Women’s History Month 2014

Will soon be here…….

We will once again be having an event to celebrate women’s history month at the Dragon Hall in Covent Garden.

This years event theme is women and spirit. We’ll be retelling the some of the stories of the wise women, the witches, telling the stories of women who honour Goddess in her many forms and guises…….From matrilineal times, to the present day.

Following on from last years event, we will have lots of women’s art on display. Much more info on that to come over the months ahead.

Limited stand holder space is available at the event.  Please message us for more details if you wish to book a stand img_43991.jpg


Greenham reunion

I’ve just been back to greenham common, and spent time there with a group of women who also lived, or visited the peace camp on such a regular basis that it was an integral part to their lives. We sat around the fire, swapped stories, reminisced and sang songs. It felt like the land held a memory of our past presence there, and warmed to us being back. It felt, in the now overgrown space that was once the home of “orange gate” that we entered a bubble of timelesness, that no time had passed at all since we had left. Women quickly fell into old roles, and familiar habits. In the quiet moments, you could almost pick up on the sounds of the past.

We remembered the women who are no longer with us, and left hearts in places on the common as a dedication to them.

I feel so blessed and happy to have been back, and to have reconnected with old memories that where buried far too long.May the spirit of greenham always be, in all its wildness, and wiseness, and mysteriousness, and beauty, in all it’s mischeviousness, in all the women who ever went there, in all our aspirations. This is something bigger than political rhetoric, and can’t be contained within an academic textbook.


Feminism in London conference 2013

Feminism in London conference 2013

Aug 16

The Feminism in London conference is back

This year, it’s happening on October 26th, at the institute of education, followed by the annual reclaim the night march.

The conference will have an inspiring and diverse selection of workshops happening at it,

Morning programme:


Incarcerated Women

A panel discussion on women in prison, particularly relevant today in the wake of the Corston Report. Speakers include Jenny Earle of the Prison Reform Trust, Adeline Trude of Bail for Immigration Detainees, Rachel Helford of Women in Prison, and a former prisoner who will speak about her experiences.


Lunchtime workshop:

Menstruation: sat nav of the soul – Cultivating awareness, creativity and healing through tending to the wisdom of our cycle.

A closed lunchtime session with Jill Kettle.

Jill Kettle is an acupuncturist, shadow work coach and doula. She co-created the Brighton Red Tent and is an activating force in women’s events in the Sussex area. She is passionate about bringing forth the wisdom of our souls, reviving our knowing of ourselves as wisdom keepers, and finding ways to bring feminine power into community. Her perspective is that we are in a process of reseeding and remembering our deepest truths, and that bringing forth of these qualities is instrumental to our healing at this time, as individual women and also of the world. Most of us were not guided as young women to learn how to use wisely the oceanic potential of our cycles. To understand the different natural powers expressing themselves at different times and how to listen to the messages they bring. This is not about learning information from the outside, this is the journey of how we can grow our awareness of our deepest blueprint to to garden ourselves into wholeness and to be guided from within, leading lives of authenticity, creativity and fullness of expression.
Our cycle is a microcosm of nature’s great turning wheel, with all the lessons of that cyclical journey coded into it. When we honour our cycles as sensitive tools of guidance, knowing how to support the restorative, cleansing and creative qualities, and hold the tension of the capacity our cycle has to take us to the place of inner critic and destroyer, we can harness the enormous natural force that it embodies and deeply enrich our own lives and that of our communities.

No Choice At All

Raven Kaliana presents a screening of her film Hooray For Hollywood, an autobiographical look at child exploitation. Followed by a Q&A.

Working Towards Non-Hierarchical Relationship Models

You can’t choose who you fall in love with, we’re told, but are there alternatives to traditional relationship structures and sexualities? What would relationship structures look like in a feminist utopia? Explore the possibilities of love in the 21st century and beyond. Presented by Dr Christine Campbell.

Feminist Opposition to Militarised Male Violence

A workshop looking at the role women have had and continue to have in the war and peace struggles.

Challenging Linked Systems of Power: Towards a Whole-istic Feminism

This session aims to transcend rifts between radical, liberal, socialist and other ‘kinds’ of feminism. Women are oppressed by male dominance but capitalism, white supremacy and other power relations do just as much damage. We join the dots between these systems of domination – in workplaces, public services, at school, at home – and ask how a ‘whole-istic’ feminism can resist them.

