News

Planning meeting summary: 3rd March 2019 @ Gas Hall, BMAG

Thank you again to BMAG for generously providing us with a meeting space!

RECENT FEMINIST EVENTS: Sara Ahmed Talk, Free Feminist School, Reclaim the Night and International Women’s Day Events
Members who attended the Sara Ahmed talk said it was a great experience, and encouraged everyone to see Sara on tour this year, check out Sara’s twitter feministkilljoy @SaraNAhmed blog https://feministkilljoys.com/ and book Living a Feminist Life. Great feedback from the Free Feminist School organised by Women’s Strike Assembly, Feminist Action Brum and Plan C Birmingham: a really engaging and interesting day, providing lots of information about local, national and global feminist issues. FWFC attended the Reclaim the Night March on International Women’s Day (IWD). Next year FWFC will aim to create an IWD map of events enabling different organisations to schedule events around one another and to amplify the whole day.

BACK UP: Art / craft / cooking in women’s refuges
FWFC Sub-group working to put in place an art / craft / cooking pilot project working with women in refuge. Initially working with women to teach knit and crochet, this project will work as evidence to support and bigger funding bid.

BACK UP: Good Night Out Campaign update
The Good Night Out (GNO) Campaign is an independent, international initiative dedicated to helping the night-time economy deal with, tackle and prevent harassment. They do this by helping licensed premises adopt best practice policies through a poster campaign and the provision of specialist training. Funding has been secured by GNO for work in Birmingham, which will be supported by FWFC. FWFC have been working to identify and collect data around the areas of Birmingham where sexual violence is most prevalent and urgently needs to be addressed.

ELEVATE: New SRE curriculum update
Guidance for Schools has now been announced and has been welcomed by women’s groups and LGBT groups. The EVAW (End Violence Against Women) statement gives a good overview of the improvements and issues: https://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/relationships-sex-education-womens-groups-welcome-progress/. The issue of removal from lessons by parents remains an issue, particularly around LGBT sex and relationship education.

ORGANISE: Fundraising
FWFC are currently researching a new fundraising beneficiary, more info soon. We are now planning our next fundraising schemes: merch, a daytime event in summer and an evening event. FWFC will also start to collect material donations at planning meetings, to be donated to BSWA.

ORGANISE: Feminist Clapback, Episode One
The Feminist Clapback is a FWFC collective response to everyday sexism, offering facts, information and viewpoints that could help people to tackle similar sexist issues in the future. The Feminist Clapback was prompted by discussions around how difficult, tongue-tying and infuriating it can be to respond to sexist comments in the moment. We had a great response to our first clapback scenario:

“I was out with a male friend and we got talking about how I was worried about having children. I said there should be better provision and support for women to take time off to have a baby. I feel like your career can suffer if you have a break, and of course it can affect you financially (I am self employed, which is another part of all this!). He disagreed saying that it is a choice to have kids. He said it’s comparable to a gap year. He’d had a gap year in his 20s and it hadn’t affected his career.”

Check out our new Feminist Clapback page to read the responses.

ORGANISE: Safe transport working group
FWFC have been working to identify safe ways for people to travel at night and get home from nights out, particularly in Digbeth and the city centre. We are looking into female only taxi campanies and taxi companies where female drivers can be requested, along with walking buses, and support networks that already exist for getting people home from the city centre late at night. Reporting hate crime on public transport and how to do it was also discussed: hate crime can be reported online at http://report-it.org.uk, you can DM a train company when you are travelling by train (info on trains) and text the transport police 61016 to report an incident.

ORGANISE: West Midlands Feminist Hero
Please get in touch and tell us about your heroes! https://feministsworkforchange.com/west-midlands-feminist-heroes/

ORGANISE: Feminist Library
Thank you to members for our new donations! They will be up on the website soon! https://feministsworkforchange.com/the-fwfc-feminist-library/

Date for next meeting:
The next planning meeting will be on Sunday 12th May 2-4pm at Grand Union. If you are interested in finding out more or coming along, get in touch here.

Thanks so much to everyone who came along and for all the great work you’ve been doing!

Reclaim the Night Birmingham!

WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!

RECLAIMING THE NIGHT IN BIRMINGHAM!

On International Women’s Day, FWFC joined Reclaim the Night and marched through the city centre to protest the epidemic of violence faced by women every day, across the world, whose numbers are great and whose voices are not heard.

A huge thank you to the University of Birmingham Guild of Students Women’s Officers and GMB Trade Union for organising this fantastic, hugely important event, and to the speakers Lisa Thompson CEO of RSVP (Rape and Sexual Violence Project) and Aisha Ali-Khan Activist & Human Rights Campaigner.

Planning meeting summary: 9th December 2018 @ Gas Hall, BMAG

Firstly thank you so much to BMAG for providing a brilliant space to meet in!

We recapped on how the work in FWFC works so that members feel confident about how they can be involved, how they can initiate and move forward with their own ideas and also feel comfortable about their limitations. We also revisited the back up, elevate, organise framework which offers a broad scope for work: not repeating good work already being done and meaning we can be involved in a wide range of work locally and nationally, and develop our own.

BACK UP: Art in West Midlands Women’s Refuges + new cooking initiative
This work will be picked up again in 2019 by the sub-group when there is more time to develop and fundraise for the project, and we will get things moving for one of our members to work on a cooking project with women in refuge.

