With the most exciting weekend on the feminist calendar fast approaching, we wanted to hear which bits of the Feminism in London national conference will be particularly pertinent for young people. Magdalena Oldziejewska, from the press team, gave us the goss.
A bit on the political side
Magda explained what’s on for those of us keen on the explicitly political side of feminism:
“Excitingly, we’ll be drafting a bill of women’s rights at the conference: it’ll be a brilliant chance for people to be an active part of making history!
And with the ongoing rise of the Women’s Equality Party, the workshop with the party’s Sophie Walker would definitely be top of my list, alongside the Swedish Feminist Initiative Party’s Gudrun Schyman.”
She also picked out speakers tackling online harassment, noting; “it’s a topic no doubt close to many young women’s hearts.”
How (un)comfortably does freedom of speech sit with the rights of women to exist online? And what can we do to improve things? What about non-consensual pornography (“revenge porn”) and victim blaming? These questions will be the focus of the ‘Freedom of Expression – online misogyny and the exclusion of women from online public space’ workshop.
“We’ve got Alison Boydell of End Online Misogyny, Annmarie Chiarini of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Connie St Louis, and Dr Emily Grossman,” Magda explained
Magda reckoned that how to get involved, and the possibilities for activism, are probably some of the key questions young people have when heading to the conference. There will be plenty of discussion of that, she assured.
“On the second day we’ve got some very exciting speakers: Karen Ingala-Smith of Counting Dead Women, Gemma Aitchison from YES Matters, Annie Sugier of the Stop Sexism in the Olympics campaign and Caroline Criado-Perez. And Kiran, the woman who ran a marathon while on her period, will be streaming in for one of those sessions!”
The workshop in which most of those speakers are participating, ‘Campaigning for Change’, will set us right up for action, according to its blurb: “any movement needs to create positive, sustainable change. These incredible speakers and activists have all been involved in successful campaigns to highlight issues affecting women and girls.”
“Finally,” said Magda, “street harassment is a massive issue for young women.”
The conference will hold a workshop tackling it, acknowledging that “street harassment is a form of sexual violence and power play that affects all women, girls and non-binary bodies, challenging their right to inhabit public space through violence, abuse and scare tactics on a daily basis yet remains largely ignored, downplayed and discredited.”
“We’ve got the terribly exciting Young Feminists London coming,” explained Magda. “They’re a group that actually formed at last year’s conference while talking about this topic. Also Dr Fiona Vera Gray, Ama Josephine Budge of HYSTERIA feminist collective, and Katie Spark are speaking at that session.”
And that’s just a real brief selection of the varied and vibrant timetable of speakers and workshops on offer. Check out the full programme here.
Image Credit: Feminism in London
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