Women's Fightback, Feminism

Women say: “Not OK Google”

On Thursday 1 November, thousands of Google workers staged an international walk-out to protest against the company’s handling of sexual harassment. Thousand of workers from cities as far apart as New York, London, Berlin, Zurich, Singapore, Tokyo and more, took part. Many of them took to the streets, or gathered in squares and parks holding placards with slogans like “O.K. Google, really?”. The action followed revelations that Google had paid millions of dollars in exit packages to male executives found to have committed sexual harassment and had covered up the incidents. Most notably Google...

Brazil: rising of the women

Three weeks before the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections now won by the fascistic Jair Bolsonaro, some 150,000 people, the majority women, took to the streets in Brazil to declare their opposition. In London protests against Bolsonaro have also been mainly women. They rebel against Bolsonaro’s aggressive sexism and his disregard for democracy. Advance estimates of the second round poll on 28 October were that although Bolsonaro would win (as he did), he would be in a clear minority among women. The anti-Bolsonaro women’s movement now needs our solidarity in its efforts to win...

The issues behind the Glasgow equal pay strike

Up to 8,000 Glasgow City Council workers, members of the GMB and Unison, took part in last week’s two-day equal pay strike. For 48 hours only emergency cover was available in home care services. Primary schools and nursery schools were closed. Secondary schools were open, but without a school-meals service. Workers in Glasgow’s four refuse and recycling centres refused to cross picket lines, bringing refuse collection to a halt for the duration of the strike. Some parking attendants and museum and libraries staff also refused to cross picket lines. The strike – the largest equal pay strike in...

Letters: In defence of ‘cis’; Making things up since 1930

The use of the term cisgender (hereafter cis) has been a matter of some discussion within the Workers’ Liberty. There has been some discussion suggesting that the term has become a term used by trans people or other advocates of trans rights to invalidate and silence those that disagree with their view. Before addressing this argument, it is important to first define what it exactly we mean by cis, particularly given the deficiency of some attempted definitions. Some argue that cis people are those who feel “at ease” or “comfortable” with their socially assigned gender, whilst others argue...

Where are the women in physics?

Physics pervades our lives, not just in the experiences of gravity, momentum, heat and cold that our ancestors would have felt but with the engines, electricity, communications and computing that are now taken for granted. The laws of physics have been elucidated by a group of people unknown for much of human history - scientists - and this group has been largely, but not entirely, male, the balance changing slowly throughout the last century. Women are still under-represented in physics, research, teaching, and industry, relative to their proportion in the general population - that is beyond...

Harassment on the Tube

With a recent reported rise in sexual assault and harassment on public transport, we publish an abridged version of a speech made by Janine Booth at an event organised by Islington Labour Party women’s forum. I have worked on London Underground for twenty-one-and-a-half years. Throughout that time, sexual assault and harassment against women passengers and staff have been a constant presence. And now we have Night Tube. It’s a great job, and mostly passengers are great – mostly they’ve had a night out, had a great time, maybe had one too many, and we help them get home. However, a minority of...

Lily Parr, a footballing great

Lily Parr (26 April 1905 – 24 May 1978) is a working class LGBT icon and was one of the greatest footballers of all time. The upheaval of the social order during and after the First World War is well documented, but less known is its profound effect on football. There was a major surge of participation and interest in women’s football when large numbers of working-class women entered the workplace, including munitions factories in which Parr worked during the war. In those factories in places such as Coventry, women lived in on-site houses and football teams emerged, organised on a factory-by...

Women rise up against Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro [the leader in the race to be president of Brazil] is known as the man of three Bs. B for Bala, the army bullets. Jair Bolsonaro was trained in a Brazilian military school during the dictatorship. He came into politics through campaigning to increase officers’ salaries. In 2016, he dedicated the vote he cast in parliament in favour of impeaching Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s elected president standing in for Lula (Workers’ Party, PT), to the recently deceased colonel Ustra, who had tortured Dilma Roussef as a young guerrilla. According to Jair Bolsonaro this is ethical, the way the...

Student news: reading groups and strike ballots

Workers’ Liberty students have been busy running stalls at Freshers Fairs across the country in the last month. We are organising campus meetings on left antisemitism as well as weekly reading groups, some on our new book In Defence of Bolshevism. Alongside other student activists who attended last month’s Student Activist Weekender, we are busy campaigning for a yes vote in the UCU pay ballot. Email us if you’d like a copy of the National Student Left Bulletin, produced by attendees of the Student Activist Weekender. On November 17-18, student activists from across the country will come...

Stop Sexual Harassment and Assault on Public Transport

In July, I spoke at an event organised by Islington Labour Party women’s forum, called ‘Keeping women and girls safe in Islington’. There were various speakers from community organisations, the council and the police, plus workshops on domestic abuse, sexual harassment, hate crime, gangs and bullying. My job was to speak about harassment and violence against women on public transport. I work on the Night Tube in the borough of Islington – but of course I made it clear that I was not speaking on behalf of Transport for London! I’m active in the RMT trade union, and am also Trade Union Officer...

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