A Space for Women

Changing Society and Feminism in Finnish Women’s Magazines in the 1960s and 1970s

A Space for Women – The New Study Has Started

In the research project A Space for Women, we study the role of Finnish women’s magazines in the public and political discussion of women’s position in the 1960s and 1970s. We analyze how women’s magazines reacted to the social changes related to women’s lives and social role, and how women’s magazines discussed issues that were central to the contemporary feminist movement. Previous research on Finnish women’s magazines has demonstrated that throughout their history, magazines have published a substantial amount of political material. The women’s magazines of the pre-WWII era also had close contacts with the women’s rights movement.

In the Space for Women project, we focus on the 1960s and 1970s when Finnish society underwent several changes due to rapid modernization, urbanization, and the building of the welfare state. Women’s social role changed as the number of women in paid employment increased. The 1960s and 1970s were also characterized by political activism. The contemporary feminist movement called for the improvement of women’s position in the labor market, the liberalization of abortion, and more attention to feminine values and spheres in society.

The research questions are:  

1) How did women’s magazines define women’s social role in the 1960s and 1970s? 

2) What was the relationship between women’s magazines and the contemporary feminist movement(s)?  

3) What kinds of differences were there between different kinds of women’s magazines? 

We understand “women’s magazine” as an umbrella concept that includes all magazines that discuss women and are targeted to women. Our research material includes both commercial women’s magazines and the bulletins of various women’s organizations, including women’s associations of political parties.

The research is conducted at the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. The project is funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.

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