by Kathy Mallin (1974) A report on the highly successful 1974 women's march for economic justice. by Kathy Mallin of the Guardian Chicago Bureau Chicago(1974)
(Editor's note: This report on the highly successful 1974 women's march for economic justice originally appeared in the Guardian, a leftwing newspaper of the time.)
The Chicago women's movement reached new heights this week when over 2500 people marched through the Loop March 9 to celebrate International Women's Day. At the same time, at the. headquarters of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), some 3000 women took part in an all-day celebration honoring Black women. The two actions were 'seen as supporting each other. The march, demanding "Equality and Economic Justice,". was called by a coalition of about 40 groups including the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, October League, Chicago Welfare Rights Organization, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, United Farm Workers, Rising Up Angry and more.
A host of demands set forth by the group included: Pass the ERA; no forced sterilization; roll back prices on food, fuel and other necessities; adequate welfare grants; impeach Nixon, and support women's struggles in other countries.
Two days before the march, Operation PUSH and the women's coalition held a joint press conference to announce their plans. Then some 80 women marched to three targets of women's oppression: the Federal Milk Market Administration where they demanded public hearings on the soaring cost of milk, the City Hall, where women employees are paid less than men for doing the same work, and the State of Illinois Building where the women demanded increased welfare benefits. The "mini actions" brought good publicity for the March 9 actions.
The Operation PUSH celebration saw six Black women receive awards for outstanding achievement in their fields. Among them was actress Cicely Tyson who was chosen for her refusal to act in any of the current "Black exploitation" films. Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer, outstanding civil rights activists, were not present to receive their awards.