Fight on, Sisters

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Fight on, Sisters

Song lyrics

By: Carol Hanish

Date: 1978

Source: Hanish, Carol. "Fight on Sisters," in Fight on Sisters: And Other Songs for Liberation. Franklin Printing, 1978.

About the Author: Carol Hanish, who coined the phrase "the personal is the political," was one of the key organizers of the 1968 Miss America protest by feminists. Her song "Fight on Sisters" was published in 1978 as part of a larger collection of protest songs—all paying homage to the feminist movement.


Like Helen Reddy's 1972 song "I Am Woman," the lyrics for "Fight On Sisters" celebrate the triumphs and milestones of the feminist movement, such as the 1968 Miss America Pageant Protest and the vocal disruption of a government panel discussing abortion. The song reminds the listener that not every fight for women's rights has been peaceful, dainty, or within standard social guidelines of feminine behavior.


Fight on, Sisters

When we started this movement 'bout ten years ago
Men laughed and said that it never would grow
But we raised up our voices and we let 'em know
Fight on, sisters, fight on.


Fight on sisters, fight on
Fight on sisters, fight on
Our power will grow and our dreams will be won
If we fight on, sisters, fight on.


Our foremothers visions would not let them rest
They fought for their freedom from the east to the west
They won some hard battles; we must win the rest
So fight on, sisters, fight on.


Telling the truth about sex, love, and men
We examined our lives and again and again
It was male supremacy we found we must end
So fight on, sisters, fight on.


The bosses claim women just aren't qualified
To work at the good jobs for which we applied
But we talked to each other and found out they lied
Fight on, sisters, fight on.
The Miss America Pageant we did protest
The curlers, the girdles, high heels and the rest
That torture a woman—our real self is best
Fight on, sisters, fight on.


We disrupted a hearing on abortion reform
Telling the panel—14 men and a nun
That WE are the experts; our bodies our own
We fight on, sisters, fight on.


We know as we knew we must do it alone
The war for our freedom can never be won
Unless we grasp hold and make it our own
Fight on, sisters, fight on.


We've made some mistakes now and don't get it wrong
The forces against us are wily and strong
But we're getting' smarter as we go along
And fight on, sisters, fight on.


Now some say the problem is all in our head
While others proclaim that our movement is dead
But we'll rise up again, our anger still red
And we'll fight on, sisters, fight on.



As the lyrics state, women were frequently criticized for protesting, speaking out in public, and challenging accepted social roles. At the time this song was written, women were expected to be diligent wives and mothers, and any work outside the home should be for charity or community gain—most certainly not for political, educational, or economic gain.

In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress, but it failed to be ratified by a majority of states and never became law. The Women's Movement did not end with the failure of the ERA, however. Labor groups like the Glass Ceiling Commission, for example, drafted plans to encourage corporations place women in leadership roles. And just as women have made significant social and political strides, gay and transgender individuals have begun to demand equality as well. Thus, the fight for equal treatment has given voice to a number of gender and lifestyle orientations.



Kerber, Linda K. No Constitutional Right to be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship. New York: Hill and Wang, 1999.

Evans, Sara M. Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America. New York and London: The Free Press, 1989.

Pinello, David R. Gay Rights and American Law. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Web sites

Equal Rights Advocates. "Equal Rights and Economic Opportunities for Women and Girls" 〈〉 (accessed April 16, 2006).

Human Rights Campaign. "Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equal Rights" 〈〉 (accessed April 16, 2006).