Women Unite - National Demonstration.
Original poster announcing the first national Women’s Liberation march for equal pay and equal rights, London, March 6, 1971. Printed offset litho in black on white stock. 58.3x44.5cm.
Illustrated with a large photograph of Sheila Allen. Text along lower edge states “Sponsored by National Womens Co-ordinating Committee”.
Around 4000 joined the march from Speakers Corner in Hyde Park for the rally in Trafalgar Square (among them an anonymous Germaine Greer, dressed for the freezing weather in a monk’s habit), and a petition was drawn up by the National Committee to be handed into 10 Downing Street en route. The petition called for free 24 hour nurseries, equal educational and job opportunities, equal pay, free contraception and abortion on demand, each one listed in the lower part of the poster.
Sheila Rowbotham, one of the demonstration’s organisers, later recalled the event’s significance for the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement: “What was really vital for us was to recognise we actually had a presence - that we could mobilise on the streets. Before then, we’d had conferences, which several hundred people had attended - but this was on a bigger scale. We were visible to people, physically, as a movement.”
Sheila Allen, who is not named on the poster (she was identified for this cataloguer by Michelene Wandor) and whose photograph dominates it, was an actor and feminist whose friendship with the playwright Jane Arden led to her involvement in “Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven” at the Drury Lane Arts Lab in January 1969, the first Women’s Liberation Movement play to be staged in Britain.
Foxing to verso, and some foxing to margins of recto, o/w a Very Good plus copy of an historically important and rarely seen poster.
NB demo photo for illustrative purposes only.