What gives women freedom and independence?
Migration, cheaper transport and even increased car ownership mean
that women move around cities and between continents in greater numbers
and (for some) with greater ease than ever before. Has this increased
mobility increased women's sense of freedom? Women's travel memoirs
of the early 20th century testify to the liberating effects that
independent travel had for certain women. Escaping the constraints
and cultural expectations of British society, women write of their
travels as an opportunity to explore themselves as much as the chance
to discover new places. Is the same true today?
The Women's Liberation Movement linked women's freedom to the right
to make decisions about their own bodies. Alongside demands for social
and economic equality, the movement called for free contraception
and abortion on demand, and an end to discrimination against lesbians.
To be equal and independent women needed to control their fertility,
enjoy a sex life, and express their sexuality uninhibited.
Thirty years on are we still as confident? Did the
pill pave the way to sexual liberation? The 1980s and 90s witnessed
campaigns for the right to have children and the issue
remains current. Are women's reproductive choices more difficult
and painful than we once thought?