Women's Fightback, Feminism

On the social construction of gender

In the lead up to Workers’ Liberty 2018 conference a debate took place in relation to the trans document on the social construction of gender. The comrade who raised this debate withdrew reference to opposing the social construction of gender on the understanding that further debate on the question would follow. Thus far, this debate has not materialised. This article is an attempt to rekindle that debate. For our trans document see: bit.ly/38eGaYZ The principle question raised in the 2018 debate was whether or not we, as revolutionary socialists should be opposed to the social construction of...

RLB, abortion rights and disability

During the Labour leadership contest, Rebecca Long-Bailey answered a questionnaire from the Catholic church in her constituency, saying amongst other things that she personally disagreed with the different term limits for terminating a pregnancy when there is no disability (up to 24 weeks) compared to when there is (up to full-term). Whilst this alone does not make it clear if she personally wants term limits to be removed altogether or for them to be reduced to 24 weeks across the board, in the context of her other comments about abortion in the questionnaire the latter seems more likely...

Catholicism and women's rights

During the current Labour leadership election, Rebecca Long-Bailey (RLB) admitted to holding religious objections to abortion rights based on her Catholicism. Whilst this has not seemed to affect her voting record on this issue, it is concerning that many on the left were so quick to jump to the defence of RLB and Catholicism in general, with some even painting those that voiced concern about the influence of Catholic belief in politics as anti-Irish. Anti-Catholic sentiment in the UK remains a live issue in the North of Ireland as well as in parts of Scotland, and this is certainly rooted, in...

As early as possible, as late as necessary

Our reproductive rights include the right to dignity, information, and bodily autonomy and integrity. In a world where so much of the framework of sexism has been control of women’s sexuality, body, and reproduction, our right to make autonomous decisions about our own body and reproduction is central to our right to physical and psychological integrity. We know that under capitalism there is a limit to the choice and control we have over reproduction, but we push for the greatest possible bodily autonomy. In some places we have seen steps forward in reproductive freedom, most recently the...

Strength and audacity we have never before known

“…the Ford women have definitely shaken the women of the country.” (Rose Boland, one of the leading women in the Equal Pay Strike at Ford Dagenham,1968) “We have achieved more in six weeks than the politicians and trade unions have in years.” (Mary Denness, one of ‘Headscarf Revolutionaries’ who changed health and safety laws for fishermen working on the trawler ships, Hull, 1968 ) “It felt like the culmination of something. It didn’t feel like the absolute beginning.” (Sally Alexander, in an interview 20 years on from the first Women’s Liberation Conference in 1970. Sally was one the two main...

Selina Todd and the Twitter storm

A social media storm broke out after a feminist conference in Oxford on 29 February asked Oxford University historian Selina Todd to hand over her two-minute opening address to a colleague, following threats by some speakers to boycott the event. Todd is associated with Women’s Place UK, which was set up to oppose progressive reform of laws on transgender rights. In a strange twist, WPUK types demanded the AWL immediately denounce the "disinvite". But none of us even knew about the event, let alone had involvement in it! And our position on such things is clear: we support trans rights, but...

Shedding the cloak of invisibility

Analysing and discussing the gender data gaps across employment, transport, car manufacturing, homes, medicine, academic research, and more, in her book Invisible Women: Exposing the Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, Caroline Criado Perez came to the conclusion that there are three themes that define women’s relationship with the world at large. First, the seeming invisibility of the female body and how that invisibility can result in architectural, technological, and medical design which fails to accommodate the needs of women. This can result in prescription of medication that hasn’t...

Fight and a "bit of banter"

In a previous entry I wrote about K, an industrial cleaner who was poisoned by ingesting lime. In the meantime a senior operator retired, leaving space for an assistant to step up, and a vacancy on the assistant’s team. K interviewed for the assistant’s job and (finally) got it. This left room for A, a new recruit, on the cleaning team. A is loud, cheerful, hard-working, and has autism and ADHD. He takes to hoovering the plant and doing sandwich runs energetically. The problem, as well as the sighs and the stupid comments from some, is that his Dad works in the control room. This is a source...

Feminism - AWL conference document 2019/20

As revolutionary socialists, fighting for a society based on human need not profit, Workers’ Liberty has always been serious about being class struggle socialists and feminists. This document - passed at AWL conference 2019 - restates our basic perspectives, and outlines what we should be campaigning around now.

Again on the hijab in primary schools

See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools. I want to respond to Ben Tausz’s contribution to the debate on whether to ban the hijab in primary schools (Solidarity 527). He quotes me as saying “I do not think that you need to have a solution (of how a ban might be enforced) to support a ban”. The problem is, I didn’t say that. I said that I didn’t think you had to have an agreed solution to what the consequence of breaking the ban might be. What, Ben, should the consequence be for those who resist our programme for renationalisation? What should the consequence...

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