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The Voices Behind Change: Women's Liberation During the 1970s at the University of Guelph

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Title: The Voices Behind Change: Women's Liberation During the 1970s at the University of Guelph
Author: McBride, Amy
Department: Department of History
Program: History
Advisor: Mahood, LindaJames, KevinCarstairs, Catherine
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to highlight a student narrative from the perspective of female undergraduates at the University of Guelph from the 1970s, but also to add to the canon of Canadian women’s history. This thesis will argue that female undergraduates at the University of Guelph took part in the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970s and helped to make Guelph a more liberated and equal opportunity institution. This will be indicated by various examples of the collective action and activism of female undergraduates as they fought to make changes on campus. Using the campus student newspaper, The Ontarion, as the primary source was vital because the newspaper is where the voice of the women students could be heard. The Ontarion is an untapped primary resource providing a wealth of information for assessing and analyzing the emergence of feminism at Guelph. The Ontarion has helped to put a spotlight on feminism and the role of female undergraduates as they organized to make changes at Guelph. Taking on this role included using opinions of feminist role models, notably ideas pertaining to personal and political issues. These issues included organizing to request access to birth control and relevant information, abortion counselling, and a new educational curriculum that included women writers and philosophers. Newly attracted members to women’s clubs and participants in feminist activities were able to take part in the local and national liberation movement of the 1970s. These undergraduates were learning from the previous generation of women about how to be feminist, and in what ways their own campus needed to be liberated. Through the assessment of the collected articles from The Ontarion, this thesis will elucidate that as women students combined their newly raised consciousness with other women, they realized that they could be active participants in social change, ultimately initiating the process of liberation on their own campus.
Date: 2018-09-07
Rights: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada