The 1980s

1980 60,000 people marched against the threat to abortion rights posed by the Corrie Abortion Act Amendment Bill – which was defeated. Mass trade union and socialist support for abortion rights.

1980 Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) founded, very active in Yorkshire because of the Yorkshire Ripper murders.

1981 RAF Greenham Common in Newbury, Berkshire, became the site of a women’s peace camp after the deployment of USAF short-range nuclear missiles at the base.

1981 45.5% of women in paid work.

1982 Embrace the Base mass demonstration of 30,000 women at Greenham Common. Many attached baby clothes and other symbols of life to the perimeter fence.

1982 Launch of Outwrite, first publication by women for women which featured international feminism and highlighted imperialism, racism and class struggles.

1982 Greater London Council (GLC) formed a women’s committee, dispensing grants for women’s centres, child care and training courses for women. Other Labour pro-feminist councils undertook similar activities.

1984 Women Against Pit Closures formed during the miners’ strike of 1984-5. The movement ran food kitchens and provided other support to strikers in over 100 coal mining communities.

1985 The Heart of the Race, Black Women’s Lives in Britain by Beverly Bryan, Sheila Dadzie and Susanne Scafe – a ground breaking book on black women in Britain – was published. It contained stories of overt racism and the double oppression of black women.

1986 The Conservative Government abolished the GLC, including the women’s committee. In its final year the committee had a budget of £90 million, 96 employees, funded hundreds of projects for women and created 3,000 nursery places.

1987 Diane Abbot becomes the first woman black MP – representing Hackney North and Stoke Newington, North London.