Women's Fightback, Feminism

Hollow declarations: a reply to WPUK's letter

The article below replies to a letter by WPUK, which in turn is a response to an article by Workers' Liberty activist Natalia Cassidy, 'Anti-trans feminists blinkered on Tories', and refers to a video by Workers' Liberty activist Zack Muddle, 'Fighting for trans rights in today's labour movement'. The article written by Natalia Cassidy entitled 'Anti-trans feminists blinkered on Tories' was not, in fact, written with Woman's Place UK (WPUK) as an organisation in mind. It was written after seeing swathes of people on social media responding in celebratory fashion at the statement made by Liz...

WPUK response to Natalia Cassidy article

Woman's Place UK wrote to Workers' Liberty requesting that we publish the letter below. It is a response to an article by Workers' Liberty activist Natalia Cassidy, "Anti-trans feminists blinkered on Tories", and refers to a video by Workers' Liberty activist, Zack Muddle, "Fighting for trans rights in today's labour movement". Natalia Cassidy and Zack Muddle replied to the letter below, here. Workers' Liberty champion open debate, and we publish WPUK's letter in that spirit. For more on what we believe on trans rights, see for example "Support trans people's rights!" passed at our 2018...

Anti-trans feminists blinkered on Tories

This article has been responded to by WPUK, which in turn has been replied to here. On 22 April, Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss addressed Parliament's Women and Equalities Select Committee, laying out her priorities. The Tory minister's comments and plans were met with much support from many from socialist feminist backgrounds on the basis that she thought single-sex spaces should be protected (a shorthand to communicate to the relevant audience that trans women will be excluded from accessing services and particular areas of public life). The feminists in question - who subscribe...

Women's Fightback: workers hit by café and pub shutdown

Young workers and women are likely to be the hardest hit by the coronavirus shutdown of businesses such as restaurants, hotels, pubs and retailers. Low earners are seven times as likely as high earners to work in a business sector that has shut down, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Their analysis found a third of the bottom 10% of earners worked in the worst-hit sectors, against one in 20 (5%) of those in the top 10%. Women are about one-third more likely than men to work in a sector that has been shut down, as they make up the bulk of retail and hospitality workers. One in six...

Domestic violence spikes

Nine people died in domestic killings in Britain’s first week of lockdown, following a global trend of increased domestic violence during coronavirus quarantine. The low level of reporting makes statistics on domestic violence unreliable, but domestic violence deaths and police reports are going up. The government has responded saying women can leave their homes to seek help at a refuge, which ignores that many refuges are already struggling to meet need and that many access domestic violence services through something like their child’s school, children’s centre, or library. Sandra Horley CBE...

Rape as a weapon of war

Pietro da Corona's 17th century painting depicts "the rape of the Sabine women" by the early Roman armies. But rape in war is also much more modern. Christina Lamb has been a journalist reporting from war zones for over thirty years. Her book Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Has Done To Women, published by William Collins in 2020, traces the struggle to get rape recognised as a war crime. When Lamb began to submit copy to editors, telling the largely unreported evidence of survivors who told her their stories, her editors would reply that it would be too shocking for their readers to put...

Help for domestic violence victims is a key service

The often-quoted figure is two women a week killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. As we enter a new decade in 2020, the number of women being murdered per week in the UK by an abusive partner or ex-partner has risen to three. A further three women a week commit suicide to escape abuse. Millions of women experience domestic violence every year. We can’t ignore these figures when the government has introduced measures to force people to stay at home. There were increased reports of domestic violence in Wuhan following “lockdown” to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The US...

The feminist issues round "staying home"

More and more of us will be advised or forced to stay home for whole periods, and to stay home longer each week even when we are going to work. We must remember that for many women and children, staying home comes with additional dangers of its own. In the 2015 Ebola outbreak when Sierra Leone shut schools, girls removed from school took on care work and were also at heightened risk of sexual abuse and teen pregnancy. Activist reports and police statistics both report a spike in domestic violence in Wuhan as a result of strict curfews. The New York public school system has announced school...

Who’s “skilled”, who’s “unskilled”?

Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced the government wants to “encourage people with good talent” and “reduce the number of people coming to the UK with low skills”. Rightly, this has provoked a flurry of articles and social media content arguing that the government’s characterisation of care work, which is very badly paid, is ignorant and offensive. Under the proposed point system, people wishing to move to Britain will need 70 points to be eligible. Migrants must have spoken English (10 points) and a job offer from an approved sponsor (20 points) at the skill grade of A-level or above (20...

The socialist history of International Women's Day

International Women’s Day has its roots in some of the most significant moments of our movement’s history. It is our task to remember this history and to turn International Women's Day into a day of strikes and struggle once more. It was at the second International Conference of Socialist Women, held in Copenhagen in 1910, that the idea of an International Women’s Day was first formally agreed. German delegates Luise Zietz and Clara Zetkin brought the proposal in front of a hundred women delegates, from seventeen countries. The resolution read: “In agreement with the class-conscious political...

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