Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Harnessing feminist energy!

This weekend Bristol was buzzing with feminists from around the country sharing information, skills and ideas at the UK Feminista summer school. WRC was proud to take part on both days and also to attend some of the sessions to improve our own knowledge.

On Saturday our Policy Officer, Charlotte ran the ‘Save our Services: Feminist activism against the cuts’ workshop with Sam Lyles who has been the driving force behind the Save Coventry Sure Start Centres campaign Sam shared her experiences of starting and running a local campaign, with all it’s highs and lows! And Charlotte provided information on broader campaigning tactics and ways to build your campaign such as mapping your allies, which is part of our Raising Women’s Voices training. Then the participants got to have a go and in a very short time we had plans for a letter writing campaign on local sexual health education and a mass ‘faint in’ to protest about women’s sweatshop labour in high street clothing chains, among other brilliant ideas.

It was a really dynamic workshop with lots of people sharing their ideas and experiences as well as taking away information about our why women? campaign, and was a great way to start the weekend!

‘Protecting funding for violence against woman and girls services: Influencing Police and Crime Commissioners’ was the focus of the session on Sunday led by our Policy Officer, Annette. This was run more as an informative session, as we have found that many people and women's organisations are unaware of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections and their effect on funding to services working on violence against women and girls.

Annette outlined the issues, as well as the resources and information available, and ways to get involved before the elections on 15th November. Ideas for action at a local level included; holding a hustings, using template letters to write to candidates, and working with local women’s organisations to build awareness of local issues.

It was something that a lot of people knew nothing about and they were shocked at the impact that it could have on their local services and on women’s safety. Hopefully now they will be galvanised into action!

The open spaces for discussion, stalls and events at the summer school ensured that it was an active and energetic event with new ideas hatched and action plans made for the future of feminism, and it was great to be involved.

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