Women's rights and Feminism

Banning hijab in schools

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

David Pendletone

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, socially and historically the hijab

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

Muslim women, the veil and the Christchurch massacre

Published on: Wed, 27/03/2019 - 10:01
Author

Marieme Helie Lucas

Marieme Helie Lucas, an Algerian socialist feminist, has written this open letter: to people of good will, solidarising with victims of the Christchurch massacre; to the New Zealand Prime Minister; and to the management of Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada.

In response to massacres perpetrated by extreme-right white supremacists in two mosques in New Zealand on 15 March 2019, several symbolic actions took place that aimed at conveying to Muslims — who were attacked as such, since they were praying in the mosque when it happened – that they could count on their fellow citizens’

US socialist organisation implodes

Published on: Wed, 27/03/2019 - 07:24
Author

Stephen Wood

A crisis which looks terminal is gripping the International Socialist Organization (ISO), the largest would-be Trotskyist organisation in the US.

In a letter to ISO members of 15 March, now published at socialistworker.org, the Steering Committee elected at the ISO convention in late February to replace the old leadership describe the convention as their “most painful.” “Much of the convention was devoted to reckoning with the damaging impacts of our past practices and internal political culture. As branches have reported back and opened up these discussions, more examples of a damaging

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