The Rising of the Women


Fifth Estate # 126, March 4-17, 1971

This issue of the Fifth Estate, appearing on the 61st anniversary of International Women’s Day, is dedicated to all our sisters around the world. It is the product of the Fifth Estate staff, women front the Women’s Media Co-op and women involved in other activities around the city.

In this issue of the paper we wanted the chance to express our ideas, art, anger and feelings about our own lives. We wanted to publicize and support the struggles of women in other countries. We also hoped that by making available a list of women’s organizations and services, we would make it easier for women to meet together and find activities they would like to participate in.

When we started work on this paper, many of us didn’t know each other. Most of us had few newspaper skills and some of us had never written before. But we decided to pool our skills, energy and time—we were determined to put out a good newspaper.

We are also women who are beginning to love each other and to feel good about ourselves. We are finding a lot of strength in sisterhood as we try to fight the oppression and exploitation that confronts us every day of our lives.

Because we are women, we are expected to give up our own careers and interests in order to follow the lives of our husbands. Many of us labor alone, without pay, 16 hours a day to “keep house” and raise children. If we don’t have a man, we are pitied. We are told that to be complete, a woman has to be a devoted wife and mother.

We want to destroy that image and make our own definitions for WOMAN, MOTHER, WIFE AND FRIEND.

We are fighting for an end to unequal wages, unequal job opportunities and dehumanizing welfare. We want an end to the “tracking” system in schools based on sex, race or class. We want an end to the oppression of women within the family by establishing means by which families may share household work and childcare through laundry and food co-ops and day care centers. We don’t want our bodies used for testing untried drugs, nor do we want them used to sell the products of Madison Avenue.

We want the freedom to control our bodies: to decide whether we want a child or an abortion. We want the freedom to develop our creativity and to have relationships with whomever we choose—male or female.

We want to know our history. We want to have the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter and to know that we will have a decent life when we are old.

We know that for many people in this country “liberty” and “equality” are meaningless words since they are forced to compete and struggle in order to survive. We live in a society that is historically rooted in racism and sexism. This country maintains itself controlling or destroying the resources and lives of people in other countries. But that system is rapidly falling apart.

We are beginning to feel our own strength and are joining with our sisters and brothers already in motion to provide alternatives to the institutions, life styles and personal relationships which we find so dehumanizing.

We feel that liberation for all people can only be found in a classless society where the social system is designed to meet human needs, not profit, and… where people have control over all the forces that affect their lives.

We want to come together with sisters and brothers to build a revolutionary movement for a new society. And we must create a strong women’s movement to insure that our liberation will be a conscious part of the change that’s coming.


Sunday, March 7

“An Afternoon for Angela—Program, Plymouth Congregational Church, 514 Garfield 3:00 p.m.—$1.00 Sponsored by: Michigan Committee to Free Angela Davis

Women’s Media Co-op radio tape to be heard on WRIF-FM (101-FM) on the Jennifer Miller Show from 4-6:00 p.m.

Monday, March 8

Women’s Liberation Coalition will be leafletting downtown Detroit. Two open houses at the downtown YWCA (2203 Witheral). 4:30 to 6:30, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Drop in to rap.

Wayne State Women’s Liberation

9-10 a.m—Women on Welfare, Room 261 U.C.B.

10-11 a.m.—Karate Demonstration, Ballroom

11-12 p.m.—Angela Davis Defense, Room 289

1-2 p.m.—Abortion testimonials, Ballroom

2-3 p.m.—Women End the War, 289 U.C.B.

3-4 p.m.—Speak out on Sex Discrimination at Wayne, 261 U.C.B.

4-5 p.m.-Interpretive Dance, 289 U.C.B.

8 p.m.—4148 Second—Party for Women Only

YAWF women are having street rallies around the city.

Detroit Resistance Women’s Group has a display showcase on international Women in the University Center Building at Wayne State University

Oakland Community College (Orchard Ridge Campus) All-day women’s teach-in and activities including Women’s Street Theater.

Henry Ford Community College, Women’s literature tables in Student Center