17th February 2018 – Fourth Meeting Summary

Here is the summary of minutes from 17th February meeting. Thanks everyone for attending!

We organise our actions according to the goals laid out in our mission statement – to BACK UP/ELEVATE/ORGANISE. Take a look here for our thinking on this: https://feministsworkforchange.com/

Back Up: Art in West Midlands Women’s Refuges

Members are looking into how we can work with women in refuge in an art context through an application to Arts Council England through Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/projectgrants.

One member who works for a local arts organisation is also in the process of applying for a small grant to work with mums and children in refuge through their families work, with a view to putting in a more substantial bid for a bigger project at a later date.

We have also been asked to support the work of a member by helping to deliver further workshops with asylum seekers as well as women in refuge. The next workshop is scheduled for April 6th, and it would also be good to have one sooner if possible. Group will look into capacity to support this work long term, and our member may have avenues for sponsorship should this happen.

Actions: Our member will provide more information on practical details relating to running workshops. Members decided that we will run a banner making workshop in readiness for the Women’s Strike on 8th of March, and we will also run print making for those with less interested in sewing. Date to be agreed.

Organise: Sexual Harassment in Clubs/Good Night Out Campaign

We have been looking into how we could tackle an increase in sexual violence against young women, particularly at bars and clubs in town (especially on Broad Street). Members met to discuss next steps in February. They updated us on their discussions and conversations with the Good Night Out Campaign http://www.goodnightoutcampaign.org/. The organization trains regional groups to go into bars/clubs/pubs to train bar staff on how to deal with sexual harassment and assault. The trainers get paid to deliver. The group agreed that they would like to be involved in organizing a regional group.

We also discussed whether there were further ways to educate/raise awareness of the perpetrators of sexual harassment on nights out. We discussed designing stickers that could be given out by women who are getting harassed at pubs (‘keep your hands to yourself’). It was suggested that we look into Patreon to fundraise for this.

Actions: Contact Good Night Out Campaign to agree to form regional group. Also contact Feminist Action Birmingham to see if any of their members are interested in getting trained. Sticker idea needs development, will be discussed with the group over email/Whatsapp.

Elevate: Sex and Relationship Education

At the last meeting we talked about the seriousness and importance of the compulsory sex and relationship syllabus. There was a shared interest in the importance of this, but with more research and discussion into how we could influence effective outcomes and what is the message that we want young people and young girls to hear? We also talked about counteracting the influence of porn and about working with out of school groups, such as the girl guides or other social initiatives for children and young people.  Some members of the group submitted feedback to the government consultation ‘Changes to the teaching of Sex & Relationship Education and PSHE’.

Organise: Supporting Migrants with No Recourse to Public Funds who are Experiencing Domestic Violence

We have been in contact with The Haven in Wolverhampton to see how much it would cost to fund an extra bed for women with No Recourse to Public Funds.The cost is beyond our fundraising capacity at the moment, but their fundraiser suggested that we could fundraise for their interpretation service. The group agreed that we would fundraise for the interpretation service.

Actions: We will arrange a 1st Birthday party for Feminists Work for Change in June to raise funds by selling tickets, merch and food, and we will talk to the rest of the group about other fundraising opportunities including a skills auction and patreon page.

Organise: Feminist Library: The feminist library is open! We have two books by Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me and The Mother of All Questions), a Ruth Ozeki (My Year of Meat), The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, Difficult Women & Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay. https://feministsworkforchange.com/the-fwfc-feminist-library/

Actions: Let us know if you want to borrow one and we’ll arrange to get it to you. Equally, if you would like to add a feminist text, zine or book to the library, get in touch. 

Organise: ‘West Midlands Feminist Heroes’ – as a way of celebrating our local heroes, both in the past and present, we talked about launching a series of posts on social media campaign about our West Midlands Feminist Heroes. Aysha Iqbal from Odara, and Marian Hall a film technician who paved the way for others in the Midlands art scene were mentioned.

Action: If you would like to take part, get permission from your Feminist Hero (if they are still with us) and then send a photo/drawing etc of them plus a bit of text about why you’ve put them forward.

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