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This section of the web site includes PDFs of the articles for easy printing, access to the support materials for the teaching modules, and access to PDFs of original documents. The links at the left will take you to the appropriate location to download files.

ABOUT CWLU: The Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, arguably the most significant of the socialist feminist women’s unions established during the “second wave” feminist movement, was formed in 1969 and played a leading role in the women’s liberation movement in Chicago during the 1970s. A city-wide organization, CWLU had 90+ chapters and work groups during its eight years of existence. Not limited to legal equality, the CWLU envisioned a society free of sexism in education, the family, the media, employment, health care, and all aspects of social life. In a farsighted acknowledgement of what is today called intersectionality, the CWLU recognized that the liberation of women was not possible unless it also fought against racism and capitalism, and for gay and lesbian liberation.

WHY THIS SITE: The story of the CWLU’s theory and strategy, its leadership and structure, and its action/outreach focus in its multitude of projects and programs is too often overlooked in women’s and gender studies and women’s history programs. The materials presented here begin to remedy this by offering information including:

  • CWLU sisterhood;
  • CWLU theory and strategy;
  • Selected CWLU programs;
  • Several teaching modules;
  • Several in-depth analyses;
  • Key CWLU documents with some more recent resources.

The authors note the existence of many possibilities for further research due to the rich trove of CWLU archival material available in such places as the Chicago History Museum research archives and the Northwestern University Memorial Library special collections. In addition many resources are available at the companion website, CWLU Herstory.


  • Chris Riddiough became involved in the CWLU early on. She was in the Liberation School work group, the CWLU lesbian work group Blazing Star, and was on the CWLU steering committee and staff. She moved to Washington D.C. in 1983 where she now teaches computer programming and statistics.
  • Margaret Schmid was at the CWLU’s founding conference and subsequently was in the WOMANKIND work group, the speaker’s bureau, and was steering committee co-chair. She later became a leader in public sector labor unions in Illinois and Ohio and did health care advocacy work. Now retired, Margaret lives in Chicago.
  • Estelle Carol was involved in CWLU from its founding and was central to the development of the Women's Graphics Collective, a work group of CWLU. She has maintained the CWLU Herstory website for several years.

Maintained by Chris Riddiough
Last updated on June 22, 2016