Women's Fightback no.7, February-March 2011

A great awakening

Elaine Jones begins a four-part history of the role of women workers and socialist activists in the Russian Revolution.

The role played by working class and socialist women in the 1917 Russian revolution highlights many important lessons for socialists. What were the political events that shaped the involvement of women in the Russian revolutionary movement? What kind of women got involved? What change did the Russian revolution bring for women? Why did some socialists organise among working-class women?

Big society has a big cost for women

The “Big Society” is central to the Tories’ election campaign and ConDem coalition government policy. Instead of services being provided by an “inhuman, monolithic” state, communities can run their own post offices, schools, libraries, transport services, and housing projects.

Women of Hull Against the Cuts

With a grand total of one woman regularly attending the local trade union organised anti-cuts committee and only a handful active in the student movement in Hull, the need for women to organise collectively here is dramatic!

One of the few women’s centres in Hull has just had a 100 percent funding cut and is quietly preparing to close. The work it does around sex education in an area with one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe and the help it gives women leaving violent relationships and its nursery are being replaced with… nothing.

Stop the cuts that will kill women

I work as a domestic violence worker for a central London health trust. Before the prospect of any cuts, the refuges and domestic violence services I work with were already under pressure — not able to meet demand for their services, the refuges never having to wait to fill a room. Now it is and will become much worse.

Women fleeing violence arrive in the small hours, often with children, few possessions, still carrying evidence of their latest injuries; unable to tell anyone where they were, to have visits from family and friends, often not trusting family and friends.

Solidarity with Palestinian women workers

At the end of November, members and friends of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty took part in a ten-day delegation to Israel and Palestine. We visited Palestinian activists resisting the Israeli occupation, Israelis supporting them and workers’, women’s, youth and left organisations in both countries.

On the last leg of our delegation we were invited to the Second General Conference of Women for the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), who organise around 300,000 public and private sector workers.

Give sexism the red card

The recent sacking of sexist Sky Sports presenter, Andy Gray, is a step forward for feminism. But, it’s not without limitations.

Gray was dismissed from his seven-figure salary job after he and fellow presenter Richard Keys agreed, off-air before a Premier League Match, that assistant referee Sian Massey and women generally “probably don’t know the offside rule”.

Making our voice heard in the unions

In January Janine Booth became the first ever woman to be elected to the London Transport seat on the National Council of Executives of the railworkers union, the RMT. Becky Crocker spoke to Janine about the election and organising women in a male-dominated industry.

JB: Several women members have contacted me to say my election has given them a boost and made them feel there is a place for them in the union.

NUS Women's Officer: vote socialist feminist!

At the Women’s Conference of the National Union of Students (15-17 March), Jade Baker will be standing for National Women’s Officer. She explains why…

“I’m standing as an anti-cuts activist, proud supporter of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and a revolutionary socialist feminist.

“I want to see NUS lead the student revolt against cuts and fees, not sell it out, and the Women’s Campaign should be at the forefront of this fight.

For a national network of women fighting the cuts

In Merseyside, London, Hull and elsewhere Women Against the Cuts groups have been formed in response to the Tory/Liberal cuts. Other already existing groups — such as Feminist Fightback in London and Newcastle Claimants Group have also been working on how the cuts affect women.

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