Women's Fightback 20, winter 2014

What's wrong with "identity politics"?

Published on: Fri, 21/11/2014 - 12:57

Lynn Ferguson

“The personal is political” was one of the main slogans of the women’s movement of the late 60s and early 70s. It meant making “personal” issues into issues for collective action; telling women that their problems were not just a matter of personal inadequacies, but part of a social oppression directed against all women; and enlarging socialist ideas with a wider humanism.

With the ebb of the movement, the slogan has been inverted: the political is personal.

This is obviously so for the versions of radical feminism concerned with “releasing our Selves” and asserting the hidden “Cosmic

Two women every week

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 13:38

Janine Booth

In England and Wales, women are killed by current or former male partners at the rate of two a week. Thanks to Counting Dead Women for its work in telling these truths.

One hour in every eighty-four
Another body hits the floor
A hundred women every year
Killed by one they once held dear Nine a month, four a fortnight
Do these figures sound too forthright?
Facts don’t lie; the truth will speak — Two women every week

So where were you one week ago? At home, at work, or on the go?
The seven sunsets passed since then
Saw two more women’s living end
At hands of those who hands they’d hold Who

Malala Yousafzai: activist, feminist and socialist

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 13:30

Vijay Jackson

Recently, the Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai was much-deservedly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous stand against the Taliban’s oppression of women.

She was jointly awarded the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian activist who fought against child labour. In a year of stiff (but more controversial) competition from whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, Malala’s award is a change from recent years in which the Nobel committee has been criticised, such as Obama’s pre-emptive 2009 Peace Prize given before even a full year in office, and during

Pro choice campaigners in Ireland take the pill train

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 13:23

Campaigners took a train to Belfast and back to Dublin on 28 October to bring non-surgical medical abortion pills into Ireland where they are illegal. The action recreated a similar one taken in the 1970s to bring the contraceptive pill to Ireland.

Ireland’s “8th amendment” recognises the right to life of an unborn child and equates it with the right to life of the mother. Abortion is also classed as illegal under the Offences Against the Person Act. Many women travel to mainland UK to gain access to abortion. However campaigners say that with increasing austerity, women who cannot afford to

Teaching men to sexually abuse to attract women...what?

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 13:18

Rachael Barnes

A petition, launched on Saturday, calling for the denial of a visa to American “pick-up artist” Julien Blanc, has been signed by nearly 25,000 people. Blanc has already been removed from Australia, for organising a tour of seminars “teaching” men how to prey on women by “short-circuiting their emotional and logical mind”. His seminars and Youtube videos are not only verbally derogatory to women, but are racist and contain solid evidence of him harassing and sexually assaulting women.

He provides tips on how to overcome LMR (last minute resistance [to sex]). Similar social media campaigns,

How do we fight back?

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 09:14

Gemma Short

Gemma short reviews everyday sexism by Laura Bates

Everyday Sexism is based on a project which collected hundreds of thousands of stories, anecdotes and testimonials from women, contributed via Twitter and the everyday sexism blog.

These make for uncomfortable reading. Many of the testimonials speak of explicit and violent sexual assault. Much of it makes you angry. It is a condensed reflection of sexism in all areas of society.

The Everyday Sexism project was set up in 2012. By 2013 it had over 50,000 entries. Now it has 177,000 followers on Twitter. The project expanded quickly and has

Feminism is cool now, but where are the politics?

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 09:01

Beth Redmond

The number of young women openly calling themselves feminists is, in my experience, constantly increasing.
In the four years between me starting university and now, the attitude of a large number of student women has shifted dramatically, for the better, but there is an exceptional way to go yet.

Feminist is a word that has been positively banded around in pop culture outlets solidly for the last year or two. When celebrities are interviewed for magazines, television shows and newspapers, “are you a feminist?” will often be asked, and the answer is usually yes. Beyonce recently performed at

Austerity cuts closing refuges

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 08:56

Rosalind Robson

Refuges across in England and Wales are being shut down as money for domestic violence services are cut and the national network of specialist safe houses is under threat.

The threat comes from the competitive tendering process being adopted by local authorities. According to refuge workers this process is weighted towards larger housing associations and businesses, money is being channeled to preventative work, and for some councils is directed away from specialist refuges for women, because they do not take in men (although 89% of violence is directed at women, by men). Another issue is that

Violence is not "part of the job"

Published on: Thu, 20/11/2014 - 08:48

Becky Crocker

25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Both the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the European Transport Workers’ Federation have publicly marked this day and raised the profile of their ongoing campaigns to tackle violence and harassment against women who work in the transport industry. The UK Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will mark this year’s day with a meeting for all women trade unionists and allies.

The core of the international campaign in the transport industry is to raise awareness among all workers of all genders

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