JULIE LONGDEN (UNITY BUILDERS)

I grew up on council estates in Bradford and still live in the community.
I am an activist and anti-poverty and anti-racist campaigner and I have a youth and community degree from Bradford University (2008)
I have worked in factories, as a hospital cleaner and care worker.
As a volunteer, I ran play groups and I am a founder member of Hope Rising Action Group, campaigning against austerity.
I have worked for a Young Peoples Housing Project, as a Community Health Development worker and also worked as a Volunteer Coordinator and Community Worker.
Currently, I work at Bradford Community Broadcasting radio station, where I am the Engagement Worker for Marginalised Communities.

CLAIRE HEUCHAN

CLAIRE HEUCHAN

BLACK WOMEN’S CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING GROUP

A consciousness raising group for Black women, providing a safe environment for radically honest discussion of about race, gender, and power. By sharing our experiences as Black women, and connecting the dots between the personal and political, we will build Black feminist consciousness.

This session is by and for women of African and Caribbean descent, recognising our specific needs in a society that is racist and sexist

HARRIET WISTRICH

HARRIET WISTRICH

This panel will discuss ways in which feminists can use the law to hold the state to account on violence against women and girls building on the work of the Centre for Women’s Justice which undertakes strategic litigation against criminal justice agencies and increases access to justice. We promote a collaborative way of working drawing promoting cooperation between lawyers and survivors, activists, campaigners, frontline services and other experts.

MARIE-CLAIRE FARAY

Marie-Claire Faray is a Multilingual Post Graduate Research Scientist and Freelance Consultant, with 20 years’ experience in working on women's rights in Africa, with a special interest in Women’s reproductive health/rights and medical information. MCF developed an approach using the promotion of social cohesion, equity and gender cohesion (necessary for peace, justice and human security), as an intrinsic strategy to promote gender equality and the rights of women in Africa, in order to address/end violence against women. MCF has edited, published and contributed to various articles and reports on human security, gender inequality, women's rights in Africa, especially on the D.R.Congo. Member of COMMON CAUSE UK / DRC, a platform and social enterprise of Congolese women. Member of the UK Section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), active in the Voices of African Women Campaign of UK WILPF. Collaborate actively with the UK coalition movements of the Million Women Rise, and Rape Crisis England and Wales. Advocates for peace and justice, and for the implementation of CEDAW, the Maputo Protocol on the rights/participation of Women in Africa as well as the UN Resolutions on "Women, Peace and Security. Marie-Claire holds a MSc in Medical Microbiology from the LSHTM and undertook a PhD program at Queen Mary University of London.

LINKS

WILPF – VOICES OF AFRICAN WOMEN

WILPF

TWITTER

TWITTER MARIE-CLAIRE

RAPE CRISIS

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MERLY ÅSBOGÅRD

MERLY ÅSBOGÅRD

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LAW THAT WAS NEVER IMPLEMENTED

Last year the Swedish “sexbuyers law” celebrated 20 years. The Swedish government is quick to let people know from all around the world what a great success it is.

Sadly, the truth is another story. Yes; it is criminal to buy sex but the people in prostitution, mainly women has received little or no help to leave prostitution. When we try to file reports, we are being heavily discriminated against. The stigma is alive and well because we never implemented the other side of the law which was caring for the victims of prostitution.

Not implementing the law meant that it was up to Government officials and municipal bodies to have their own opinion regarding if help was there duty, it often meant no help at all.

We are now trying to change that.

YASMIN REHMAN

YASMIN REHMAN

IS POLYGAMY A CONDUCIVE CONTEXT FOR VIOLENCE AND ABUSE OF WOMEN AND GIRLS?

Polygamy is practiced by many traditional and faith communities across the world. It is not limited to Islam or Muslims. Polygyny is by far the most common form of polygamy or plural marriage, in which one man is simultaneously married to several wives.

My presentation will be based upon research I have undertaken over the past 7 years examining the lived experiences of women, men and children who are, or have been in a polygamous household in the UK.

The experiences I will share at conference examines the practice from the perspectives of those who have ‘chosen’ to enter into such unions and those who did not. It will also include the testimonies of adults who grew up in polygamous households and how this has impacted upon their lives and their views of this practice.

SUSAN MATTHEWS

SUSAN MATTHEWS

HOW THE GENDER IDENTITY WORKBOOK CREATES GENDER DYSPHORIA

I will show how the new genre of gender identity workbook effectively creates a new consciousness within its readers, creating anxiety and developing an obsession with the concept of gender which is understood as biologically innate. I will also argue that the cultural authority of gender ideology is based on a misreading of key theorists.

HEATHER BRUNSKELL-EVANS

HEATHER BRUNSKELL-EVANS

INVENTING THE TRANSGENDER CHILD: MEDICINE AND THE LAW

Heather will describe how the rationale for ‘transgendering’ children has grown out of the idea that ‘gender identity’ is pre-social. The new proposition (from transgender ideology) that ‘gender identity’ is an inherent, ‘born’ property is not a scientifically established fact but a disputed concept with a political history. The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock has at its core the issue of ‘gender identity’ defined by transgender theory and lobbying. The GIDS, along with changes to the law, has thus helped invent ‘the transgender child’ within the political, psycho-dynamic forcefield of transactivism and transgender theory

SADIA HAMEED

SADIA HAMEED

FAITH AND HONOUR

There are two concepts that govern the lives and bodies of women from communities that have an honour-based ethos, Sadia will be unpacking the two. She will briefly explore the history of honour and how faith-based communities tapped into an existing system to further abuse women’s liberties.

