April 2014 – Guest Blogger Emily Flaherty

This month’s Guest Blog comes from a first year PhD student and new WHS member, Emily Flaherty. Emily has recently been elected onto the steering committee as well as getting absorbed in her thesis – we look forward to Emily’s contributions to WHS in the future as well as seeing the results of her research!

Hello, I’m Emily Flaherty. I recently joined WHS after starting my PhD at the University of Glasgow in September 2013. I’d spent the previous year studying for an MSc in Gender History at the University of Edinburgh so had attended the 2012 conference, Women and Wellbeing. It was a fantastic event that introduced me to many of the women’s history projects currently being undertaken in Scotland and encouraged me further to pursue my own research interests!

My main academic interest has always been the Women’s Liberation Movement; I’ve studied local WLM groups from Bolton, Manchester and Glasgow as part of my undergraduate and MSc degrees. It came as no surprise that I wished to continue this line of research for my PhD. I’m currently researching a number of local groups and campaigns that prioritised issues of work-based struggle throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

I’ve spent a lot of time at the Glasgow Women’s Library over the past six months; working with national WLM publications such as Spare Rib, Wires and Red Rag. These magazines can offer fascinating insight into the activities and priorities of the WLM and feature some articles on the activities of the Scottish movement. Spare Rib for example, introduced a feature called ‘On the Road’ in the late 1970s after accusations of it being London-centric. Each month a different local group had the opportunity to report its activities and campaigns. Edinburgh and Glasgow Women’s Centres were both featured and listed numerous campaigns from across the cities – from the Family Allowance Campaign to numerous National Abortion Campaign groups. The Glasgow Women’s Library also holds many publications produced by the Scottish WLM, such as the Edinburgh WLM Newsletter and Nessie: A Radical and Revolting Newsletter from Scotland. It’s great to be able to include so many Scottish writings and examples in my research and demonstrate the energy the movement had in Scotland! The GWL is a great place to work and I’m lucky to have such a friendly and welcoming archive as my base for research.

Since moving to Glasgow and starting my PhD, I’ve been welcomed into a number of groups not least WHS. I look forward to my second WHS conference and getting to know other members over the course of 2014!

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