ABSTRACT

The emergence of the second wave of the women’s movement also saw the cre-

ation of consciousness-raising groups, which sprang up rapidly and provided

many women with their first experiences of feminism. Consciousness-raising

allowed women to develop an understanding of the ways in which the problems

that they experienced as individuals were both shared by many other women and

socially produced. By thinking and talking together feminists developed new

discourses, and in doing so they developed a new view of themselves and the

world. This was the work of making the personal political, which, as Raewyn

Connell has suggested, ‘was a matter of tearing existing parts of yourself up by

the roots’ to forge new understandings of gender and sex, and women’s place in

the world.This ‘transition to feminism’ involved more than a shift in attitudes, it

was ‘a transforming and tough personal experience’, which has shaped feminist

scholarship and activism ever since.1