Monday, 2:50pm
8 March 2010

Ms Understood in Whitechapel

Eye looks back at 1970s campaign posters on International Women’s Day

These campaign posters may never have been widely seen, but they should be, writes Sally Jeffery. They are up on the walls again now for ‘Ms Understood’, an exhibition at the Women’s Library in Whitechapel, London now extended until 17 April.

The show charts the launch and exuberant growth of the Women’s Liberation movement in Britain, through photographs, press-cuttings, posters, books, first-hand accounts and even dresses.

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Above: ‘Y B A wife’, poster for a campaign for women’s legal and financial independence, by See Red Women’s Workshop ca. 1976-77.

Top: ‘Take a pill Mrs Brown’, poster for a campaign about the way women were treated for mental illness, by See Red Women’s Workshop ca. 1976.

Sally Jeffery’s full review of the exhibition features in the forthcoming Eye 75, available soon from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop.

Below: ‘Bite the hand’, poster publicising cuts in public services, by See Red Women’s Workshop, ca. 1978


Below: Lentheric Morny Strike, 1974. 290 women at the perfume factory in Tottenham took strike action because they were getting up to £8 less than the lowest male rate. Photograph by Pat Mantle.

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Ms Understood continues at the Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University, 25 Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT until 17 April 2010. Exhibition design by Muf and Objectif.

Eye, the international review of graphic design, is a quarterly journal you can read like a magazine and collect like a book. It’s available from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop, where you can order subscriptions, single issues and classic collections of themed back issues.