Document: Women's Rights
This statement on women's rights was issued July 7, 1969, by Redstockings, a
I. After centuries of individual and preliminary political
struggle, women are uniting to achieve their final liberation from
male supremacy. Redstockings is dedicated to building their unity
and winning our freedom.
II. Women are an oppressed class. Our oppression is total,
affecting every facet of our lives. We are exploited as sex objects,
breeders, domestic servants, and cheap labor. We are considered
inferior beings, whose only purpose is to enhance men's lives. Our
humanity is denied. Our prescribed behavior is enforced by the threat
of physical violence.
Because we have lived so intimately with our oppressors, in
isolation from each other, we have been kept from seeing our personal
suffering as a political condition. This creates the illusion that a
woman's relationship with her man is a matter of interplay between two
unique personalities, and can be worked out individually. In reality,
every such relationship is a class relationship, and the conflicts
between individual men and women are political conflicts that can
only be solved collectively.
III. We identify the agents of our oppression as men. Male
supremacy is the oldest, most basic form of domination. All other
forms of exploitation and oppression (racism, capitalism, imperialism,
and the like) are extensions of male supremacy: men dominate women, a
few men dominate the rest. All power structures throughout history
have been male-dominated and male-oriented. Men have controlled all
political, economic, and cultural institutions and backed up this
control with physical force. They have used their power to keep women
in an inferior position. All men receive economic, sexual, and
psychological benefits from male supremacy. All men have oppressed
IV. Attempts have been made to shift the burden of responsibility
from men to institutions or to women themselves. We condemn these
arguments as evasions. Institutions alone do not oppress; they are
merely tools of the oppressor .....
We also reject the idea that women consent to or are to blame for
their own oppression. Women's submission is not the result of
brain-washing, stupidity, or mental illness but of continual, daily
pressure from men. We do not need to change ourselves, but to change
V. We regard our personal experience, and our feelings about that
experience, as the basis for an analysis of our common situation. We
cannot rely on existing ideologies as they are all products of male
supremacist culture. We question every generalization and accept none
that are not confirmed by our experience ....
The first requirement for raising class consciousness is honesty,
in private and in public, with ourselves and other women.
VI. We identify with all women. We define our best interest as
that of the poorest, most brutally exploited woman.
We repudiate all economic, racial, educational, or status
privileges that divide us from other women. We are determined to
recognize and eliminate any prejudices we may hold against other women.
We are committed to achieving internal democracy. We will do
whatever is necessary to ensure that every woman in our movement has
an equal chance to participate, assume responsibility, and develop her
VII. We call on all our sisters to unite with us in struggle.
We call on all men to give up their male privileges and support
women's liberation in the interests of our humanity and their own.
In fighting for our liberation we will always take the side of
women against their oppressors. We will not ask what is "revolutionary"
or "reformist," only what is good for women.
The time for individual skirmishes has passed. This time we are
going all the way.