CFN General Election Manifesto

14 Apr

Votes for WomenWith one month to go until the general election, women in Cardiff have been discussing how they will vote on the 7th May.

Cardiff Feminist Network wants to elect MPs who will speak up, campaign and vote in the interests of women. As a result, we have identified a number of issues that are important to women in Cardiff – these stemmed from the discussions at the CFN meeting earlier this year, where 30-40 people discussed their priorities for the network in the coming year. As agreed at the meeting, a small group compiled the manifesto and it was signed off at the CFN meeting on Wednesday.

Today we have sent the manifesto to all of the candidates standing in the four Cardiff constituencies next month and asked them to let us know which of the 15 statements they are happy to sign up to.  You can access the manifesto here and the response form here.

It would be great if you could contact your candidates and urge them to respond to our email and let us know whether they will be supporting the 15 statements. And let us know if you get any responses! You can find out who your candidates are here.

If you’re a candidate, please email your response form to:

The Working Women’s Charter: Then and Now

31 Jan

Guest post by Florence Jillett. Originally posted here.

It was at my first meeting with the Cardiff Feminist Network that I was made aware of the Working Women’s Charter, first published in the seventies. Upon hearing the demands made by the Women’s Liberation Movement (equal pay, opportunity, education and working conditions being the main issues) I realised that perhaps nothing has changed.

It’s 2015 and the pay divide between women and men is still 35% for top executives. This is four decades after the equal pay act (popularised in the Made in Dagenham film and now musical) and when you take into consideration that women are more likely to work part time and take time out of their careers in order to have and care for children, and the fact women statistically live longer but pay less into their pension then men, this means serious hardship for women later in life.

One other point, education, is still an issue. Recently Emma Watson made headlines when under the hashtag #heforshe a young girl asked her what should she do to prove her father wrong when he said women couldn’t be engineers as it was a man’s profession. Watson replied “Become an engineer”. Although according to a report in 2014 that women are a third more likely to gain a university place then men, they still lag behind in typically male subjects such as maths and science. Whether this is due to the worrying report that women suffer from the “Imposter syndrome” which is the feeling described in Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” as being the feeling of inadequacy or the idea you’re successes are based on luck not talent (also called the “Fraud Police” as named by Amanda Palmer in her 2014 book “The Art of Asking”) more likely then men and don’t feel that they can succeed in these fields is something we need to address.

And if they do go to University and do a male subject, they may encounter more sexism whilst there. In the book based on the website of the same name “Everyday Sexism” it is reported that nearly 70 per cent of female university students have experienced verbal or non verbal harassment in or around their institution (NUS Hidden Marks Survey 2010) and it was recently reported in The Independent Newspaper that 74% of students are aware of lad culture and sexually provocative websites like “Unilad” and the “Lad Bible” and a vast percentage have heard rape “jokes” being bantered about. Indeed when I was at university you had to weigh up how much you wanted to wear your new dress versus how little you wanted someone to stick their hand underneath it at the club.

Child care is still a serious issue for mothers. Most women want to return to their place of work after having a child, but despite the Women’s Working Charter wanting extended hours, free of charge and suitable for working mothers childcare and nurseries there is still a struggle for working mothers. It is a mother who faces the brunt of child care because is a woman who has the extended maternity leave. Paternity leave is paltry compared to maternity leave, but in my opinion extended paternity leave would be the biggest benefit to women because then there wouldn’t be the issue of whether a woman of childbearing age was going to have a child later in life when applying for a job and be stigmatised because of it because a man would be just as likely to take a significant amount of time off work to care for his child. I do not have my own children but have seen first hand how my sisters hours, responsibilities and therefore pay at her job were reduced after she had my nephew.

In May of last year the Tory Government boasted of their advancement of equality for women, and although a 7% increase in female MPs is an achievement that still only takes us to 30%. It was around that time that the UK, the sixth largest economy in the world was ranked joint 26th with Belarus (ranked 67th in the economy scale) in the World Mothers Index. Bad times indeed. Little to celebrate I think.

So what can we do? And here I’m going to get you to do some homework.
Write to your local politician. Hell, write to David Cameron. Join a local feminist group or set one up. Go through your local councils budget and see what is being spent and where, how much is going to women and their needs? Then if you don’t like what you see write another letter to your council. Do something for International Women’s Day. Think about an issue you care about. I am passionate about practical help for women in poverty and am going to organise a feminine products drive at a local supermarket.

