Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Liza Cowan collection, c. 1970s


Liza Cowan collection, c. 1970s


Lesbian Separatism


The 1970’s saw the rise of Feminist Separatism, a movement which advocated for women to center other women in all aspects of their lives, and sometimes, live separately from men as a way to liberate themselves from the patriarchy. The movement gained popularity with lesbian feminists as it aligned with their beliefs that women should focus their efforts and beliefs towards their fellow women instead of men. They often advocated that the logical result of feminism was lesbianism. This is why the movement is also known as Lesbian Separatism.

Liza Cowan is a prominent member of the Lesbian Separatism movement. Over the years, she has amassed a collection of various radio shows that talk about the Feminist Separatism movement, from both lesbian and heterosexual perspectives. This collection features key activists such as Rita Mae Brown, Mary Daly, and Margaret Sloan-Hunter.

This collection includes recordings of Feminist Radio Network programs, Radio Free Women programs, and assorted recordings of talks, interviews, and performances.

In addition to radio shows, Cowan hosted and produced many podcasts as well as founded and edited several lesbian magazines including Dyke, A Quarterly. She met her longtime partner, musician Alix Dobkin, after Dobkin experienced frustrations with her role as a housewife and began engaging with counterculture media. Dobkin wrote to Cowan after listening to an interview Cowan had conducted with feminist Germaine Greer and Cowan invited Dobkin on the program to perform. The two women fell in love and entered an extended partnership. Together they unintentionally revived the historic slogan, “The Future is Female”, after an old picture Cowan took of Dobkin sporting a shirt with the slogan gained traction on social media.

For more information on Dobkin, see her New York Times obituary.


Liza Cowan




Recordings in this collection are not to be used for publication without the express written consent of Liza Cowan. Contact the Lesbian Herstory Archive for Liza Cowan’s contact information.


27 .wav files


27 1/4 Inch Audio Tapes






United States


Donated from Liza Cowan to the Lesbian Herstory Archives on June 21, 1997.

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