Women's rights and Feminism

Left splits over West Midlands mayor

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 10:33
Author

Jem Vale

The entrance of former Respect party leader Salma Yaqoob into the contest for the Labour candidacy for West Midlands mayor is causing a bitter row within Momentum and the Labour left as a whole throughout the region.

In principle, the idea of a female ethnic minority candidate is attractive. But Yaqoob’s record makes her a highly problematic prospective candidate.

There are many aspects of Yaqoob’s record that have caused concern, but the most obvious is her campaign, as an independent candidate, against Labour’s Naz Shah in Bradford West at the last general election in 2017.

Now, Shah –

2019 debate on hijabs in schools

Published on: Mon, 21/10/2019 - 18:04

Photo: CC BY 2.0 DFID

In the AWL in the run up to our 2019 conference, we are having a debate on the hijab in schools, after one member brought a motion on it. Please see the editorial note below, and below that, the articles that have been written in Solidarity to date on this. We have internal discussion documents on it, but most of the debate we have had publicly. Third on this page is the policy we passed in 2004, and fourth is some articles from the debate at the time.

Editorial note

Our existing policy decided in relation to the French ban on the hijab/veil in schools is printed at the

Banning hijab in schools

Published on: Wed, 18/09/2019 - 10:17
Author

David Pendletone

See other articles in this debate here

I will be moving a motion for a ban on the hijab in schools up to Key Stage 3 at the Workers’ Liberty conference in December. I want to explain why.

The hijab isn’t just a piece of clothing, or even just a piece of religious clothing. It has strong political connotations with religious conservatism. It is closely associated with the notion of modesty, a sexist modesty which means women have to cover up to avoid arousing men. Martin Thomas correctly wrote in 2003, during a previous discussion within Workers’ Liberty:

“Whatever it is in an individual’s mind

Leicester protest at Trump’s state visit

Published on: Wed, 12/06/2019 - 13:05
Author

Liz Yeates

Despite the rain and it being a weekday, roughly 100 people gathered at Leicester’s clock tower to protest the ridiculous state visit laid on for Donald Trump. There was a buoyant atmosphere and a diverse crowd — much like the previous Trump actions in Leicester, just a little smaller.

Leicester was an early starter on the anti-Trump circuit due to the rather odd invitation from the Director of the Richard III Centre to Trump, who predictably believes he is descended from the controversial monarch. Leicester against Trump, a coalition of Greens, regular folk, and supporters of Workers’

Letters

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:41

Defining people's oppressions?
I’m canvassing opinions on the call for marginalised groups of people to “define their own oppression”.

The LGBT+ organising group at the National Education Union conference argued for a definition of transphobia which I agreed with. It was however defeated on the basis that there are conflicting views on what constitutes transphobia and that the amendment was anti-woman.

The arguments in favour were largely that trans members had agreed on the motion and we should, as a union, listen to them. I think this is a relatively weak line of argument. For example, if

SNP trans contradictions

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 11:45
Author

Heather Herbert

On 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the SNP member of parliament Mhairi Black gave a fantastic speech calling for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). This came two days after the only trans councillor in Scotland quit the SNP accusing it of institutional transphobia, and just weeks after 15 senior members of the SNP wrote an open letter, publicly attacking the SNP’s plans to reform the GRA, the very reforms Mhairi gave an impassioned speech prompting.

The reforms to the Gender Recognition Act shouldn’t be that controversial. The current

4 June against Trump

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 11:15

Hundreds of thousands are likely to turn out for the protest on 4 June (from 11 a.m., Trafalgar Square) against US president Donald Trump’s state visit. The crowd is likely to be even bigger than when Trump last visited, in July 2018.

It will take up the same causes: peace, migrant rights, women’s rights, and more. Workers’ Liberty and Solidarity will be there, working with Labour for a Socialist Europe (L4SE), Young L4SE, and Another Europe is Possible to push the anti-Brexit, lower-borders, migrant-rights, European unity message.

Remember, Trump has said “Many people would like to see

Organising cleaners in the 1970s

Published on: Wed, 22/05/2019 - 12:12
Author

Bruce Robinson

Shown as part of the “Women Organise!” film season in Manchester, The Nightcleaners is a documentary about the struggle to organise women office cleaners in 1970-72. The film has many resonances today when organising cleaners and other low-paid, insecure workers is again a central task for the unions.

The filmmakers of the Berwick Street Film Collective (one of whom, Humphrey Trevelyan, was at the Manchester showing) were not traditional documentary makers, but saw themselves both as part of the women’s fight and as creatively producing a piece of cinema. The result is a film that is a

Semenya: a cruel decision

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 13:12
Author

Steff Farley

An abridged version of this appeared in Solidarity505.

I started in athletics as a 15 year old middle distance runner in 2009, meaning Caster Semenya was incredibly formative to me, serving as a huge inspiration and becoming one of my heroes. I watched the Berlin World Championships, so famous for Usain Bolt’s world record display, but while I greatly admired the best sprinter of all time, it was Caster Semenya that made me fall in love with athletics.

It was recently announced that the IAAF have found evidence that highly elevated levels of testosterone in women is correlated with greater

1919 - The fight for working women's rights

Published on: Sun, 14/04/2019 - 20:59
Author

Janine Booth

1918 had ended with British women voting in a general election for the first time ever. But it was only those aged 30 or over and who met a property qualification who could vote.

That general election saw the first woman elected, but the successful candidate, Constance Markiewicz (pictured), refused to take her seat in the British Parliament that she and her Sinn Fein colleagues did not recognise as legitimate. Instead, Constance became Minister of Labour in the Dail Eireann, the first female Cabinet minister in Europe.

The Labour Party pushed for extension of women’s rights, and in March

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