Just do something. Make a difference. Change the world a little bit at a time.

We Do Not Support Sexism – Anywhere!!

5 Feb


We’re glad that this issue is starting to get around.

Originally posted on ..:: El-Jay ::..:


As a UK based, small business which progressed from a hobby to our full time jobs (yes I did say “our” – husband and wife ), we are proud to support ALL small businesses whether male or female run.

In our opinion sexuality stands for nothing when it comes to running a business. Running a business is about commitment and skill, knowledge of your product and customer base, marketing and putting time into doing what you love!!

We are proud to support UK small businesses of all genders, locations and varieties… we are proud to be a part of many fabulous networking pages including Craftymakers, Networking Angels and I Run A Small Business.

As many of you will be aware, today there has been an outcry after a message was posted on the home page of the UK Small Business Directory.

Please note: This is a serious website for serious…

View original 344 more words

Yet another article about the ‘Blurred Lines’ controversy [TRIGGER WARNING: contains references to sexual assault]

15 Nov

TRIGGER WARNING: contains references to sexual assault and links to articles that explicitly mention sexual assault.

I’m getting seriously bored by how long this has been in the media, not because I don’t care about the issue, but because everyone is just repeating the same stuff: banning the song from Students’ Unions amounts to censorship and is against Freedom of Speech, blah blah blah… But every single debate I have read seems to overlook the fact that some (around 20) institutions refusing to play a certain song, is not censorship but rather boycotting. People can still access the song; in shops, on the radio, on the internet. This song has not been censored in the UK.

If Robin Thicke’s unpleasant song is played in Students’ Unions, he will receive royalties each time it is played. I think that the SUs should be making this point when announcing their decision to ‘ban’ the song: they are boycotting it, refusing to endorse it by giving the singer money and airtime, not committing a totalitarian example of censorship.

The ‘Blurred Lines’ lyrics are by no means the most misogynist you can find, but this is not the point. As this blog post shows, some of the lyrics in this song are horribly similar to things that rapists and sexual assaulters have said to their victims. And as this recent study shows, even the phrases used by mainstream lad’s mags are linguistically similar to the phrases rapists use to justify their crime.

What is so upsetting about these examples is that they display just how normalised and acceptable it is to say these things – so acceptable that many people have trouble even understanding how the Blurred Lines lyrics can be construed as misogynistic. Once again, the media portrays us as man-hating feminists overreacting to ‘just a bit of harmless fun’.


Rowan Hope Campbell


3 Nov

Do you want to write for Cardiff Feminist Network? 

If so, let us know! We can add you as a contributor to the blog so you can write straight into the blog. 

JUSTICE HAS PREVAILED (and more dramatic lines from movies)

20 May


If you don’t know already, Shrouk is one of Cardiff most famous and most loved citizens and she has been waiting for a decision on her asylum application for… well, I don’t know… years… literally. And so it is with everybody’s great pleasure that we tell you this good news today.

I won’t dwell too much on the past because, to be honest, I wouldn’t know where to start. I also wouldn’t know where to end, which tells me that there would be a lot in the middle and, really, it’s too close to my bedtime for an in depth analysis about all that’s happened.

But I will tell you what happened today. 

About thirty sooted and booted anarchists, queers, hippies and lovers all came along to Columbus House courts in Newport to support Shrouk. It doesn’t sound like many until one tries to cram them all into a room with a seated capacity of about ten (including the five seats reserved for Shrouk, her two representatives, the presenter for the Home Office, and another man whose role I am unsure of).

So we’re off to a fantastic start already. The Home Office representative asked the judge that the Home Office be allowed to stall the hearing until a later date and then it was two full hours of arguing whether or not the judge was within his power to actually give the Home Office permission to this. My personal understanding – or, interpretation – of the Home Office’s request is that it didn’t have a strong enough case to argue that Shrouk should be deported. The court was adjourned (is that the right word?) for fifteen minutes. Some of us smoked, others prayed and chanted while the rest RANSACKED the vending machines (who knew that listening could be so tiring!?). When we were called in, we were told that the judge did in fact have the power to decide whether or not to grant the Home Office permission to stall the case. He did not grant that permission. Then, in a most unceremonial way, he said that Shrouk was to be granted indefinite leave. We weren’t sure what had happened, especially because the court had been arguing over a technical matter for two hours… we’d dug our heels in for a full day of back-and-forth arguing, but no… that was it. It was decided it. The judge clarified the point for us. Yes, we heard it right, Shrouk has been granted indefinite leave!! 