The toxic relationship of faith and honour has stolen much from the lives of women.

SHEELA SARAVANAN

SHEELA SARAVANAN

SURROGACY IMPACT ON WOMEN IN INDIA, AGENCY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

India had become one of the most important global surrogacy destination until commercial surrogacy was banned in September 2015. I conducted one study on surrogacy in India in 2009-10 and a follow-up study in February 2019. This study aimed at examining the human and child rights violations in the surrogacy practice and the physical, psychological and emotional impact of surrogacy on 45 surrogate mothers and their family members.

Some of the key findings of this study were that; several illegal, inhuman and unethical surrogacy practices was rampant. Some serious violations of human rights are taking place; women are detained in surrogate homes against their wishes, their body and integrity is violated, illegal sex selective abortions are being performed, none of the surrogate mothers were given a copy of their contract, the manner in which the children have been relinquished is crude and without the consent of the surrogate mothers; eventually all surrogate mothers are compulsorilyalienated from the babies born. Almost all surrogate mothers perceived surrogacy as a form of slavery. This study revealed that women from very poor households have had to repeat surrogacy at least two times to bring the family out of poverty. This was at the cost of their physical and psychological well-being. Health, education and housing was the main reason to do surrogacy in India. The Government of India needs to provide cost-efficient housing, education and health care for the poor, as an utmost priority

JULIE BINDEL

JULIE BINDEL

SURROGACY IS PATRIARCHAL VIOLENCE

Surrogacy is increasingly presented as a procedure that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. 

But its accelerating use by gay couples is no victory for freedom or emancipation. On the contrary, the “gaybe revolution” has brought a disturbing slide into the brutal exploitation of women, who usually come from the developing world and often are bullied or pimped into renting their wombs to satisfy the selfish desires of wealthy Westerners. This cruelty is accompanied by epic hypocrisy. People from Europe and the United States who would shudder at the idea of involvement in human or sex trafficking are themselves indulging in a grotesque form of “reproductive trafficking.” 

 

What’s more, their support for this vicious business exists alongside the shameful neglect of abandoned or abused children in their own countries. Even as commercial surrogacy has become fashionable, child welfare authorities face increasing difficulty finding foster or adoptive parents for the many thousands of children languishing in residential care. This amounts to a deepening crisis in fostering and adoption in Britain and the United States.

RENATE KLEIN

RENATE KLEIN

WHY WE NEED TO ABOLISH SURROGACY RATHER THAN REGULATE IT

Surrogacy is a global phenomenon with poor countries in the South like India, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia providing the ‘breeders’ to baby buyers in the rich global North (and Australia/New Zealand). More recently, these countries have closed their doors to foreigners who are now turning to poor East European countries like Ukraine and Russia. Surrogacy violates the rights of ‘surrogates’ (also called gestational carriers, both misogynist labels) who have the task to grow a baby from their own blood and bones only to relinquish it after an often dangerous pregnancy and difficult birth. It also violates the rights of egg ‘donors’ – always required when two gay men want to acquire a baby with half of their own genetic material. Egg donation is dangerous and can leave the woman with serious ill health (e.g. cancer) and loss of her own fertility. Moreover, in most cases she will never know the child to whom she is the genetic mother. And what about the child? Has s/he ever asked to be a take-away baby, specifically conceived for money or love (in so-called altruistic surrogacy) to be removed at birth from their mother and given to foreigners who are now supposed to be her/his parents? Surrogacy is fundamentally wrong and therefore cannot be regulated at this only cements its existence. Abolition is the only way to go.

SUNITI NAMJOSHI

SUNITI NAMJOSHI

WRITERS NEED READERS WHO NEED PUBLISHERS WHO NEED WRITERS AND READERS …

It took me a while to realise that what I thought was the Cause was really the Market Segment from a sales viewpoint.

I wrote this poem some years ago.

To Be a Poet

Saying that this was what it felt like to put
the right foot forward, and then the left, saying
that this was the taste of morning porridge,
that of milk, and this other of a niggling
but persistent pain, saying —
that, I suppose, was what was distinctive —
being unable to keep my mouth shut,
my mind from working. But a poet lives
like any other creature, talks perhaps
more than is normal, her doom no brighter,
nor her death less dismal than any other.

A poem rises between the writing of it and the reading of it. For a poem to live both writer and reader are needed. And for a poem to be read, a publisher is needed. The process can be idealistic or commercial or both. For some writing is a vocation, not a career. Reading is engaging with a text, not mindlessly consuming it.
And publishing is a service to society, not a means of making millions. But it’s the language of commerce that usually governs the three-way relationship between writer, reader and publisher; and it’s in trying to produce good work that is commercially viable that difficulties arise.

Suniti Namjoshi

SUSAN HAWTHORNE

SUSAN HAWTHORNE

BIBLIODIVERSITY AT THE HEART OF RADICAL FEMINIST PUBLISHING

Renate Klein and I co-founded Spinifex Press in 1991. In the decade before that we had each been involved in organising around and writing about multiple oppressions: what is today called 'intersectional' or 'diversity'. So when we started Spinifex Press we immediately set about building a list that was radical feminist and through which we published books on class, race, Indigenous issues, disability, lesbians, multiculturalism and age (not in any particular order). I heard the word 'bibliodiversity' in 2007 and knew this word also applied to our publishing program. We publish books that challenge the status quo in all these areas with special focus on violence against women through pornography, prostitution, violence by men in the home, surrogacy, torture, violence against women in poverty as well as the varieties of violence against the planet through war, globalisation, capitalism and environmental destruction. I will talk about the joys of being a radical feminist publisher as well as the additional challenges