This post is the fifth in an occasional series. This site already contains a large number of documents produced by Big Flame or its members. Most can be found in the 30 posts in Episodes in Big Flame History. Each post contains links to documents which relate to its theme. Links to the same documents are also listed on the website’s Publications page, this time sorted by type – pamphlets, journals, newspaper, internal documents.
This series aims to add to these documents by making available others I find interesting which didn’t fit with any of the post themes, were overlooked when the posts were written, or a copy was not available to me at the time of the post.
Elsewhere on this site I mentioned Women’s Struggle Notes (see the post on Women and Feminism Part 1). I would now like to consider it in more detail.
This publication first appeared in a duplicated format for around eight issues in 1975-76 and was described as being produced by the “Big Flame Women’s Group”. It was then replaced by a printed version for around another five issues in 1977. During the course of the second series the Editorial Board was expanded to include women who were not members of Big Flame. Responsibility for issues rotated between women from different parts of the country.
As the title implied the focus was on descriptive accounts of struggles. Most of the articles were fairly short. There was a particular emphasis on personal accounts.
This internal document written in 1976 during the lead up to the relaunch provides an insight into discussions about the publication: A New Struggle Notes and the Need for a Changed Perspective for Women. The author reviews the reasons for starting Women’s Struggle Notes (including wanting to build a working class perspective for women, particularly inside the women’s movement) and the criticisms which had been made about it (including not knowing who it was aimed at). She argued for a new direction, which seems to be the one agreed by Big Flame women, of aiming the publication primarily at working class women rather than the women’s movement, and expanding the editorial group to make the publication more than the voice of Big Flame.
A sample issue from the second series demonstrates the style and contents of Women’s Struggle Notes. There is no date on the cover, but it seems to have been published in the first half of 1977.It contains a typical mix of contents. Articles on struggles in a factory in Luton, a hospital in Liverpool, a Wives Support Group from Leicester, and an unfair dismissal case at a Leeds Grocers. Also articles on the experiences of black women, one parent families, and working in a nursery. Finally, articles on the Spanish Women’s Movement, Women’s Health and Housework, and some poetry.
Click here to read: Women’s Struggle Notes (second series) no2.