Harrogate Feminists


Today’s meet-up, and date for the next one
January 22, 2012, 5:57 pm
Filed under: meet-ups | Tags: ,

I really enjoyed our meetup today, even though the attendees were somewhat depleted in number – I suspect they had (quite understandably) been put off by the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere! But on the bright side, we had lots of time to chat, drink tea and eat cake (we had carrot cake and lemon cake), which is clearly a key aspect of any social meet-up!

Also of course we discussed the SEV licence reapplications. Val, who couldn’t make today’s meeting, had done loads of research and drafted a fantastic letter giving her grounds for objecting to the King’s Club licence, and today we added some thoughts of our own. We’ve still got a bit more work to do on the letter itself but we will definitely get it to the council by the deadline on Thursday! We’d encourage individuals and other organisations to send their own objections as well.

We did feel a bit bad about meeting not actually in Harrogate, especially for those among us who don’t drive. But we thought the Sunday meetup was nice – it felt a bit more relaxed than an evening meetup as we didn’t feel so strung out from work, getting the kids to bed, etc. So next time we’re going to go for a weekend daytime, child-friendly meetup again, but this time in the town centre!

So, a date for your diary: Sunday, 26th February, from 10am, at Victus in Harrogate (they serve American pancakes until 11am – yum!). Children welcome.

Sarah



Two Harrogate clubs apply to become Sex Entertainment Venues

Both Wild Cats on Oxford Street and Kings Club on Kings Road have applied to become Sex Entertainment Venues under the newly adopted legislation.  Harrogate Borough Council have invited the public to make comment, and the closing date for this is Thursday 26th January.

We will discuss this at our next meeting on Sunday 22nd January and then make a response to HBC so please email harrogatefeminists@gmail.com if you’d like to come along.



No meeting in Oct.
October 16, 2011, 2:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

We won’t be having a meeting in Oct after all (sorry) but we will in November!



A well-attended meeting!

We had another meeting at Community House tonight. It is such a great venue.

We had loads of great discussion. I can’t remember everything we talked about. But some things that stuck in my mind long enough to dig out the relevant links:

1. An anecdote of a talented teenager who could have what it takes to be a stand-up comedian but wouldn’t on the grounds that “women aren’t funny”. Why is it still acceptable to say “women aren’t funny” / “women aren’t witty” / “women can’t be stand-up comics”? It’s wrong, anyway – we could all think of women comics we like.

But there is something in it, in a way: women laugh more at men’s jokes than vice versa. There is a “laughter reinforcing social hierarchies” theory discussed further in this Google Book.

2. Apparently one in ten men pays for sex. Why? We also talked about Eaves, and coincidentally it turns out Eaves has produced a report on this very question. Happy reading…

And the next meeting: Monday 12th September 7.30pm Community House – is this OK for most people?

Because in August it’s the UK Feminista Summer School: should be lots of fun!

Flyer for the UK Feminista Summer School 2011



Top 5 Things That Piss You Off About The Patriarchy – please!
April 25, 2011, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

We’ve had a fair few responses to our last email.

The most common question was “But where is Community House?” This is fair enough – I didn’t know myself until I went to that Social Media surgery.

So it’s here, 46/50 East Parade in Harrogate. There is disc parking on the street outside until 6pm – i.e. anyone can park on the road after 6pm, as long as there’s a space. The main entrance on the corner is usually closed after 5pm – so to get to the meeting rooms, you go down East Parade (on the right and past where the cars are parked on that picture I just linked to), down the little passageway at the side of the building and then it’s the door on your left.

They are going to charge us a small fee for use of the room, but it’s very reasonable given how nice the room is.

Regarding what next for the group: one comment we had was “we probably have the same burning issues.” But do we? I think we need to discuss this! What we need from everyone involved in the group, is your Top 5* Things That Piss You Off (from a feminist perspective).

Whether it’s seemingly trivial, or a frequently-discussed topic on the “Today” programme, isn’t important – what matters is that it matters to you, a group member. Drop us an email and let us know!

*or 3, or 10, or 1…

Addendum: Wikipedia, feminist websites and anthropologists all have their own idea of what patriarchy is; I’m using it here to emphasise that I’m talking about our society generally rather than any particular person, organisation or policy.



How many girls do A-level physics?

How many girls do A-level physics? This was the question I asked as we chose a secondary school for our daughters in the early eighties.  The best answer was “only three, but we’re working on it.”  Yes, that was the best answer!

I talked about this at the meeting on 21 March, and by coincidence the next morning it was a topic for discussion on Woman’s Hour.  The good news: everyone took it seriously.  The bad news: many of the problems that I encountered in the fifties, and then again in the eighties, were still there.

Maths seen as too difficult, teachers unsympathetic to problems, unfeminine image, very few role models or fellow-students.

As often happens in teaching, quite small changes can make a difference.  “Make sure the boys don’t hog the practical”, said one teacher.

Science education for girls and women?  Perhaps a future discussion topic?

– by Val Smith



The group gets bigger

We met again (with a record number of people in attendance!) to talk about the event A Celebration of Women, and to think about what we want to do next.

Good things about the event were:

  • it had a lovely “buzzy” atmosphere;
  • it was (as far as we know) the only event in Harrogate celebrating International Women’s Day;
  • many of us found it inspirational from a creative point of view;
  • there was lots of networking, with the emphasis being on the people and their skills rather than solely on the products for sale;
  • it was particularly great to have Lesley Dalton and her sugarcraft demo / interactive activity;
  • it was also great to have some relevant charities represented, including Amnesty, the Gambia Schools Trust and Acorn.

Ceramics by Karen Fall

We are keen to run a similar event again next year. Things to think about next time, now that we have more people who can help organise it, include:

  • more extensive publicity in advance, using the networks of people we have built up this time round;
  • more live demonstrations
  • more interactive activities, including those for children (face painting, etc)
  • coffee and cakes if possible

As for what we want to do next – we discussed two complementary types of activity:

  • “activism” (perhaps building on our previous work on licensing of lap-dancing clubs; there were also ideas relating to promoting female role models, especially in traditionally male-dominated activities and occupations) – this would probably be on weeknights, once a month
  • “social” type activities such as book swap, film night, picnic etc. – this would probably be on weekends, again once a month

We also felt that we are starting to outgrow our current meeting venue. So we’re thinking about whether we can find somewhere else to meet that might be more suitable. We’re looking into this one and will post an update as soon as we get it sorted out.