Archive

Uncategorized

Edit: this page has been edited because Helen Chandler-Wilde (candidate for UCLU Women’s Officer) wished to remove her support for the statement until further notice. 

TRIGGER WARNING for sexism, violence against women, homophobia and transphobia.

In light of Kirk Sneade’s recent statement regarding his candidacy for UCLU Women’s Officer I, Beth Sutton – one of the two legitimate candidates – have decided to issue a statement.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

On Monday the candidates for the position of UCLU Women’s Officer were announced. On the ballot paper were two self-defining women (Beth Sutton and Helen Chandler-Wilde) and somebody who, up until nominations had self-defined as a man, and continues to do so outside of his election campaign.

Since declaring candidacy, Kirk and Mark Stander (Kirk’s Campaign Manager) have created a campaign page on facebook entitled ‘Kirk Sneade for Womans [sic] Officer 2013’. On this page they published a range of highly offensive material. This included a photo with the words ‘memes are gay’ written across it and Sneade’s ‘campaign video’ which features Captain Kirk from Star Trek kissing a woman and then punching her in the face. Sneade’s, now retracted, manifesto was equally abhorrent – he suggested ‘herding up the pretty girls you see around campus and keeping them ready for emergency transport to the Roxy later on when things start to get a little dry’. Today they released a statement saying they ‘would like to apologise to the feminist, gay and trans communities for any offence caused by material submitted under the Kirk Sneade for Womans [sic] Officer campaign page.’ This post can be seen below:
Image

It is clear to us that this apology is insincere. If Sneade were truly sorry for the offence they have caused then they would have withdrawn his candidacy. Earlier today at candidates’ breakfast Sneade and Stander met with several feminists who voiced their disgust at their plans to run for Women’s Officer. An argument ensued in which Sneade made a comparison between UCLU’s refusal to publish his manifesto and the persecution of communists in Nazi Germany. It was made clear to the pair that this and other comments were completely unacceptable. We believe that the only reason they have issued an apology is because they have realised the effect that publically running such a misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic campaign would have on them personally in the future. This backtrack is entirely motivated by self-interest. The fact that Sneade and Stander ever started the campaign clearly shows their contempt for women’s liberation.

The material they published was very obviously misogynistic and homophobic and transphobic. We have no doubt that this was clear to them from the moment they added it to their facebook campaign. The fact that they ever thought it was acceptable demonstrates their true feelings towards liberation campaigns and equality.

At the time of writing the ‘Vote Kirk Sneade’ page still features misogynistic material in the form of a post in which Sneade says that every time he hears Chris Brown he feels the need to ‘punch the nearest woman in the face’.

Sneade and Stander have not backed out of the elections and their intentions remain the same. They have always said they plan to abolish the position of Women’s Officer and in their latest post they say that they will ‘save the funds of the union by amalgamating the position over the course of a year into an equalities officer’. This can be interpreted in two ways – either they plan to combine all the liberation officers into one position or they intend to substitute the role of Women’s Officer for an ‘equalities officer’. Whatever is meant by this vacuous statement it proves beyond doubt that they neither understand nor respect liberation campaigns and the people who self-define into them.

We are calling for Kirk sneade and Mark Stander to withdraw Sneade’s candidacy for the position of Women’s Officer and remove their online material. In addition to this, due to the number and range of people their campaign has offended, in order for them to remain members of UCLU we demand that they attend sensitivity and equality training (a service that the Union offers as and when it’s needed).