Secularism and Feminism within BME Communities

Gita Sahgal of the Centre for Secular Space and Lola Tinubu of African Atheists UK discuss the shared challenges and experiences of BME women engaged in secular feminism.

Children’s Morning Workshop: Girls in Stories

Creative storytelling for younger attendees, presented by Jean Norman.

The workshop will look at different ways female characters have been portrayed over the last 50 years or so. We will look at similarities and differences, how and if the roles have changed and then invent our own characters, female or male, and write our own stories.

Age 7 – 11 recommended. Girls and boys welcome.

Teenage Morning Workshop: What’s so good about being a woman?

As a teenage girl, what seems good to you about becoming a woman? What doesn’t seem so appealing? What can we do to change that?

Are women today a good advert for growing up into one? Which women do you admire?

What it’s like to be a teenage girl in 2013? What do teenagers know that would be good to share with the rest of the world?

Whether you have lots to say in answer to these questions, or whether you just want to listen to others’ points of view, this workshop is for you and we’d love you to join us. Ages 11 – 18 recommended, girls only.

MRA Workshop (Pro-Feminist Men’s workshop – all welcome)

Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) are a persistent presence in online forums and debates about feminism. This workshop looks at some typical MRA arguments and through group discussion seeks to arrive at effective responses to them. The workshop is open to all, but male allies seeking ways to support feminists online are especially welcome. Presented by Chris Green of the White Ribbon Campaign and David Brooks of the Men’s Feminist Book Group.

Afternoon programme:


Women and the Media, A Post-Leveson World

What can we expect from the media in a post-Leveson world? The panel will include a speaker from Object, who made submissions to the Leveson enquiry about the portrayal of women in the media, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who is a well known writer and journalist, and Ruth Barnes from The Other Woman radio show. Chaired by Roweena Russell.

Sexual Violence And Trafficking: An International Perspective

Raggi Kotak, founder of the Anti-Trafficking Legal Project and Liberty Human Rights Award nominee, will co-ordinate a workshop on international VAW with Dr. Aisha Gill, Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of Roehampton.


While awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a human rights abuse increases, labiaplasty in the west gains popularity amongst those who seek the “perfect” genitalia. What does patriarchy encourage us to do to our vulvas and vaginas across the globe? Meet the women who work in these areas.
Kick-Ass Activism

A How to of Campaigning… by Team No More Page 3!
Let Sarah, Angela, Jo, Laura and Stephanie stoke your activism fire and show you the ropes of campaigning! Warning: You might just start a campaign after this!

No More Page 3 is a campaign appealing to the editor of The Sun to please stop showing the Page 3 topless pictures. It has public backing from UK Girlguiding, National Union of Teachers, UNISON, Rape Crisis and many other unions, charities and organisations, as well as the support of 140 cross party MPs and well over 115,000 petition signers. In August this year the Irish Sun stopped showing the topless Page 3 pictures.

Older Feminist Network Workshop

The Older Feminist Network offer a discussion on ageism and feminism.
Taking Space, Talking Loud (women only)

Join Rebecca of the Scary Little Girls theatre company for a workshop exploring what it means to take up space as a woman. Frequently asked to reduce ourselves and blend into the background, this workshop will use discussion, some simple drama and Transactional Analysis exercises to explore how we women can find our selves and our voices to enjoy a place in the world, rather than play under it! We will explore issues that affect women at work, socially and in relationships in a safe, women only space. All women welcome.

Children’s Afternoon Workshop: Art

A hands-on workshop recommended for girls and boys aged 7 – 11, presented by Susy Langsdale.

Teenage Afternoon Workshop: Empowerment!

Our EMPOWER workshop takes a look at young women’s rights. We’ll be debating, celebrating and expressing ourselves, making banners and placards with positive images, words and slogans. Ready in time to take along to Reclaim the Night. Get creative and EMPOWER yourself! For young women aged 11-18. With Lucy, Laura, Aisha and Bex.

Workshop on Healthy Relationships (Pro-Feminist Men’s workshop – all welcome)

Working With Men (WWM) will introduce participants to our work which aims to prevent violence and gender inequality amongst young people.

