IMMIGRATION ACTION PROJECT: LAUNCH

In 2018 the conference is moving outside London for the first time, and will be held in Manchester.  As an organisation we want to leave a legacy project in each of the towns and cities to which we bring the conference.

FiLiA is launching a pilot project designed to connect asylum-seeking and undocumented women in Manchester with expert legal advice.

The cuts to legal aid combined with the so-called 'hostile environment' have meant that even women with strong cases are left trying to navigate the system unrepresented. For women who may also be struggling with a variety of issues from language barriers to health problems, destitution to domestic abuse, the obstacles to justice seem insurmountable. 

We are looking for solicitors and OISC firms to sign up to our FiLiA Immigration Action Project to defend some of the most vulnerable in the system. Those who work with us will need to be sensitive to women's specific issues within the immigration system, and experienced in fresh claim and Article 8 work.  You would also have a legal aid contract or be willing to offer at least two pro bono cases per year.  

Cases would come via a co-ordinated FiLiA team working with migrant women's groups in Manchester.  Affiliated solicitors would be entitled to display the FiLiA logo to indicate their commitment to women's rights in immigration.

To get involved please contact julian@filia.org.uk.

THE LEGAL OBLIGATIONS ON UK STATE BODIES FOR DECISION-MAKING AND POLICY DEVELOPMENT ON PROSTITUTION

The idea for this document arrived after attending the 10th Anniversary event of EVAW (End Violence Against Women Coalition). The necessary funding was gifted by the Women's Movement. Women gave what they could to support the writing of this legal briefing. Women who have exited the sex industry; academics; activists and those who simply recognise that the sex trade has nothing to do with liberation, and everything to do with sexual objectification and exploitation.
This document belongs to the Women's Movement. Use it where you can.
In Sisterhood and Solidarity,
FiLiA Team

CALL FOR SPEAKERS

We are building our bank of speakers for the conference! Although we are nearly full for the Manchester conference on 20-21 October 2018 we do still have some slots and we are looking for brilliant women of all backgrounds who would be interested in speaking now or in future years - or being involved in our podcasts, continued learning, and collaboration.  Previous speaking experience is not vital. 

If you are interested then please email julian@filia.org.uk with a brief synopsis (no more than 100 words) of what you would want to speak about, along with a brief biography of yourself.

We particularly welcome applications from women from BME backgrounds, working class women, women with disabilities, refugee and migrant women, and other underrepresented groups. 

MAKE FILIA PODCASTS A REALITY

MAKE FILIA PODCASTS A REALITY

We are currently developing FiLiA Podcasts and are seeking these funds to purchase recording equipment.  These will initially take the form of a series of interviews and discussions with wonderful women from around the world, focussing on speakers and workshop leaders from our conferences; activists, artists, academics, revolutionaries and valued voices of experience. 

HEATHER BRUNSKELL-EVANS wants to talk about the idea of ‘trans kids’

As the debate around gender identity intensifies, it seems more and more people are asking questions about the impact of transgender ideology and legislation on women, children, and our understanding of gender under patriarchy, more broadly. At the same time, those who do speak out or challenge the ideology behind the concept of transgenderism (or connected policies and practices) are being punished for doing so.

Listen to Meghan Murphy from Feminist Current interview Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans on this issue.

LINK TO ORIGINAL PODCAST HERE

IN SUPPORT OF HEATHER BRUNSKELL EVANS

FiLiA stands in support of our spokeswoman Heather Brunskell Evans. We were surprised and disappointed by the decision of the Women's Equality Party to remove her as spokeswoman for WEP.  

The trigger for this was Heather's participation in the Moral Maze, on an episode entitled "Defining Gender."  It was, as one would expect on Radio 4, gentle, considered and thought-provoking.  The whole thing can be heard here

During that programme Heather expressed the view that while adults could define their gender in whichever way they see fit, more caution should be exercised when it comes to children.  

We are astonished that such moderate views attracted a complaint to WEP.  This is an issue where there is frequent disagreement, between politicians, between medics, between sociologists, between scientists, as well as within the trans and feminist communities.  Removing a moderate voice from these discussions simply because others disagree with it is dangerous.  

Heather's own statement can be found on her website here.

It is deeply worrying that across political parties, universities and media outlets, traditionally the homes of unafraid opinion, there is complicity with a culture of thought-orthodoxy.  Yet we all know that nobody has ever changed their viewpoint by being told what to think.  Persuasion has always come through reasoned argument, the foundations of which are free speech and free thought.  FiLiA will continue our established principle of encouraging all three.

A WOMEN'S REVOLUTION IN NORTHERN SYRIA FIGHTS FOR ITS LIFE

Guest post by previous FiLiA speaker, Rahila Gupta a freelance journalist and writer

Dear friends,

As you may be aware, a heavily under-reported Kurdish-led feminist revolution organised along the principles of  direct democracy, racial inclusivity, ecological sustainability and a co-op based economy is taking place in Rojava, also known as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, in the middle of death and destruction. 

