Step 2 Part 1 Fact Sheet 8: physical autonomy

Physical autonomy

The second wave of women’s liberation activity in Europe was a feminist movement that started in the 1960s and continued through the 1970s. Its aims were to redesign society by changing the perception of women and their roles in society.

In addition to improvements in working conditions and equal pay, liberationists fought for complete autonomy for women's bodies including the right to make their own decisions regarding contraception and abortion, and more independence in sexuality. The advocates of the movement felt that unfettered access to education jobs and childcare were primary issues.

Women demonstrate in The Hague for equal pay on May 29, 1975

Hunger strike in Ghent in support of abortion rights, 1973

The protests resulted in better legislation for women in European countries.
Contraception became freely available, abortion was legalised, laws on violence and rape in marriage were passed, women could keep their own name after marriage, paternal prevalence over the children was abolished, honour killings and genital mutilation were prohibited. Laws on discrimination because of sex, marital status, pregnancy or sexual orientation were passed. (source)