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Rites Historical Context

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When Duffy wrote Rites in 1969, the modern women's movement in Britain was just beginning to make an impact. This was a period of rapid social change; economic growth meant that women were entering the workforce in increasing numbers, and there was an expansion in higher education that led to increased job opportunities and higher expectations on the part of women. The emerging women's liberation movement, as it was known, campaigned for equal pay and equal opportunity in education and employment; abortion rights; day care; free contraception (through what was popularly known as "the pill"); and an end to sexism, gender stereotyping, domestic violence, and discrimination against lesbians.

Much of the women's movement was organized in local, women-only groups that linked with others through newsletters and national conferences. The First National Women's Liberation Conference was held in Oxford in 1970. In 1971, the biggest ever women's...

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This section contains 471 words
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Buy the Rites Study Guide
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