Treasures

Is this our Christmas? The Red Stockings Group in 1974

On December 23rd 1974, the Red Stockings Group went to the city center of Reykjavík, distributed demonstration leaflets and decorated a Christmas tree in Austurstræti with a mannequin symbolizing a tired housewife, asking women who were shopping: Is this our Christmas?

The Red Stockings Group aimed to draw attention to both apparent and hidden inequalities of the sexes, as well as the oppression that derives from social structures and family traditions. During its beginnings, the Red Stockings Group wasn’t in accordance with the traditional form of associations, as its members thought the group was a form that prevented debate and dialogue. The movement did not elect a Chairman, did not hold any minutes books, and the work groups associated with the group sprung up organically and by their own self-accord.

The Red Stockings Group was founded in 1970, and the group’s first action took place on May 1 that same year when they encouraged women to attend the march of the unions in Reykjavik and advertised on the radio: "Women in red stockings! Come to the May 1st march." During the march the group carried a giant statue of a woman with a big ribbon strung across the belly that said: 'Human - not merchandise'. The main issues of the Red Stockings Group were childbirth, contraception and abortion rights, childcare and the raising of children, rights of housewives and the evaluation of housework as well as improving women’s' employment in the labor market.

The Women’s History Archives was founded only a few days after the 23 December operation. The private archives of the Red Stockings Group are preserved at the Women's History Archives.

Members of the Red Stockings Group were the first visitors to the Archives when they searched for sources on January 5, as noted in the journal of the Archives: "The first four visitors came to the Archives – part of the Red Stockings Group – in search of sources for their various plans for actions during the women’s year, for example regarding working women and work contracts. Likewise, the International Convention and the Declaration."

➜ Older highlights