The court erupted in applause and, as Jake put it so eloquently: queers in tears.

This has been a fine day for justice indeed.

Important changes for Cardiff Feminist Network

10 May

Yesterday, Sara Giro and I attended a grantfinder session with a lovely lady called Thoria who works for the Cardiff 3rd Sector Council. The purpose of this session was to source potential funding pots for future CFN events. Alongside this, we were given some very useful advice about how CFN might become a charity, limited company, or Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The reason why we have been talking about this is that, as a non-affiliated community group, CFN has very limited access to funding opportunities. Since we want to increase our potential as a community activist group, it makes sense to look at this restructuring as a solution to that everlasting question in the grassroots movement: where’s the money going to come from? After listening to Thoria’s summary of the pros and cons of each legal structure, Sara and I have concluded that becoming a CIO is the most obvious way forward for our group. It seems to us the least risky option.  On paper, it would mean that CFN labours under the CIO name but, really, on a day-to-day basis for members, it won’t change anything (except that we will have more events and campaigns to look forward to). For more information about what becoming a CIO entails, please look here.

So what does this mean for us, right now? 

Well, firstly, we need to become a fully-fledged member of the Cardiff 3rd Sector Council. In order to do this, we need to have a constitution. This is a document that summarises the purpose(s) of our network, our legal structure, how decisions are made, how members are admitted, and so on. It is about two pages long. I have written one up today and have sent it to Sara and Hannah Austin (the founding member of CFN) for commentary. When we are all satisfied that it is a working document, we will call our first AGM as a network. Expect this to happen in the next two weeks. Yes, it’s hasty, but if we are going to organise more events, we need to have money, so we need to register as a legally recognised charitable organisation, so we need to have the advice of C3SC. Some other reasons why we’d like to become a fully-fledged member of C3SC is that they can offer us some great benefits such as regular grantfinder sessions, training sessions for up to 2 representatives of CFN on various subjects and issues (such as community fundraising, charity law, etc) and regular access to advice from third sector experts. All this for free.

I really hope that no-one is reading this and thinking, but you’ve done all of this without our consent. That would be a fair judgement. I have mentioned these happenings on the CFN FB group several times. Our actions at the time really only warranted limited reference – all we were doing at time was wondering whether or not CFN could get funding for a film club/festival (curated by me) and for a women’s art exhibition (curated by Sara Giro and Arron Kuiper). However, since it looks like we will have to change the legal structure of our group in order to get any money, we (obviously) then  have to tell you.

What does this mean in the long run?

Well, day-to-day, for our everyday members, it doesn’t change anything. Not at first, anyway. With a lot of work and a little bit of luck, we might just be able to start running some events and programmes that do impact on our members’ everyday lives, whether through educational programmes or through socialising and networking. Maybe we’re being optimistic.

Day-to-day for committee members, it would mean keeping an extra eye on opportunities for CFN. What can we feasibly hope to achieve as a network and how do we go about making some of these things happen?

Overall, though, what we’d like to avoid is getting bogged down in administration, guidelines and rules. We’ve worked well so far as an informal group and we’d like to keep it that way (for the most part). It’s just the way of it that when money becomes an issue, legal structures have to be put in place (or one of us has to have a rich, philanthropically-inclined aunt).

To end this post, I would like to propose another change: behavioural policy. We’ve had issues in the past with some members dominating debates and conversations and it has alienated some members (potential and actual). On one or two occasions, these people have been removed from the group (as a last resort) as it was deemed to be in the best interests of everyone involved. To date, no-one has ever complained that the actions taken were the wrong ones.

Now, to prevent these situations from occurring again, I propose that we write a short, definitive policy that lays out the network members’ expectations of each other. I don’t want this to spell the end of informalism within the network and, for the most part, we’ve done very well without having to refer to policies, rules, or expectations. But sometimes it does need to be said that everyone has the right to be listened to and to be respected without fear of being insulted.

If you have any comments, ideas, or even criticisms, please do let me know. This is something that I’d like to add to the website and FB group relatively soon.

Thank you all.


** EDIT: Sara has kindly reminded me that there is a social on Sunday (for which you can find details here). If you have any questions at all about these proposed changes then please do come along.


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