Feminists organizing gave rise to numerous new groups that came in many forms. Women organized in workplaces, schools, religious centres, unions, families, households, and communities. They set up study circles, held consciousness-raising sessions, formed caucuses and committees, built coalitions, and established grassroots autonomous women’s groups. Some were long-lasting; others short-lived. Some brought women together on a single issue, others on a more comprehensive political ideology. Many created alternative services and supports for women. There were feminist bookstores and publishing initiatives as well as many other women-based and operated enterprises.
During this era, feminists critiqued and challenged traditional structures and ways of organizing that sidelined women and denied access to any real power. Alternatives were experimented with, and new feminist models and process emerged. Over time, Indigenous, racialized and immigrant women, women with disabilities, and lesbians raised criticisms about discrimination and oppression. This provoked new scrutiny of feminist practices.
Existing women’s organizations, some dating from the 19th century, also felt the impact of feminist activism. These groups already played an important role in fostering women’s leadership and services in many communities. Many now become directly involved in advocating on women’s equality issues.
Feminists in the union movement, political parties, and various progressive groups working on other causes also demanded more space for women’s leadership and participation, and a greater engagement on women’s equality issues.