By Constance Backhouse, David H. Flaherty
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Extra info for Challenging Times: The Women's Movement in Canada and the United States
29 The state has dismissed any attempt to fundamentally change the market rules or the family arrangements. However, I personally believe that a great number of citizens would welcome such fundamental social changes. As usual, politicians lag behind the voters, thinking, incorrectly, that they know them only too well. G. Biggs, a Conservative member who represented Pembina (Alberta) in 1971, and who had this to say on Women's Day, three months after the commission had tabled its report to Parliament: My grandfather was a gentleman and my grandmother did not feel like a slave ...
Kate Millett's Sexual Politics and Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch were respectively published in 1969 and in 1970, when the work of the commission was already completed. The Canadian women's movement, inspired by the American women's liberation movement, came into being during the existence of the royal commission and could have informed and influenced its work. It did not. The commission did not benefit from discussions generated within the women's movement because we did not know what was going on, except through rare public demonstrations (such as one at the Toronto public hearings).
Evans documents the spectacular activities of the Women's Strike for Peace in 1962, the founding of the National Organization for Women later in the decade, and the emergence of the women's liberation movement out of the civil rights movement and the New Left. She argues that these three distinct waves were ultimately to build on and influence each other, creating a mass movement which would offer fundamental challenges to the cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity by the 19705. Micheline Dumont provides a provocative inquiry into the roots of the Quebec feminist revival, admonishing English-speaking feminists for their apparent ignorance about the Quebec situation.