Women’s rights conference in London

This video says about itself:

Why Women Are Fighting Back In Kenya

22 November 2014

Women in Kenya are taking to the streets to protest for their right to wear what they want. TestTube’s UnCovered gives us a glimpse at their fight. #mydressmychoice

By Helen Pendry in London, England:

‘You have struck a rock’ – Women fight back

Friday 4th December 2015

“Now you have touched the women you have struck a rock. You have dislodged a boulder. You will be crushed.” With those words, Angela Davis reminded her audience of the 1956 South African Women’s March, and of the power of women’s collective action to bring about change.

She should know. In the 1960s she was leader of the Communist Party USA, closely connected with the Black Panther Party and involved in the civil rights movement. In the early 1970s she was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months after being placed on the FBI’s “10 most wanted” list. She has spent decades working as a university-level educator and in the public sphere, and she is a founding member of Critical Resistance — an organisation “dedicated to the dismantling of the prison-industrial complex” in the 21st century.

This video from the USA says about itself:

WSU MLK Event: Angela Davis, The Dream Behind Bars (Live Stream)

22 January 2015

Angela Davis was the keynote speaker at Washington State University‘s 2015 MLK Community Celebration.

Davis is best known for being fired from UCLA because of her radical politics, and being placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List after a shootout outside a California courtroom. She hid for several months, was arrested, and—amid a massive Free Angela Davis campaign—acquitted of all charges. Davis went on to teach at several universities, run for vice president on the Communist Party ticket, write nine books, and lead the fight against the nation’s “prison-industrial complex,” which she views as combining the worst attributes of racism and capitalism.

The Helen Pendry article continues:

Her words on this occasion were addressed to Women Fighting Back: International and Legal Perspectives, a conference on November 28-29 which brought together lawyers, academics and activists from across the world to share critical and left-wing ideas and practical skills in support of women’s campaigns and struggles.

Speaker after speaker, on subjects ranging from violence against women to migrant and refugee women, the state and women’s bodies and women in work made it clear that the law and lawyers alone do not change the world. Campaigners do.

But the speakers also pointed to the scale of problems facing women internationally today. There is evidence that violence against women — in the home, by the community or the state, or in war — is on the increase. Rashida Manjoo (South Africa), former UN special rapporteur on violence against women, pointed out that it is also underreported because it is seen to be socially acceptable, rather than a human rights violation, in many cultures.

War, and the mass migrations it causes, was a prominent topic. Dorys Quintana Cruz (Cuba), stated that we live in a global situation of armed conflict (there are 40 armed conflicts going on at the moment) and the resulting migrations have been feminised.

Women suffer as victims of armed conflict and of the sexual violence carried out by combatants. They are also targetted for attack as reproducers of “enemy” children, and they are overwhelmingly left to care for children and older people during war and in the process of forced migration. Even when women take on the role of combatants, they are rarely recognised or promoted.

Speakers were also keen to emphasise that extreme violence in conflict is on a continuum with everyday violence against women. Sarah Ricca (Britain) pointed out that domestic violence is the greatest cause of death in women aged 19 to 44 across the world. And in many societies it is considered less important than crimes against property.

If war and migration place particular burdens of suffering on women’s lives, austerity is female too. Marina Prentoulis (Greece/Britain) called for an international response to austerity and the refugee crisis that takes gender into account. She told the conference that one in four women in Syria are now sole providers for their families and that they face increased anxiety, isolation and threats to their safety. In 2015, 40,000 refugees crossed the border into Greece, and on three days alone in October 86 people drowned in the Aegean Sea.

Women, however, are not only victims. They are also the agents of social change. The conference made it clear that women are fighting back across the world. They are campaigning for women’s rights in ways that emphasise the connections between militarism, austerity, migration, racism, housing and health. Because, as Angela Davis concluded: “Global capitalism has exacerbated all the major social problems of our time.”

The conference was held at London South Bank University. It was organised by the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers in collaboration with European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

1 thought on “Women’s rights conference in London

  1. As Angela Davis states the capitalist system is fundamentally flawed it is a system that encourages war and destruction not only destruction of the environment but also our planet is a type of madness similar to induced drug cravings? men such as Cameron installing fighter jets to attack not only so called military targets but worst women and children who having no desire to be part of the destruction and murder of the innocent? why has this pervert bent on destruction of many women? did he have a bad Mother or Father influence? did he become a radical at Eton? we do not know why how he become a male chauvinist? but we do know many men in power such as Abbott the ex prime minister of Australia could have made a valuable contribution to women’s issues? these men wrapped up in their own power are bad examples as male models and failures of what we do not want nor need.


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