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– Add to the Timeline
– A Snapshot of 1981
– Chicago women honored in The Dinner Party

– Add to the Timeline!

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Visit the “The Dinner Party Project in Chicago” Facebook page and write on the wall to contribute to our growing timeline of significant events in the local women’s movement. This is a work in progress and we will integrate your entries into a document which we will post on this website on January 1, 2012. Help us create a comprehensive picture of Chicago’s vibrant women’s movement.

– A snapshot of 1981

As the year 1981 opened, Chicago thrummed with expanding possibilities for women. As they stood upon the bedrock of the hard-won victories of feminists from before the turn of the century and access to the honed and more immediate experience of women in civil rights and labor organizing, women were rising to the top. The Second City elected a woman mayor, Jane Byrne and women were creating and strengthening social institutions in every area. 

The Women's Political Caucus, NOW (The National Organization for Women),
and women in the field of health challenged current practices and standards while others were in action in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois, the fight for women's studies programs at local colleges and universities, collecting and preserving women's history in The Chicago Area Women's History Council (now Conference), taking social action in the founding of the YWCA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, HERS, JANE, and Our Bodies Ourselves, educating and fighting for womens' reproductive rights.

Feminist bookstores like Jane Addams and Women and Children First opened new horizons for women writers and their audiences. In the arts, The Women's Graphics Collective produced posters for the women's movement while the women’s cooperative galleries, Artemisia and ARC, provided training for women artists and venues to take their their art into world. The consciousness-raising groups meeting everywhere stirred and fertilized the ground for action. Yes, in 1981, women were looking for change!

Chicago women honored in The Dinner Party exhibition

Among the 999 women of accomplishment whose names appear on The Heritage Floor of The Dinner Party exhibition, eight women who contributed to and shaped Chicago history are honored. Their examples are part of Chicago’s heritage and show the range and diversity of their accomplishments. These brief histories appeared in the program for The Dinner Party exhibition in Chicago.

women in history


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