Harrogate Feminists

End Violence Against Women Event last Saturday
December 1, 2010, 9:25 pm
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On Saturday three of us came along (not all at once!) to support the Harrogate Soroptimists’ End Violence Against Women event in Harrogate town centre (in the Victoria shopping centre).

We learnt a lot, had fun and found we had lots of ground in common with the Soroptimists we met!

We also took the opportunity to start off our Street Harrassment Survey – thanks to everyone who’s already responded, and if you haven’t yet, do remember to complete our online version! (scroll down for the link)

Picture shows (left to right):  two members of Harrogate Soroptimists, Andrew Jones (MP for Harrogate,) Helen Stalker (President Harrogate Soroptimists) and Grace McGe (UNIFEM Yorkshire). Thanks to Judith McGee for kindly sending us the photo to put on our blog!


Street Harassment Survey
November 28, 2010, 12:54 pm
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We are conducting a survey as part of the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Violence. We would like to find out what people’s experience is locally, in Harrogate especially; any experience of shouted remarks, insults, innuendo, whistling, ogling, touching, pinching, slapping, hitting and stalking in a public space that made you feel sexualized, intimidated, embarrassed, violated, attacked, or unsafe.

This survey is anonymous and you do not have to answer any questions that make you feel uncomfortable.  We will use the findings to raise awareness about what public spaces are like for people locally.

Click here to take the survey.

Thank you in advance for taking part in this survey.  Results will be on our website from February 2011.

Quick notes from Monday’s meeting

We had a really good meeting on Monday with lively discussion and lots of planning!

SEV legislation

Harrogate Borough Council Licensing Committee is going to hold a public meeting at the council offices at 5.30pm on 11th November, to discuss whether they will adopt the proposed SEV legislation locally. Incidentally, while writing this post tonight I saw that in their report they did note our suggested improvements to their draft policy, although they haven’t summarised the detailed arguments we’d produced in support of our suggestions. One of the lap-dancing clubs submitted their own response via their lawyers. All other responses the Licensing Committee received during the consultation period were in favour of adopting the new legislation, which is great news. Let’s hope they do decide to adopt it!

16 Days of Activism

We are supporting the following events during this year’s 16 Days of Activism:

  • Harrogate Soroptimists’ End Violence Against Women stall on Sat 27th November in Victoria Shopping centre (first floor, opposite Mothercare).
  • Leeds Reclaim the Night march on Saturday 4th December.
  • DoH communications campaign on Violence against Women and Children – aimed both at members of the public and at those working in healthcare.

International Women’s Day 2011

In 2011, we would like to hold our own event, A Celebration of Women, to mark International Women’s Day (8th March) in its centenary year – to take place in Harrogate, probably either on the Saturday before or the Saturday after. We’re working on the details! For interest, see here for events organised by other UK groups in previous years…

Also, we reckon we need to have a constitution and a bank account, as currently we have No Funds Whatsoever, which is a bit inconvenient when planning an event… so we are going to get this sorted soon.

Next meeting – 22nd November – see “Meetings” for more details.

Men kill men; men kill women; women get killed

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission yesterday released its triennial review, entitled “How Fair is Britain?”

There’s a lot of interesting data in there, and over the next week or so, in this blog we’ll reproduce some bits of data relating to equality between women and men. But it’s also interesting to read the report as a whole. A picture emerges of a society made up of individuals who, on the whole, believe themselves to be tolerant, broad-minded and entirely fair at all times; but in which some groups of people nevertheless experience marked disadvantages in many aspects of life, simply due to the gender (or ethnicity) they happened to be born with.

The contrast between the view most people have of a pretty fair society, and the actual lived experiences of particular groups within it, is very marked. People who say that feminism is no longer relevant “because women and men are now equal” need to look at this report and think carefully whether this is really supported by the data we have.

As you’d expect, there is a lot of within-group variation, so of course there’s a big overlap between each of the different groups being compared; but taking the broad view, men and women are not yet equal, at least on the basis of many of the measures in the report.

The first theme tackled is entitled “Life”: what is an individual’s chance of dying from various causes?

A graph, reproduced here from the full report, shows that if you’re unlucky enough to get killed by another person, the person who’s most likely to have done it depends a lot on whether you are male or female. Men tend to get killed by strangers, friends or acquaintances; on the whole, that’s probably going to be other men. By contrast, women overwhelmingly tend to get killed by partners or ex-partners; on the whole, that’s probably going to be men, too. And in particular, those men with whom they once lived or had a relationship.

Behind the appearance of equal legal rights, tolerance and diversity within Britain today, there’s still a strong undercurrent of gender inequality that operates powerfully within the domestic sphere – behind closed doors.

“An Englishman’s home is his castle” may mean one thing to the Englishman, but another thing entirely to ‘er indoors.

We support the Leeds Reclaim The Night March
September 22, 2010, 7:38 pm
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We’d like to add our voices to the many organisations supporting the forthcoming Leeds Reclaim the Night March, which is planned for the 4th December.

Reclaim the Night is about asserting the right of women to feel free from fear of rape and sexual violence. The route has been especially designed to reclaim places where women feel vulnerable from attack – for example, near lap-dancing venues. Details are being posted on their website as soon as they are finalised. Currently there is a printable flyer – please print it off and spread the word!