40th anniversary of the Working Women’s Charter

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Badges to promote the Working Women’s Charter, 1974

It’s 40 years since the publication of the Working Women’s Charter, produced by the London Trades Council in 1974.

This week an article on the subject in the Guardian quoted former TUC Librarian Christine Coates and used one of the most popular photographs from our history website to accompany the story.

The 10-point charter called for equal pay for equal work, along with equal promotion opportunities, the eradication of workplace discrimination, free childcare and contraception and abortion services. The 10 points can be seen on this document.

A motion put forward at the 1975 TUC conference to support the charter was rejected, however, mainly due to the issue of contraception and abortion. Instead the TUC produced its own 12-point charter in 1975:

The 12 points in the TUC’s 1975 women’s charter

The TUC’s 1975 charter echoed many of the demands in the TUC’s earlier “six-point charter” of 1963.

Although there have been notable achievements over the last 40 years, many of the demands in the original charter still remain undelivered. This prompted the History and Policy organisation to host a one day event last weekend to discuss the 40th anniversary. They have produced a new women’s charter to address contemporary issues.

Find more information on the subject of women and the labour movement on our history website The Union Makes Us Strong or our dedicated website telling the story of the struggle for Equal Pay, and our website Britain at Work documenting the changes to the workplace in the post-war period.

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