Thursday, 27 November 2008

Is it enough to get more women in power?

Despite losing the election, Sarah Palin's nomination for vice presidential candidate was hailed in some quarters as a victory for women - and even for feminism. But many women (including myself) felt extremely uncomfortable celebrating her nomination - even purely as a victory for women's representation in 'high politics' - given her stance on issues like reproductive rights, gay rights, environmental issues, access to healthcare and support for rape survivors. As Sarah Seltzer at the Huffington Post noted: "Just because Sarah Palin is a woman, doesn't mean she's good for women." (See also Jezebel)

So we got to thinking (if you'll excuse the Carrie Bradshaw moment)... is it enough to get more women represented at all levels of politics (from grassroots to government) or do they need to be the 'right' women? That is, women who will fight for women's rights and encourage other women to join them? Women who also represent marginalised groups in society and will fight for equality in all areas? And if that's the case, doesn't that mean we all have a responsibility to make sure we step up to the plate ourselves? Would a website like for the UK help?

And it's not just me who's been pondering this issue:

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Reclaiming the Night

We braved the cold on Saturday evening to carry the WRC banner through the streets of central London to raise awareness about violence against women and demand safety for women on the streets at night. It was a really positive and uplifting march with lots of chanting (my favourite is the call and response: “hay, ho, sexual violence has got to go!” as you can really get a good rhythm going!) and colourful handmade banners and placards representing the huge range of women who were involved.

We got the usual lads near Leicester Square being loud and obnoxious but they soon disappeared in embarrassment when they realised we were shouting about rape and domestic abuse! Along Charing Cross Road some people leaned out of their window to bang saucepan lids in support (I remember them from last year!) and of course the usual landmarks along the way – the Soho Bookshop, Harmony and Spearmint Rhino – were the focus for some particular attention.

At Friends Meeting House we had a stall outside the main auditorium and could hear the rousing speeches, it was a full house with loud cheering and even standing ovations! There was lots of interest in the action sheet for the Rape Crisis campaign and people signing up to the why women? campaign as well, and nearly all our materials were taken by interested women which meant I had a lot less to carry home!

Reclaim the Night marches happen all over the country and at different times of year (it would be nice to have one when it was a bit warmer!) so look out for one near you or join the London march in 2009!

See pictures of the night on Flickr

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

WRC blog is back!

As you can see, we've not been blogging at WRC for a while (due to technical issues), but we're back now! I'm not sure what's happened to the photos and fonts in the interim - I can only apologise!

In the meantime, we've got a new website, some new staff and some new projects.

We've also been looking into how we can best use social media and online tools to connect women's organisations across the country. So far, we have a Facebook group for our why women? campaign and our Communications Officer (that's me) has been dipping into Twitter. We're also interested in the social networks that have been set up for people in the charity sector ( and for policy workers in the sector (

Today is also the start of the 16 days of activism for the elimination of violence against women. See a round-up of related events on womensgrid.