Source, Women's History

Women’s History Month: 100 Years of International Women’s Day

 Glasgow Women’s Library holds archival material documenting the celebration of International Women’s Day. Here are just a couple of examples picked from our collections:

In 1975 International Women’s Day was given official recognition by the United Nations. This edition of the International Women’s Year Tribune marks the beginning of the UN Decade for Women which ran from 1976 to 1985. The Tribune newsletter included letters from some of the 6000 participants in the non-governmental IWY Tribune held in Mexico City concurrently with the intergovernmental UN World Conference of International Women’s Year. It was intended to provide a means of communication so that members were aware of all the different kinds of activities taking place across the world. These included a rest house for rural women in Chile, literacy programmes and mobile crèches in India, a women’s soap making project in Ghana and a leadership training programme for women in South Africa.

Copy of IWY Tribune: A Newsletter, September 1976


 Copy of International Women’s Day News

This copy of the International Women’s Day News was produced by a collective in London and included articles in different languages. In its editorial it stated that:

This newspaper is part of a protest. The group of women who produced it wanted to express anger at the way our experience is distorted and ignored by the Fleet Street press. We felt that an essential part of our protest was creating an alternative newspaper.

Individuals in the group don’t necessarily agree with all the contents. We’d like to know what you think about it, and to discuss producing another…. Contact us, the Fleet Street Group, c/o A Woman’s Place, Hungerford House, London WC2. The newspaper is available free on tape for women who are partially sighted or blind. If you know any woman who might like to receive a taped copy, please let us know or her about us.

The production collective: Camilla, Judy, Sasha, Veronica

With intense thanks to: Andrea, Denise, Julia, Katrina, Kris, Ruudi, Sara, Sheila, and all the other women who helped and shared our moans, groans, sleepless nights, and even joys! 

20 Years Old

This year, 2011, also marks another anniversary – Glasgow Women’s Library will be 20 years old this September. It grew from the grassroots organisation, ‘Women in Profile’, which was begun in 1987 and triggered by the announcement that Glasgow was to become European City of Culture in 1990.

 Office of Women in Profile, c. 1987 

After a series of events held throughout 1990, including art exhibitions, talks and screenings, the group thought that the best way to continue to celebrate the history and achievements of women would be to set up a library. In 1991 Adele Patrick and a few other women took the bold step of opening the first Glasgow Women’s Library space in a small shop in a local community.

 First premises of the Women’s Library in Garnethill, Glasgow, 1991

Since 1991, the library’s collections have grown considerably. Everything in the library has been donated by different women and women’s organisations. 

The collections include the archives of Scottish Women’s Aid, Women’s Church Resource Group Archives, Scottish Abortion Campaign archives, and many newsletters, journals, fanzines, pamphlets, badges, banners and campaign materials from relating to post war feminism and activism in Scotland and the UK.

Greenham Common campaign poster

In 1995 the library received the Lesbian Archive, which had originally been founded in London in 1984. Its rich and varied collections range from a banned first edition of Radcliffe Hall’s Well of Loneliness (1928), to editions of the rare journals, Urania and Arena 3; to British and American lesbian literature and pulp fiction; archives from groups and individuals such as the Camden Lesbian Centre and Black Lesbian Group, Jackie Forster and Anna Livia; and regional newsletters, banners, badges, oral histories and ephemera from the 1960s onwards.

 Selection of journals, including Sappho, The Ladder and Arena 3, and badges from the Lesbian Archive.

The library also holds artworks by female Scottish artists, such as prints by the Glaswegian Jewish artist Hannah Frank, knitting and dress making patterns, and some objects from the early 20th century women’s suffrage movement.


 Copy of The Suffragette newspaper commemorating the death of Emily Wilding Davison, 1913

 Image of selection of 1930s Vogue patterns from knitting pattern collection.

To find out more please contact us:

Glasgow Women’s Library
15 Berkeley Street
Glasgow G3 7BW
Tel: 0141 248 9969.

Hannah Little is an archivist at Glasgow Women’s Library. To find out more, check out their website.

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