BACK UP: Good Night Out Campaign
The Good Night Out Campaign is an independent, international initiative dedicated to helping the night-time economy deal with, tackle and prevent harassment. They do this by helping licensed premises adopt best practice policies through a poster campaign and the provision of specialist training. A sub-group meeting for those interested in working on this will take place in March, which will clarify FWFC role supporting the work planned for Birmingham.

ELEVATE: New SRE curriculum: LGBT sex & relationships education
We discussed the recent consultation circulated to the group re. the new Sex and Relationships Education Curriculum and the optional teaching of LGBT sex and relationship ed in English schools being proposed by the government. Scotland are the first country to make the teaching of LGBT history, identity and relationships mandatory in all schools and the group discussed the importance of the curriculum in England not being compromised – currently it is looking to be heavily compromised by optional teaching of LGBT sex and relationship education (and possibly also other crucial areas) in all schools. Members will research current curriculum requirements and identify the current status of the government’s new SRE curriculum, and work to connect with groups working to implement mandatory teaching of LGBT sex and relationship education, such as Level Up.

ORGANISE: FWFC in WOMEN POWER PROTEST zine

ORGANISE: Safe Transport Working Group
At the last meeting the issue of safe transport was raised, especially in relation to travelling home from the FWFC event in Digbeth. The group agreed that Digbeth felt particularly dangerous since the start of the redevelopment. One of our members is connected to a group working to improve safety for residents and visitors and will raise the issue of women’s safety at the next meeting. One of our members will find out if a women-only bookable taxi service operates in Birmingham.

ORGANISE: New Fundraising Beneficiary
FWFC have decided to choose a new fundraising beneficiary and agreed to go for a small charity where funds would make most impact. Further work to find a beneficiary will happen on Instagram stories and through other networks.

ORGANISE: Feminist Clapback
One of our members raised the possibility of starting a forum for people to get support in responding to everyday sexism. The group agreed that the feeling of shock/surprise when a friend, family member or colleague says something sexist sometimes leaves you unsure how to respond. Our member will start the process on email with other members as a first stage, and will see how this goes.

ORGANISE: FWFC Feminist Library

Trans Inclusivity Discussion
The group discussed the importance of being an inclusive space. We collectively agree that ‘trans women are women’. While we think it’s important that people can talk and learn about trans issues and have differing opinions, trans exclusionary viewpoints are not welcome in the group.

The next FWFC planning meeting will take place on Sunday 3rd March 2019, 2 – 4pm at Gas Hall, BMAG in Birmingham. Contact us if you would like to come along!

Thank you so much to everyone who came along to the meeting and everyone who is getting involved and doing FWFC work!!!

 

 

 

 

FWFC featured in the WOMEN POWER PROTEST zine!

Artwork created by our member Sarah Taylor Silverwood documenting the Women’s Strike in March 2018 is included in a brand new zine, produced by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery as part of their current exhibition WOMEN POWER PROTEST.

We are thrilled to be featured in this beautiful piece that will exist forever as a permanent record of a memorable day, as well as spreading the word about who Feminists Work For Change are and what we do.

Sarah is a visual artist with a practice rooted in drawing and language, used as material to produce publications, animations and installation works. Recent projects include New Art Gallery Walsall (solo show, forthcoming, 2019), Multistory (2018 commission) and the British Consulate in Chicago, USA (2014). She is a member of GU Women, a new Birmingham-based female collective, comprised of writers, curators, artists and researchers.

Sarah also created the stunning print and online design work for our fundraiser Talk Ain’t Cheap, and designed the fabulous Talk Ain’t Cheap tee! Sarah is a truly committed and hardworking member of FWFC, who always finds the time and energy to contribute her skills and ideas to FWFC projects, alongside managing a full-time career as an artist. Sarah is a feminist hero through and through, and we are extremely lucky to have her in our group.

WOMEN POWER PROTEST comprises art works by female artists who have explored protest, social commentary and identity in their work. Well worth a visit, it is a powerful, thought-provoking and moving exhibition. WOMEN POWER PROTEST runs until 31st March 2019.

The Latest

After the success for our fundraising event Talk Ain’t Cheap, we have been taking a bit of a break to recover! Talk Ain’t Cheap raised over £1000 for The Haven’s interpretation service, meaning that women in desperate situations can speak to someone who can help over the phone.

We were blown away by the generosity of those who attended and the time and effort that lots of people put into making the event at Centrala a success – designing, making, donating and selling merch; performing spoken word (Liz Ord, PoppyMabel and Nafeesa Hamid) and art performance (Emily Warner); DJing (Who’s That Girl?); donating food, space, tech support, time and energy – thank you to everyone who was involved. It was a brilliant day and night and brought us new members and thoughts for future work and events. For more pics and info from the event, check out our Instagram.

We will be getting going again towards the end of the year, with details about our next planning meeting to be announced soon. We will be picking up on existing projects such as the Good Night Out Campaign and our work supporting women in refuge aswell and getting started on new ideas.

We are a working group and our work is driven by our members input, energy, ideas, interests and concerns. If you are interested in coming along to the next planning meeting, get in touch. If you would like to stay up to date with our work, you can now sign up to our mailing list.