WWM uses its uniqueness in engaging boys and young men to explore masculinity and relationships within the contexts of race, culture and class. WWM supports boys and young men to gain an objective perspective of violence, in turn empowering them to regain control over their lives, make informed decisions and express themselves clearly with girls and young women.

Many stand holders including:

New Internationalist  ~ http://newint.org/issues/2013/10/01/

Rooms of our Own ~  http://roomso4own.wordpress.com

Persephone Books ~ http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/

Ruskin College ~ http://www.ruskin.ac.uk/

Feminist Library ~ http://feministlibrary.co.uk/

Older feminist Network ~ http://www.olderfeminist.org.uk/

Older Lesbian Network ~ http://www.olderlesbiannetwork.btck.co.uk/

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom ~ http://wilpfus.org/

Mothers at Home Matter ~ http://www.mothersathomematter.co.uk/

London feminist Film Festival ~ http://londonfeministfilmfestival.com/

Women’s History Month ~ https://womenshistorymonthuk.wordpress.com/

Rape Crisis London ~ http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/aboutus1.php

Feminae 13, Karla Hamlet yoni arts

The Feminist Times ~

Chris George, feminist cards and crafts

Housmans Independent Bookshop ~ http://www.housmans.com/

Women in Black ~ http://www.womeninblack.org/en/london

Music and Liberation Archives ~ http://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/music-liberation-exhibition/

Shahla Kahn, author ~ http://www.shahla-khan.com/books

The Women’s Trust ~ http://www.womanstrust.org.uk/

Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Association ~ http://www.kapululangu.org/

Ms Mutiny feminist art and craft

Trouble and Strife,

Emma Humphrey’s Memorial Prize

Lots more info can be found on the feminism in London website http://www.feminisminlondon.co.uk/


atheism and feminism

I’ve read a lot recently, from women, respected, feminist activist women, on the issue of atheism. And I feel not happy about much of it. Let me be clear from the start, I do not think my own beliefs to be better, or righter or more important than others beliefs. We are all unique, and we find our own ways. So long as our paths are the sort that push forward in this life, positively to help make this world a better place, it doesn’t at the end of the day matter, whether we are Pagan, Witch or Atheist, or anything else.

What I do expect, not just expect, insist on, is mutual respect. Comments such as “I don’t believe in God ‘cos I’m not stupid” are not only stupid, they are also more than a bit arrogant and rude.

Spirituality is a part of humanity. It doesn’t matter if you believe in a “Goddess” or “God” both, mulitiples of both, or none at all. If you have ever appreciated a piece of music, been touched by a work of art, or a piece of literature. Been moved by a dream, felt the magic in a connection with a lover. Experienced anything that can’t be explained in the existance of mere physical atoms, you have touched the spiritual. And that connection and connectedness is a part of our human birthright.

Some of these atheists seem so hell bent on the idea that they and they alone are right, I’m thinking they could give some of the religious fundamentalists a run for their money. And it’s fundamentalist thinking that is the problem. Fundamentalism = patriarchy, patriarchy = fundamentalism.  dislike muchly, and really hope this attitude is a passing thing.

The West is only interested in persecuted Muslim women

Edith Rubinstein has translated into english of a very  interesting text she received.
The West is only interested in persecuted Muslim women

A Moroccan iconoclastic sociologist, Fatema Mernissi is publishing « Le Harem et lâ•˙Occident » (The Harem and the West). A rebellious and provocative book which denounces the stereotypes about the Oriental woman, up to the paradox.

Talk gathered by Valérie Colin-Simard

Psychologies: You claim that the Western women are living in ╲harems╡. Is it provocation?
Fatema Mernissi : Not at all. All the enterprises directed by men are harems and, as if by chance, almost all the western feminine magazines have men as boss. Even an enterprise based in a ultra futurist glasses building, as you can find at the Défense, can also shelter a harem. A place where the boss manages to surround oneself with dozens of women, whose salary depends of his goodwill. And the repression is there as terrible as in the East, but much more discrete by nature.