Signed by:

Beth Sutton – UCLU Women’s Officer, current candidate for full-time Women’s Officer

 

Ruth Nicolson – Feminist Library, London Student Feminist Network
Susuana Antubam – RHUL Feminist Society President
Wanda Canton – Founder/President QMEquality, former QMSU Women’s Officer
Lydia Cray – President KCL Feminist Society
Laura Terry – UCLU LGBT+ Officer
Sophie Thomas – Birkbeck Women’s Officer
Naomi Beecroft – NCAFC National Committee, NCAFC Women’s Committee
Hannah Keenleyside – UCLU LGBT+ Women’s Representative
Amberine Khan – QMSU Women’s Officer
Lawrence Uziell – VP QMEquality
Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton – RHUL Equality and Liberation Officer
Tom Robinson – LGBT+ Trans* Representative
James McAsh – EUSA President, NCAFC National Committee
Annie Tidbury – UCLU Women’s Network
Alice Dunbabin – UCLU Women’s Network Secretary
Sarah Jones – Glasgow University Coalition of Resistance President
Rosie Booth – Women’s Officer University of Birmingham Guild of Students
Hona Luisa – EUSA External Council Rep, NCAFC Women’s Committee
Jannat Hossain – QMSU Multicultural Rep
Francesca Manning – KU Feminist Society
Women’s Association University of Birmingham
Marina Merryweather – Former UCL Cheese Grater Secretary
Mirren Gidda – Pi News Editor
Stef Newton – UCLU LGBT Officer 2011-12
Alistair Hudson
Lauren Tapp – NCAFC Scotland Queer Women’s Rep
Annabel Jones, NUS Women’s Committee, former Birkbeck SU Women’s Officer
Mengqian Li – Women’s Forum Volunteering Officer
Caroline Hill, UCL, Young Labour national committee
Kali Ravel – Member of the Birmingham Fems
Izaak FK
Aisling Gallagher – NUS-USI Women’s Officer, NUS Women’s Committee
Hel Gurney, NUS Women’s Committee
Gideon Greig graduate Queen’s University Belfast
Ginger Drage – UCLU Women’s Network
Chris Sutton UCLU LGBT+ Media Officer
Kirstin Hay, Imperial College Union Feminist Society, Women’s Officer LGBT Labour
Anon
Morgan Hale – RHUL LGBT+ Representative
Mark Tomlinson – Former Treasurer UCLU Jazz and Drama Societies
Natalie James – UCLU Women’s Network
Clopin Meehan – President of Glasgow Uni Feminist Society
Nina Grant – Bangor University Senator, Women’s Society member
Ben Towse – UCLU Postgraduate Association President
Hannah Webb – UCLU Community Officer
Jeannie Hyslop Parsons – EUSA Trustee
Aurora Adams – EUSA
Matthew Hollinshead – UWE
Jenny Willis – UCLU Music Society
Alex Daish – Graphics Editor of UCL Cheese Grater.
Rich T – Bristol SWP
Thais Yanez – ULU SENATE. NCAFC National Committee
Safia Ebbatson – UCL gender and fem soc
Peter Walke – UCL
Hannah Sketchley – Cheese Grater Investigations Ed 11-12 and UCLU Student Media Officer 11-12
Anne Fitzgibbon
Joe Dewhurst – PPLS Postgrad Rep, Edinburgh University
Laurie Cannell – UCLU LGBT+ Forum
Jacob Mirzaian – Leeds University Union Feminist Society
Jon Wright – UCL undergraduate
Kaedi Harris – UCL
Claire McIntyre – LLC Rep, Edinburgh University
Becca Day-Preston, University of Manchester
Eleanor Penny – UCL Gender & Feminism Society
Mical Nelken – UCL Gender & Feminism Society
Victoria Butcher – UCL Gender & Feminism Society
Kerry Johnson – candidate for Birkbeck Women’s Officer
Hannah Wait- UCL Undergraduate
Stevie Rankin – candidate for QMSU Women’s Representative
Serena Mitchell- UCL Gender & Feminism
