Founding Statement 2006

Statement in support of Feminist Fightback conference, 21 October 2006

Discrimination and exploitation at work, unequal pay, domestic violence, sexual objectification, denial of reproductive rights, rape, racism, war, poverty and religious fundamentalism… The fight for women’s liberation has not yet been won. Women’s rights are everywhere under attack, and yet all over the world women are at the forefront of some of the most inspiring struggles for freedom, equality and social justice – as women’s rights campaigners, as community activists and as workers.

Despite our continued desire for freedom and equality, too many women today feel that feminism doesn’t speak to them.

Too many people think that feminism is about being made to feel guilty for what we do with our bodies or how we express our sexuality; about a group of ‘experts’ telling other women how to live; or about a handful of rich and powerful women getting to ‘the top’. We think feminism is about ordinary women coming together to challenge sexism in their own lives, and to support women around the world demanding their rights.

We want a feminism that fights. A women’s movement that is about activism, not just talk; about grassroots campaigning, not just lobbying; about politics, not just about lifestyle choices; and about liberation for all, not just equality for a privileged few.

The Feminist Fightback conference aims to empower women of all ages to fight back against oppression and exploitation. It is a one day event where women can debate the issues which affect their lives, share their experiences, and, most importantly, develop practical ways in which they can turn feminism into activism.

Supporting individuals include:

Debbie Hollingsworth – Ruskin College students’ union women’s officer
Rachael Ferguson – Sussex University women’s officer
Petra Urwin – SOAS Women’s Society president
Teodora Todorova – Nottingham University women’s officer
Vicki Ward – University of Wales Lampeter women’s officer (Swyddog Merched)
Sofie Buckland – National Union of Students national executive committee
Janine Booth – Hackney TUC president
Kate Ahrens – Leicester Health Unison (pc)
Camila Bassi – Sheffield Hallam University UCU
Beth Aze – Salford Unison
Faz Velmi – T&G South London voluntary sector branch
Houzan Mahmoud – Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (UK)
Surma Hamid – London Metropolitan University
Louise Gold – Sheffield University, NUS Women’s Committee 2004-6
Laura Sterry – Nottingham University
Laura Schwartz – University of East London
Jo Read – NUS Women’s Campaign steering committee
Maddy Evans – Essex University People & Planet
Anna Wolmuth – Oxford University People & Planet
Ruth Cashman – Newcastle University
Ann Marie O’Reilly – People and Planet Steering committee
Charlynne Pullen – Access and Academic Affairs Sabbatical Officer, Oxford University Student Union 2005
Louise McMullen – Amicus
Prof. Barbara Taylor – University of East London
Dr. Amrit Wilson – London Metropolitian University
Pauline Bradley – Shop Steward, West Dunbartonshire Unison Scotland
Hannah Roe – Co-Chair of Women’s Campaign, Oxford University
Prof. Susie Orbach – London School of Economics, author of ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’
Marsha-Jane Thompson – London Unison Young Members’ Convenor
Darcy Leigh – Edinburgh University Scottish Socialist Youth
Sitara Amin Tilly – Alexandra Park Sixth Form, London
Maria Exall – Communication Workers’ Union national executive committee

Supporting organisations:

Education Not for Sale Women
LRC Socialist Youth Network
Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (UK)
No Borders Network
Finsbury Park RMT
TGWU South London Voluntary Branch
RMT Women’s Advisory Committee