Significant Feminist Protests

Activist Moments in the U.S. Women's Liberation Movement

The Women’s Liberation Movement brought together thousands of activists who worked for women’s rights. These are a few significant feminist protests that took place in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s.

Feminists protest Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1969
Woman or Object? Feminists protest Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, 1969. Santi Visalli Inc./Archive Photos/Getty Images

New York Radical Women organized a demonstration at the 1968 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. The feminists objected to the commercialization and racism of the pageant, in addition to the way it judged women on "ludicrous standards of beauty." More »

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New York Abortion Speakout, March 1969

The radical feminist group Redstockings organized an "abortion speakout" in New York City where women could talk about their experiences with then-illegal abortions. The feminists wanted to respond to government hearings where previously only men had spoken about abortion. After this event, speakouts spread across the nation; Roe v. Wade struck down many restrictions on abortion four years later in 1973.

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Standing Up for the ERA in the Senate, February 1970

Members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) disrupted a U.S. Senate hearing about the proposed amendment to the Constituion to change the voting age to 18. The women stood and displayed posters they had brought, calling for the Senate’s attention to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) instead.

Many feminist groups believed that women's magazines, usually run by men, were a commercial enterprise that perpetuated the myth of the happy homemaker and the desire to consume more beauty products. On March 18, 1970, a coalition of feminists from various activist groups marched into the Ladies’ Home Journal building and took over the editor’s office until he agreed to let them produce a portion of an upcoming issue. More »

The nationwide Women's Strike for Equality on August 26, 1970, saw women using various creative tactics to draw attention to the ways in which they were treated unfairly. In places of business and in the streets, women stood up and demanded equality and fairness. August 26 has since been declared Women's Equality Day. More »

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Take Back the Night, 1976 and beyond

In multiple countries, feminists gathered to draw attention to violence against women and to “Reclaim the Night” for women. The initial protests turned into annual events of communal demonstration and empowerment that include rallies, speeches, vigils, and other activities. The annual U.S. rallies are now usually known as “Take Back the Night,” a phrase heard at a 1977 gathering in Pittsburgh and used in the title of a 1978 event in San Francisco.