BadRep Towers International Women’s Day Signal Boost Party!
This year I asked some of the team to give a shout-out to a relevant project, organisation or intiative.
Sarah J: I’m being a bit cheeky and flagging up something that the charity I work for are doing for International Women’s Day. Womankind Worldwide is hosting a virtual march around the globe to celebrate the international women’s movement, raise awareness of the incredible work our partners do and remind feminists in the UK that we’re part of a powerful, global force for change.
We’ve added an interactive map of the world to our website, with a counter showing how far the march has travelled around the world and how many people have taken part. For everyone that signs up the marker moves 10 miles forward. We need about 2,500 people to get all the way round!
Please stop by www.womankind.org.uk/world to join the march, and show our partners working for women’s rights in Africa, Asia and Latin America that you are with them. You can also leave a message of support for the activists we work with on our Facebook page or by sending us a tweet (@woman_kind) – we will pass all of them on.
Sarah C: JOIN ME ON THE BRIDGE! On 8th March, Women for Women International are asking you to join them on the bridge. All kinds of bridges. All around the UK (there’s a list of events here). Why bridges? Well, it’s about building bridges – geddit? – and proclaiming messages of peace. They are inviting everyone to come and participate or register their own event. I love events like this that reach out across the whole world and make connections. As well as events structured around a good pun.
The key thing for me here is that S word, solidarity. I often rail against the idea that all women need to do such-and-such a thing because they are women or assigned-female-bodied, cos that’s, you know, sexist. But that people – of whatever shape or gender – could get together and show support for women around the world, for a couple of hours, at least? That’s drawing attention to inequality. And as they’ve put it on their Mission Statement: “On International Women’s Day, 8 March, thousands of people will show that they are with the women of Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and other war-torn countries.”.
Hannah: The organisation I’d like to give a big shout-out to is Southall Black Sisters, an organisation by and for Black and Asian women which began in 1979 in the aftermath of the death of Blair Peach (an anti-facist protestor who died from police violence). Since then SBS has changed and expanded its remit to fit the needs of those around it – specifically as advocates of womens’ rights, supporting women suffering from domestic violence and campaigning against religious fundamentalism. The role of SBS as a support group especially for ethnic minority women is especially important as women of colour often face different pressures (see their forced marriages campaign) and specialised services are needed.
Southall Black Sisters first came to my attention at a London Feminist Network meeting in 2010 and they’re regulars at Fawcett Society gatherings and marches, too. Their speakers have always been bright, warm, engaging and utterly unwavering in their points, unfazed by the battles they have ahead. Working at grassroots level, the SBS have their fingers on the pulse and report to people in power – they have been invited to speak at the Home Office and the UN.
In 2007 SBS faced funding cuts from Ealing Council which would have closed all SBS’s operations. The council claimed argued that their services were no longer necessary due to ‘Social Cohesion’ – SBS fought this in the high court citing the Race Relations Act and their victory has set a legal precedent for other ethnic minority support groups facing cuts – an especially important victory as so many charities and support networks are squeezed and so many women and ethnic minorities feel the force of the cuts deeper them others.
Me (Miranda): Following on from that, I’m gonna get on my political crate for a moment here too and mention that International Women’s Day has its roots in socialism. It was founded by Clara Zetkin under the name International Working Women’s Day. It came from the labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century, and in a year when government cuts have put women at a twenty-five year high for unemployment figures, I think this is something that it pays to bear in mind. Opposing these cuts – to our NHS, to our jobs, to our libraries, to our working lives – is vital as far as I’m concerned because they enforce and underline systemic inequalities and limit our power to do something about them. Denise Marshall handed back her OBE just over a year ago on this very point.
All of which is to say: nope, Dave, SHAN’T “calm down, dear” and my recommended Thing I Am Doing is probably “yelling at Parliament about these cuts at every possible opportunity” because I believe that absolutely is a feminist issue – the NHS for example is a major employer of women, of whom I am one, aside from the obvious issue of service cuts! In terms of being more specifically-IWD, there’s also the Women’s Resource Centre, and as has been well documented, I really dig the Red Pump Project over in the USA.
- What are you doing this IWD?