre and library.  The Newsletter helped advertise activities and actions from there.

By the late 1970s, the group was separating into sub-groups: the Socialist Women’s Collective, Wages for Housework, the Winnipeg Lesbian Society, Women for Non-Sexist Education,  Mothers for Change, Theatre Women, Women in Trades,  and the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League. The Newsletter ended about this time. The Wages for Housework group opened a Women’s Building. By the 1980s the energy that had been going into advocacy and actions was being put into development and management of feminist organizations: The Rape Crisis Centre, a shelter for abused women, Pregnancy Information Services, and the Women’s Health Clinic. In 1981, and for the rest of the decade, a huge amount of organizing energy went into the fight for reproductive choice.

Ellen Kruger, member of Winnipeg Women’s Liberation and Newsletter Collective, 1971-78
Linda Taylor, member of Winnipeg Women’s Liberation and Newsletter Collective, 1970-78

Title Date
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – April 1975 April 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – April/May 1976 Spring 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – April/May 1977 Spring 1977
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – August 1975 August 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – August 1976 August 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – December 1974 December 1974
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – December 1976 December 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – December/January 1975 Winter 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – February 1975 February 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – February 1976 February 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – January/February 1977 Winter 1977
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – July 1976 July 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – June 1975 June 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – June 1976 June 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – March 1975 March 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – March 1976 March 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – November 1974 November 1974
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – November 1976 November 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – October 1975 October 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – October 1976 October 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – October/November 1977 Autumn 1977
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – September 1975 September 1975
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – September 1976 September 1976
Winnipeg Women’s Liberation – Summer 1977 Summer 1977

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