Lisa Whitehead – Labour Studens South East Regional co-ordinator
Chris Evans – University of Manchester
Aine Mullan
Charlie Hindhaugh – Warwick SU Social Sciences Rep
Abigail Lewis – University of Warwick, Deputy Editor of the Boar and Senior Editor of Feminspire.com
Andrew Robinson – Leeds Met.
Nicole Rowe – LSE Gender student
Harry Cross – Diversity Officer, Durham Uni Labour Club
Frederick Sullivan-Wallace – Greenwich labour society
Alex Sargeson – Leicester Labour
Jack Lay – Kent Union
Thomas Messenger – Warwick Labour
Ben Dilks – University of York Students Union
Jack Boardman – Nottingham University
Daniel Johnston – St Andrews Uni, Vice-Chair of Scottish Labour Students
Marc Geddes – Chair, South Yorkshire Young Labour
Jack Falkingham – KCL
Joe Whitley
Sam Woodcock – Labour Students
Brad Marshall – University of Leicester NUS Delegate
Callum Munro – Labour Students
Joe Ferreira – Kent Union Chair
Tony Richards – LSESU Labour Communications Officer
Tom Masters
Matt Davies – University of Warwick, UofWarwick Labour Society
Joe Anderson – Chair, LSE Students’ Union General Meeting
Ricky Hardy – University of Leeds
Emma O’Dwyer – National Chair of Labour Students
Michael Rubin, Education Officer Elect, University of Leicester Students’ Union
Tom Rutland – Labour Students National Committee
Joe Vinson – NUS NEC / President of Cornwall College SU
Tyron Wilson – University of Essex Students’ Union, Equality and Diversity Officer
Harry Langford – Chair, NTU Labour Club
Ben Murray – University of Warwick
Baris Yerli – University of Warwick
Sarah Webster – University of Manchester
Kevin McNamara – President of Kent University Liberal Democrats, Kent Union LGBT Campaign Committee member
Caroline Dubois – UCL Student & UCLU Women’s Rugby
Martha Gillespie – Ethics and Environment officer RHUL, RHUL Feminist Society
Emma Spowart – UCL, President UCLU SSAGO
Elliot Evans – former Trans Rep, NUS LGBT Committee
Rika Talukder – former RUMS VP for Welfare
Claire McIntyre – LLC Rep, Edinburgh University
Steven Pettitt – RHUL LGBT Society Secretary
Søren Goard – VP Education, Goldsmiths College SU
Lenny Hodges – UCL
Pouneh Ahari – Vice-Chair Leicester labour
NM Duffy, Kent Union LGBT Campaign Media Officer
Franziska Harbich – Warwick University Anti-Sexism Society VP
Sarah McAlpine – contributor to The Independent, former President of UKC Feminist Society
Rebecca Wright- member of Bristol University Feminist Society
Jade Symonds- Treasurer, LSESU Labour and Cooperative Society
Søren Goard – VP Education Officer at Goldsmiths SU
Annie Cooke, UCL
Catherine Bond-Harris – UCL Gender and Feminism Society
Eve Worth: Women’s Officer, Oxford University Labour Club
Faith Anderson- UCL Student
Emilia Antiglio – University of Warwick
Sam Conway- London Young Labour Committee Member
Samantha Castles – Chair of the University of Essex Feminist Society, Women’s Committee member   and NUS Women’s Conference Delegate
Renni Eddo-Lodge – UCL MA Gender Studies Postgraduate
Ellen Doggett – University of Warwick Undergraduate
Miranda Brown – UCL ASHS Secretary
Eleanor Broadbent – Leeds University Union
Georgia Emblen – Leeds University Alumni
Kady Tee – Leeds Metropolitan University Union
Arthur Baker – Undergraduate Humanities Rep, University of Manchester
Abi Wilkinson – University of Bristol
