Cardiff Feminist Network’s 1st mtg + some updates

27 Mar

Here are some notes from Wednesday’s meeting. Also been blogging for UK Feminista, the new network launched today in London by Kat Banyard, author of the amazing “The Equality Illusion”, ex-campaigner for the Fawcett Society and all-round good egg. UK Feminista aims to connect grassroots activists with the women’s sector in the UK. Will be blogging for them regularly providing a Cardiffian / Welsh perspective – click here to read the blog.

CFN meeting #1!

Had our first “proper” meeting on Wednesday – had a really good turnout and some interesting debates around the subject of what feminism means to us. Thought that’d be a nice introductory topic for us to develop an understanding of each other’s views and interests.

We covered all kinds of ground – from equal pay to lads’ mags, gender identity, and women’s “herstories”. While the age range in the room was mostly 20s, I was really pleased that there were also several women who’ve been involved in feminism in Cardiff since the 70s, who set up Rape Crisis phonelines and women’s centres during that time (for reference, there’s now only 1 Rape Crisis Centre in all of Wales – and no women’s centre in all of Wales’s capital city…)

For me the most interesting aspect of discussions was around the ways in which, now that women “technically” have equality in the eyes of the law, sexism has become more insipid and normalised in culture. The same old issues clearly remain – equal pay, political representation, gendered violence, childcare, the divide of domestic work – but now there’s this widespread belief that feminism’s over; we’re equal; get over it. And how to challenge that when even the word “feminism” is something which makes so many people recoil in horror… So much easier to change laws than attitudes!

Also interested in the issues on which there were clear generational divides – namely, views on involving men in feminist activism; and identity politics e.g. lesbianism as a political identity and transgender issues. I’m sure these will make for interesting future discussions and hope the group becomes more diverse to get some debate going on these issues and more!
Next meeting: Weds 7th April, Milgi Bar yurt (City Rd, Roath), 6-8pm. Will be focusing on planning activism, places to go, and discussion topics – getting a bit of a calendar together! Come with ideas for all of these and anything else you want to do in the near future and we’ll get planning 🙂

Ideas so far for discussion topics include: men and feminism; LGBT issues; objectification; women’s health; women’s herstories; women and the arts; porn; childcare and domestic work; equal pay…

And for actions: Feminist Fridays; reading group; awareness-raising with flyers and in-the-street stuff; crafts day; Reclaim the Night march; linking in with women’s orgs for the 16 Days of Gender Action (25 Nov – 10 Dec).

Launch of Wales’s first ever Violence Against Women strategy!

Think it’s also worth mentioning that this week the Welsh Assembly Government published Wales’s first ever integrated violence against women strategy. It’s not perfect, but it’s a huge step forward, and something that the women’s sector in Wales has been campaigning on for ages. Read Welsh Women’s Aid’s response here and the Wales Violence Against Women Action Group’s response here.

UK Feminista

*Gutted* to have missed UK Feminista‘s launch today – but after the all-work-no-sleep-ness of this week (see also: VAW strategy launch mentioned above..!), the 7am bus was looking less appealing! Hear it was amazing though

There was widespread interest – and offer of a minibus! – in visiting Bristol Feminist Network when UK Feminista visit them on 28 April. Also an ace opportunity to connect with feminist activists across the Severn. Can’t wait! 🙂

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