Siobhan, a member of Harrogate Socialist Party, attended the recent Socialist Women’s Day School in Leeds. The school was part of a global celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March, with Socialist Party members bringing socialist ideas to the struggle against women’s oppression.
Siobhan has written the following report of the meeting:
Women at the frontline of austerity
We discussed the impact of austerity on women, with cuts to Sure Start centres, women’s refuges and rape crisis/domestic violence services. The cuts to public services and welfare also disproportionately affect women.
Women’s work is traditionally in the service sector and the caring professions such as nursing and ancillary care.
Women make up the majority of low-paid workers in Britain and their average wages are more than £20 a week worse off in real terms than they were in 2008. Those working part-time earn 38% less an hour than their male counterparts.
“Destiny’s Child” feminism
We looked at how feminism in today’s capitalist society is a kind of “Destiny’s Child” feminism, with women being led to believe that consumerism represents their emancipation. Miley Cyrus twerking may make her feel “liberated” but it’s not feminism – one woman’s emancipation does not represent the emancipation of all women!
End violence against women!
One in five women will suffer domestic violence in the course of their lives, one in four sexual violence and one in three sexual harassment.
Women and the struggle for socialism
We concluded the day by discussing how our Socialist Party branches can attract more women.
- Petitions/publicity relating to the “Rape is no joke” campaign could be added to stalls
- Socialist women’s groups to be set up in each branch
- Promote Socialist Party literature on specifically women’s issues, e.g. campaign against domestic violence, “Women and the struggle for socialism” pamphlets.
The day school enabled me to meet up with women comrades from across the region. The education sessions and public speaking workshop were really enjoyable and I am now keen to build a socialist women’s group in Harrogate & Knaresborough!