More background information is available here: The Rojava experiment

After having successfully reduced ISIS to a rump of their former selves, they are now under attack themselves. One of the cantons, Afrin, has been invaded by the Turkish army. Although Turkey is a NATO ally, very little pressure has been exerted by the West on Turkey to withdraw. The war on Afrin is a war on women. 

The women of Rojava are seeking to build links and solidarity with the British feminist movement to find ways in which to secure the future of this fragile revolution. I believe that your history of activism and interest in political struggles places you in an ideal situation to be part of this discussion.

You are invited to a meeting at the House of Commons, Committee Room 3, 6th March at 7pm to help build a Women's Initiative for peace in Afrin. 

Remember the moment of hope that was generated by Nicaragua. Rojava is the revolution for our times. All of our individual dreams and struggles for another world are coming to fruition here.  As a source of hope and inspiration, we should do whatever we can to prevent the bullyboy tactics of aggressor countries like Turkey from putting the boot in.

Hope to see all of you on the 6th. Please RSVP so we have an idea of numbers.

Further information is below.

In solidarity

Rahila Gupta
 

A women’s revolution in Northern Syria fights for its life

We call upon the women of Britain to join us in the Women’s Initiative for Peace in Afrin to be launched in Parliament on 6th March, Committee room 3, House of Commons at 7pm. Please leave 30 minutes to allow for security clearance.

Behind the frontlines in war-torn Syria, the region of Rojava has established, since July 2012, grassroots democratic structures based on the principles of radical democracy, ecology, and women’s liberation. Led by the political system of Democratic Confederalism, the people created communes, assemblies, academies, and cooperatives to organise their daily lives in a secular, multi-cultural, and gender egalitarian manner. An autonomous women’s movement has established women’s social, political, and economic structures to secure a radical transformation of a society shaped by male domination, patriarchy and violence against women. A wide-ranging legislative programme has banned harmful traditional practices such as polygamy, child marriage and forced marriage. The Social Contract of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS) makes the elimination of discrimination against women in all spheres of life a guiding principle. A women’s quota of 40% is enforced in all governance structures while the co-presidency principle ensures that every institution, from the federal administration to the small neighbourhood communes, is chaired equally by a woman and a man.

Despite its ground-breaking assault on patriarchal structures, Rojava gets very little coverage, perhaps because its commitment to true equality is threatening to Western capitalist powers. This is probably the best place in the Middle East to be a woman. Women’s struggles all over the world can take heart from this truly revolutionary society which has achieved so much so quickly.

This relatively peaceful and totally non-sectarian society is under threat from Turkey. On 20 January 2018, the Turkish army and affiliated jihadist gangs launched a war of aggression on Afrin, one of the cantons of DFNS. This cross-border invasion by the Turkish state, cynically labelled “Operation Olive Branch” is a violation of international law. Since the beginning of the operation, hundreds of civilians have been wounded and killed, dozens of homes, schools, and vital infrastructure have been destroyed in the airstrikes and ground invasion.

The War on Afrin is a War on Women. This revolution is your revolution.

We demand:

· immediate end to the attacks on Afrin

· end of arms trade with Turkey

· humanitarian support for Afrin

· independent investigation into war crimes in Afrin

· establishment of a No Fly Zone for the protection of civilians

· support for the democratic forces and peace efforts of the DFNS for a free, democratic Syria

· support for the inclusion of the DFNS in the Geneva peace talks on Syria

THE 50:50 CAMPAIGN: WHAT COMES NEXT FOR WOMEN IN POLITICS?

THE 50:50 CAMPAIGN: WHAT COMES NEXT FOR WOMEN IN POLITICS?

A full century after women were first granted the right to vote, the UK is still being made to suffer a massive imbalance in the political sphere.

Although every election in recent history has broken records in terms of women in government, Westminster is still significantly skewed. Only three out of every ten Members of Parliament are women, while women make up over half of the general population.

HOW WOMEN WON THE VOTE

HOW WOMEN WON THE VOTE

On February 6th 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed by the UK government, signifying a momentous day for women. As well as abolishing many of the property qualifications for male voters, the law included this:

“Women over 30 years old received the vote if they were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency.”

FiLiA VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: GRANTS MANAGER

FiLiA VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: GRANTS MANAGER

FiLiA VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: GRANTS MANAGER
January 2018

 

Who are we looking for?
One of the challenges that we have faced is making our conference as accessible as possible. We have managed in some areas better than others, for example we have always had a creche and speech to text made available. However, we could do better, and this is where you come in. We are looking for a woman to support us with completing funding applications. Our aim is to apply for grants that will allow us to bring the ticket price down, opening the doors to more women on lower incomes.

 

MARKING THE LIVES OF THE WOMEN KILLED BY MEN THIS YEAR

MARKING THE LIVES OF THE WOMEN KILLED BY MEN THIS YEAR

There is no official record or commemoration of women killed by men in the UK, so KAREN INGALA SMITH is taking to social media to remember them

IN JULY 1981, at the first Feminist Conference for Latin American and Caribbean Women in Colombia, November 25 was declared an annual day of protest in memory of three activist sisters Patria, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabel who had been assassinated due to their involvement in efforts to overthrow the fascist government of Rafael Trujillo.