You are speaking of harem, but not of sex∑
The aim of a harem is not to have sex, but to show its power. If you want sex, you do not surround yourself with dozen of persons, you do not introduce among the women, rivalry and competition. Unless you have a weird sexuality∑

The size 38 for Western women would be the equivalent of wearing a scarf for Muslim women. Are you not going a little over the top?
In Teheran, if you do not wear the tchador, a policeman calls you to order. In the West, terror is more immaterial. It is enough to circulate images in order women exhaust themselves to resemble them. Everything is OK if you enter in size 38. Otherwise, you are not in the norm and you may even not revolt. It is surrealistic, as type of violence. Muslim women fast once a year; Western women, it is all the year around!

This Western woman ╲obedient and willing╡, you are speaking about, where did you find her?
In the phantasms of Western people. Just look at the naked odalisques of Matisse or read Kant and his conception of the ideal beauty! Le phantasm of the Western man, is a woman intellectually mute and passive. The phantasm of Easter people is Scheherazade, a woman essentially intellectual. It is by touching the man with words cleverly chosen that she succeeds to act on his emotions.

And what are the womenâ•˙ phantasms?
At home, there is a kind of flexibility between the sexes. For instance, a man who is tender is not repulsive, in the contrary. In the United States, a man who shows tenderness or is crying is ridiculous. The Western man must be hard and must not show his emotions. The Arab man, if he has no emotions, is terrifying. It is a fragile man, who express it and laughs about it.

In your opinion, Eastern women would like to undermine the power of men∑<
We use the word “kayd”, which means astute, shrewd. It is not simply cunning, it is worse. It is an irresistible and destructive power. Eastern women make men scare, because they have a subversive intelligence opposed to the power, to the system. They are recognized as intelligent and strategic when it comes to destroy masculine power. The first time I went to the United States, as a student, I was surprised to notice that the woman was not considered as intelligent as the man. I never felt that in a Muslim country.

You are saying that the Eastern woman is more rebellious than a Western woman. Is it a whim?
To resist discriminations and demand sex equality is a very strong reflex for the Muslim woman. It has nothing to do with the racist totally passive stereotype sold by Western media. This is why, despite all the extremisms, many of them reach important political functions. In Islam, the woman is considered as the equal of the man.

In theory. But do you really think it is the case?
In the years 1990, the percentage of women teaching in universities or equivalent institutions was more important in Egypt than in France or Canada. The percentage of female students following formations of engineer was twice higher in Turkey and in Syria than in the Netherlands and in Britain.

How do you explain then that in the West, Muslim women always are considered as submissive?
Because it is a preconceived idea, carried by the media. These images of miserable, submissive, beaten, raped women became a product of consumption for the West, like a drug which you refloats. It goes up excellently in the moral of Western women. They are told: ╲Consider yourselves as lucky; you are not in a Muslim country.╡

You seem to say that Muslim women are not oppressed∑
Many of them run companies, but they have no media coverage. Only the ones who are persecuted are interesting in Western eye!

Yet Islam exists, for instance, with the Talibanâ•˙s!
I am not speaking of the extremists, I talk about normal people! The women I meet win battles everyday. These ones, you do not look at! You are just interested in those who wear the scarf or are victims of the dictatorship of the extremists.

During your investigation, what surprised you the most?
That Western women believe that their system is good for women. Just because they have some benefits, they do not see all the rest. They are absolutely not equal to men, but they behave as if it was the case. I find all this simply fascinating! In Easter, I know that the laws are against me, so, at every minute, I watch not to let me be ╲eaten╡

Fatem Memissi is born in 1940 in a harem in Fès, Morocco, from an illiterate mother. A painful experience she has told in ╲Rêves de femmes. Une enfance au harem╡ (Albin Michel, 1996) (Womanâ•˙s dreams. A chidhood in a harem). It is through an investigation about the representation of the harem in the West that she discovered the gap which separates the phantasms (mainly of men) from the reality. The embarrassed and ambiguous smiles of Western men when she evoked that space of reclusion and of veiled bodies, has pushed Fatema Memiss to write her last work: “Le Harem et lâ•˙Occident” (Albin Michel). For them, the word harem meant sex; when for her, it was before all synonym of family. The sociologist wanted to know more and she searched to discover what feminine ideal was concealed behind the Europeans phantasms.