UK FEMINISTA

In last months issue of the3rdi magazine we were pleased to introduce UK Feminista. We are delighted to brings this follow up information from that first consultation meeting.

Overview
UK Feminista is a unique and innovative organisation being launched in March 2010. UK Feminista aims to build a national movement of feminist activists and mobilise them to effect real and lasting change in gender relations. Activists will be mobilised primarily through campaigns coordinated by other women’s rights organisations in the UK. The ultimate vision of the organisation is that women in the UK live free from sexism and enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Background
Gender inequality remains endemic in the UK: 100,000 women are raped every year, less that 20% of MPs are women, and women are paid on average 22.6% less than men. While recent years have witnessed a resurgence in grassroots activism aimed at ending gender inequality in the UK, it remains under-resourced and largely invisible in mainstream public life and, as a result, is limited in its effectiveness. Many women’s organisations do not have the capacity to directly foster and support a base of feminist activists and therefore face difficulty in mobilising mass support for their campaigns.

Yet grassroots feminist activism (campaign action taken by ordinary citizens) is critical to building public support for legislative change, addressing local community-based issues, and engaging all sections of society in the process of change necessary to achieve gender equality. UK Feminista seeks to fill this important gap and in doing so bring vital ‘people power’ to women’s rights campaigning.

Vision and mission
UK Feminista’s vision is of a society in which women live free from sexism and enjoy all the rights enshrined in CEDAW. The mission of UK Feminista is to inspire, enable and mobilise feminist activism UK-wide to achieve this vision.

Underpinning the work of UK Feminista is a set of core values:

Feminist: FEM UK exists to promote feminism and to mobilise feminist activism in order to ensure that all women can enjoy their rights as enshrined in CEDAW.

Inclusive: We seek to make feminism more easily accessible to a wider cross-section of civil society than at present and enable all women and men to take action to end gender inequality.

Diverse: We recognise that sexism intersects with other forms of discrimination and inequality. A commitment to diversity will therefore underpin both our organisational practices and outcomes.

Strategic aims
In order to fulfil its mission the work of UK Feminista is guided by five strategic aims:

1. Build a UK-wide movement of feminist activists
2. Increase the effectiveness of feminist activism through capacity building
3. Establish strategic partnerships with the women’s rights sector and mobilise activists in support of partners
4. Trial and develop activism techniques
5. Raise public awareness of feminism and feminist activism

Activities
The work of UK Feminista in its first year will centre on eight main activities:

1. Quarterly FEM Forum meetings which enable feminist groups to input into the activities of UK Feminista

2. Strategic partnerships with the women’s rights sector and ongoing engagement with women’s organisations

3. A monthly activist e-newsletter detailing campaign actions individuals and groups can take

4. A website constituting a one-stop-shop for feminism in the UK

5. Monthly capacity building training sessions for feminist activists

6. Three-month programmes of activities for feminist groups

7. Annual report on the state of feminism in the UK

8. National conference called FEM 10 will be held to provide a forum for discussion and debate on feminist issues.

UK Feminista aims to act as a bridge between women and men at the grassroots who want to do something about gender inequality – and the many fantastic women’s & feminist organisations spearheading campaigns. If ypu would like to find out more and see how you can get involved, why not attend the launch:

Date: Saturday 27th March 2010

Time: 11am – 3pm

Venue: The Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University, 25 Old Castle Street, London. E1 7NT

Speakers: Hannah Pool, the Guardian; Darinka Aleksic, Abortion Rights; Frances Carlisle, Latin American Women’s Rights Service; Olivia Bailey, NUS Women’s Officer; and Katie McGrainor, Birmingham Fems.

RSVP to kat@ukfeminista.org.uk

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