Feminist Activist Forum
Posted by charliegrrl on December 20, 2007
Feminist Activist Forum is a new forum for feminist activism, set up by feminists at Ladyfest Leeds in 2007. The aim is to create a vibrant feminist activist network, that creates bridges between various feminist standpoints, is inter-generational and challenges all forms of oppression that women experience. So far there have been forums all over the country, with the next one being in London 26th January.
I went to the most recent one. I have to say it was brilliant. The main action points we discussed were:
Everyone in the group, and I hope you can too, is emailing their MP via They Work for You, to ask them to support the pro-choice amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill passing through Parliament. The amendments aim to get rid of the necessity for a woman to have two doctors’ signatures to allow her to have an abortion and to make abortion easier in the early stages. We are also asking our MPs to speak against the anti-abortion amendments aiming to curtail the time limit in which women can have an abortion. Please email your MP, as they are discussing this in Parliament and it is so important that they hear our voices and demands.
We have set up a working group to campaign against the closure of rape crisis centres. We feel that feminists should be supporting local rape crisis and violence against women services, as they are under threat from lack of funding. So many have closed down so far, and we can’t let anymore close. This group is soon to meet in Leeds to discuss plans. Please sign the petition calling for the governement to end the postcode lottery for violence against women services.
We heard from a woman seeking asylum about her experience of living in Britain and of the immigration system. Women who have fled torture and rape are being deported back to their country of origin. When they are in Britain, they are treated as criminals by the immigration system and can be imprisoned in detention centres for indefinate periods of time, with limited representation. Feminists are organising action against the racist and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and against detention centres.
We also discussed women-only spaces as there has been great divide about whether women-only spaces should include transgendered people. This discussion was excellent and there was a sense of commitment to create unity between feminists of different opinions about trans-inclusivity- rather than the usual polarisation of groups and in-fighting. This day was an excellent example of how when feminists can come together and work through differences for the greater good of the women’s movement.
I recommend if anyone can, to attend the next forum in London 26th January, venue to be confirmed on website.