Dominic Curran – Warwick Students’ Union Campaigns Councillor
Emma Glassey – LSE Student
Katie Dichard – Medical Women’s Federation BSMS representative
Embla Magnusdottir – LGBT* Society President at Leeds Met Student Union
Calum Cockburn – UCL
Olivia Lynes – UCL
Callum Strode – Head Publicist, PRpivot
Amy Reddington – Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.
Harriet D. – UCL student.
Michael Thorns – Charity & Fundraising Officer, University of Essex Student’s Union
Sian Watson – University of Essex Fem Soc
Taisia Beleanina – UCL Student
Alice Stott – LSESU Women’s Officer
Chantel Le Carpentier – Labour Students National Women’s Officer
Ben Hawkes, University of Portsmouth
Rebecca Spaven – UCL Undergraduate
Sam Carpenter – Birkbeck student
Graham Clarke – Birkbeck BA Student
Hanna Stentoft – UCLU Nordic Society Social Secretary
Katharine Howard-Comber – University of Leeds student
Ellie Nelson – University of Bristol
Matt Corner – UCL student
Joshi Sidhu – Birkbeck Students’ Union
Stefani Kalife
Eleanor Griffiths – former Queen Mary QMEquality member
Robyn Sands, UEA Student
Lauren Brown – UCL
James Smith – Out Reach Officer for Leeds Met LGBT*
Aarti Sehdev – UCL
Charley Hasted – Lambeth College Student, Dulwich and West Norwood Liberal Democrats Exec (personal capacity)
Laura Martin, RHUL Feminism Society
Cel West – Queer Resistance
Sophie McKie – University of Sheffield
Grace Harvey
Ellie Cameron-Smith – QMUL
Thomas Hughes – Leeds Met LGBT* Treasurer
Ophelia Lai – UCL
Sarah Noble – Coordinator of Leeds University Union Feminist Society, candidate for LUU Equality and Diversity Officer
Vimbai Dzimwasha – UCL
Amanda Langston
Matthew Deaves – UCL and University of Iceland student
Matthew Smith – Ruskin College Student Union President
Olivia Walker – UCL Brain Sciences Faculty Representative
Amy Masson – Full Time Women’s Officer, University of Sheffield Students’ Union Rachel Tibbetts – Councillor, University of Sheffield Students’ Union
Rachel Merritt
Natalie King – Sheffield University Women’s Committee
Claire Roper – University of Sheffield Students’ Union, English Society President
Lucy Pedrick – University of Sheffield Women’s Councillor
Any Godwin – Secretary, Birkbeck Pride
Natalie Lloyd – University of Salford LGBT Society Secretary
Emma Barker – UCL
Yael Shafritz – Sheffield LGBT Campaigns Officer
Alison Moulds – Birkbeck Women’s Campaigns Committee
Ana Hine – Dundee University
Tris Rogers – UCL
Sarah Soormally – Queen Mary’s
Beth Sparks – Queen Mary’s
Tom Cowie – UCL
Patrick Cullen – Founder member, LSE SU Feminist Society 2006-08
Ananya Rao-Middleton – Goldsmiths University student
Laura Dunbabin – University of Leeds
Ross Speer – LSE NUS Delegate
Bethan Jones – UCL
Kristie Waller – Ruskin College, Women’s Officer
Daniel Bowman – UCL Debating Society
Sophie Willmington – Birkbeck College
Christopher Maurice Brown – Los Angeles
Steph Day – UCLBC Women’s captain
Heather P – Durham University
George McVicar
Gabriel Everington – LSE student
Lucy Yaqub – London School of Economics
Phoebe Hall – UCL
Sylvia H Goodrick – UCL student
Sally Bonsall – LSE Student and LSESU Feminist Society
Aislinn O Reilly – UCL
Hattie M – UCL, Pi Section Editor
Sabine Sharp – University of Sheffield, former Petroc (Barnstaple Campus) LGBT Officer
Samantha Hallett – UoM Student

