Women on the Move
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Gloria Steinem's Houston

See an interesting Video interview with Nikki Van Hightower, Houston's Women's Advocate at the time of the Conference, here.
Also See our page: Who's coming and Why /With the Women at Houston 

“ ‘Houston was a kind of Constitutional Convention for American women,’ explained one European observer. ‘They ratified the existing Constitution by demanding full inclusion in it [via the vote in support of the Equal Rights Amendment/ERA] and then outlined the legislative changes that must take place if female citizens are to fully enjoy those rights for the first time.’...

In the National Plan of Action adopted at Houston, there are many echoes of the first wave of feminism...

Houston was part of a second wave, a continuation-but it also provided historical lessons of its own....

The politics of sexuality and reproductive freedom had been the most difficult for the first wave of feminists to discuss publicly, much less to change. But these issues of such importance to women’s lives and survival were brought out into the open in Houston, and recognized as fundamental to women’s self-determination.

Houston also symbolized an end to much of the slit between the younger or more radical feminists who had come out of the Left (and who mistrusted efforts made ‘within the system’ and those reformers or older, more conservative women ( who mistrusted efforts to work ‘outside the system’). If one person made that bonding possible, it was probably Bella Abzug, a main author of the idea for the Conference and the presiding officer of its Commissioners. As on of the few American political leaders to rise through social movements, not through political party structures, she had gaines trust and colleagues on both sides: with the more radical feminists because of her devotion to issues, and with more conservative women because she had served in congress and gained Government support for the Conferecnce. Houston was the result of hard work by thousands of women, but Bella Abzug may be the onse person without whom there would have been no such event.

For myself, Houston and all the events surrounding it have become a personal landmark in history; the sort of event one measures all other dates in life as being ‘before’ or ‘after.’

I had mistrusted it as an idea....I still did not know that women as a group could be competent, courageous and loyal to each other; that we could conduct large, complex events and honor each other’s diversity; that we could literally make a history that was our own.

But we can. Houston taught me that. And I hope that this lesson will not be lost, but carried into the future.” 

 From the Gloria Steinem’s introduction to What Women Want, Simon & Schuster, 1978. ) 

See Diana Mara Henry's photographs at: http://www.dianamarahenry.com

Hear the entire audio of the 11/19/12 program including Gloria's kind words about Diana Mara Henry's photography 

We were happy to greet Commissioner Rita Elway Brogan, at right on this photo on a tour backstage before the beginning of the conference, and Lucy Komisar, a superb journalist and muckraker extraordinaire, seen talking to Gloria Steinem and we thank them for their participation and contributions! The woman in front is the recently departed and adored Liz Carpenter, who In 1971, was one of the founders of the National Women's Political Caucus and co-chair of ERAmerica, traveling the country to push for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She said she wanted to be on a US Postage Stamp. Please help make that happen! 

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