 

If you would like to add your name to this please comment below- if you feel unsafe with leaving your real name please simply write anon.

We accept signatures from all.

But please be aware that some people have felt the need to submit comments that are against this statement, we have accepted those that do not feature hate speech.

 

Women’s Network Guidance Document

Here is the current (2011-2012) Guidance Document for UCLU Women’s Network. 

In the next forum we will be discussing changes that people may wish to make to it, including the introduction of new committee positions, and possibly the removal of current positions. 

It’s also worth thinking about the wording of the documentation, i.e. who can run for certain roles, all riveting stuff, particularly is you’re a little punctilious. 

Read More

Thanks to everyone who turned out today for the First Women’s Forum. 

It was really great to chair, and see so many fresh and eager faces all ready to smash the patriarchy. 

Today was a great way to mull over some ideas for future campaigns and events, and generally get to know what it is that the Women’s Network gets up to and you to suggest what we should be doing. 

Our next forum will be less informal, as guidance documents need to be discussed, with mention of changing certain positions on the committee, including introducing a position for a Black and Ethnic Minority Representative (BEM). 

The guidance document will be added on here so people can look over it and suggest any changes that they wish to make. 

Read More

Hey everyone, just to let you know that the first Women’s Forum of the year will be on Tuesday 9th October at 1-2pm in the Social Study Space, second floor of 25 Gordon Street. 

It’s a great opportunity to discuss the year ahead, share ideas for activities, socials and future campaigns. 

Look forward to seeing everyone there, and continue to smash the patriarchy!!

Beth (Women’s Officer)

(Sorry this is so late!)

Image

The Catholic anti-abortion group ‘40 Days for Life’ really love Bedford Square. In fact they love it so much they were there for every day of Lent from 8am to 8pm, harassing and intimidating people entering the BPAS clinic located on the north-west corner. Their tactics are typical of the many ‘pro-life’ groups popping up all around the UK. They pray, they sing, they handout hideous anti-choice propaganda (examples here: http://tinyurl.com/40dfl-lies) and they approach those trying to access the myriad of services that BPAS has to offer. You may even have had the misfortune to walk past them, and will have seen them gathered around a large banner that reads ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you – God’ (direct quote from the Lord, apparently) and accompanied by teeny-tiny plastic models of foetuses.

Last Friday 40 Days For Life held a vigil with bonus celebrity guest Bishop Alan Hopes. For one night only, instead of a few bigots with rosaries, there were hundreds of bigots with rosaries and pro-choice activists from across the country came to meet them.

The Bloomsbury Pro-Choice Alliance was created directly in response to 40DFL’s Bedford Square antics and managed to rally a huge amount of support for last night’s demo within just a few weeks. There was pro-choice solidarity aplenty with pro-choice groups such as Abortion Rights, Ed for Choice and the newly-formed Red Rag Campaign amongst the crowd. It was hard to get a sense of just how many people were there, but by 7.30 we clearly outnumbered 40DFL (although this has been vehemently disputed on several ‘pro-life’ blogs…). At one point even Critical Mass arrived to show their support for the pro-choice cause.

Image
The night mainly consisted of 40DFL mumbling dreary hymns and kneeling at random intervals, at which point the pro-choice crowd would shout ‘kneel down if you hate women!’ Our side of the barriers the atmosphere was much livelier – there was singing, chanting, dancing and a samba band. No protest is complete without a samba band. There were also some excellent placards that deserve a mention including ‘Keep the pope away from my pussy’, ‘My abortion didn’t drive me crazy but anti-choicers do’ and a personal favourite:
‘Abortion rights: don’t fuck with them, don’t fuck without them’.

Meanwhile there were several slightly sinister things taking place on the other side of the police-constructed No Man’s Land. The chanting was ritualistic, the motivation misogynistic. Perhaps one of the most worrying aspects of 40DFL’s vigil was that some people had decided to bring their children and encouraged them to pray for us heathens opposite them. At one point, two girls aged about 6 came forward to play with the tiny foetus dolls laid out on the ground. The group Education For Choice led chants of ‘stop lying to your kids’ whilst the 40DFL crowd encouraged more children to gather around the creepy altar-like centrepiece at the front of the vigil.

Last Friday’s pro-choice/anti-choice face-off proves that, once again, bodies have become a battle ground. The reproductive rights many of us thought were safe are constantly coming under attack. Whilst the protest was clearly a strong, pro-choice victory we cannot get complacent – we need to remember that 40DFL are actually just part of a larger trend of anti-abortion ‘American-style’ protests across the country. Anyone in Brighton should be supporting Brighton Pro-Choice in their campaign against the unspeakably abhorrent Abort67. As for those of us in the Bloomsbury area, we’re certain that 40DFL will be back this autumn so follow @BloomsburyPCA and be ready to get involved. Wherever you are in the UK, look out for campaigns near you – the pro-choice majority urgently needs to mobilise against those who are unashamedly waging a war on women.

For those of you on twitter, these people are definitely worth a follow:

@BloomsburyPCA
@
Abortion_Rights

@40daysoftreats

@feminist4choice

@RedRagCampaign
@bpas1968

@BrightonPC

@
EdForChoice

And a date for the diary – Brighton Carnival for Choice – 15th April 2012, Worthing
http://www.facebook.com/events/218760944898295/

(Thanks to @spiraltastic for the pictures!)

Annie Tidbury

For anybody who hasn’t seen it – This is in response to Lucy Mangan’s blog post which I’d suggest people read first. http://www.stylist.co.uk/people/lucy-mangan/even-the-girl-guides-is-kowtowing-to-the-modern-world#image-rotator-1

Last year 8,000 new members joined Girlguiding UK and around half of the women in the UK have been a member at some point in their life. Despite being the largest organisation for girls and women in the country a lot of people have preconceptions about Guiding and unfortunately Lucy Mangan’s article is a fairly typical response from someone with little experience of the organisation as it currently is.

Firstly, we’re hardly a ‘bastion of conservatism’ and I don’t think that term could ever have accurately have described us. For the last 100 years we’ve put girls in the lead, encouraging their potential and celebrating their achievements regardless of their background, race or sexual orientation. An example of this is that the national HQ have released guidelines encouraging members who identify as LGBT+ to attend ‘Gay Pride’ events in uniform to show how varied an organisation we are.

The specific resources mentioned in the article include ‘Glamourama’ and ‘Passion 4 Fashion’ and admittedly these names may be overly fluffy but they’re part of a balanced set of activities girls can do. Lucy only just touched on the variety of opportunities we offer members. Whilst a healthy lifestyles badge might at first glance only be about eating your 5 a day and doing exercise, it in fact looks at the issue of eating disorders and positive body image.  The ‘Together We Can’ resources look at how girls can play a role in achieving the millennium development goals and ‘Me in Mind’ gets older girls to find out about mental health issues. We have badges and challenges for girls that centre on science, discovering different faiths and independent living and even a resource dedicated to looking at the traditionally male dominated area of careers in the construction industry.

I’m not sure how long it’s been since Lucy Mangan actually went to a guide unit but I can assure you that we’re still proud to be the type of environment where girls can be themselves and develop in a girls only space free from the type of pressures they can encounter in school. In fact, I believe that at the heart of Guiding are some intrinsically feminist values. For example, from a young age girls are encouraged to decide things for themselves and are given leadership roles and responsibility. Self-worth and self-belief are two values promoted through small achievements such as badges as well as larger awards for older members including Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen’s Guide Award.

No one’s denying that the over sexualisation of young girls is an issue and the portrayal of women in the media is definitely a problem. But to use Girlguiding UK to demonstrate this, as anyone with any involvement in the organisation will know, is far from the truth. Every year the organisation carries out Girls Attitudes surveys which seek to understand what issues are important to girls as well as finding out how they feel about certain aspects of their life. Following on from research in 2009, which highlighted body image as a concern, the organisation campaigned in 2010 against air brushing which involved petitioning the Prime Minister as well as bringing the issue to many people’s attention. We’ve always been an organisation at the forefront of giving girls and young women a voice in the UK as well as sending delegations across the world – in fact, some members have only just returned from the UN Women’s Conference in New York a few weeks ago.

We’re part of a wider network of women’s organisations over the world under the umbrella organisation World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) whose current campaign is against violence of any form towards girls and women. Some of the latest activities units are being encouraged to do involve teaching girls when to recognise violence in its mental and physical forms and what to do in that situation.

In conclusion, even if people’s perceptions of Guiding are rooted firmly in the past, Guiding itself has moved into the 21st century and is tackling problems head on.

Rachael Graham (Guide Leader, 7th St Pancras Guides)

More information on the organisation www.girlguiding.org.uk