Tag Archives: feminism

Come and join the conversation about women’s leadership at Lancaster University?

Did you know that only 5 LUSU Presidents have been women? Or that only 12 out of 42 full-time officers since 2007 have been women, and 6 of those in the last 2 years.

LUSU isn’t the only democratic organisation that struggles to recognise & fully utilise the leadership talents of women. We see this weakness replicated in parliaments across the world, and recent research from the United States demonstrates women’s experiences at university shape their future engagement in political and civic organisations.

A group of women and men have started a conversation about the barriers to women running for election on campus, and what we can do to lift those barriers. If you would like to join this conversation, we would like to invite you to join us on at 7:30pm on Tuesday 4th February in Bowland Lecture Theatre 2 for a screening of the film Miss Representation followed by a purposeful conversation.

Miss Representation is an award winning film which draws on academic research, personal stories and striking examples to highlight how the media’s portrayal of women contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence.

For more details for the event and to rsvp.

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Talking women’s leadership in the student movement

Yesterday I had the privilege of joining 130 other women at NUS UK’s first women in leadership conference. It was amazing. I’m still processing it, but already I can see the difference it is going to make personally and to both my professional hats – research student and feminist activist.

Personally, as I’ve said before, it is always refreshing to spend time with other women committed to changing the world.

As a doctoral student my research is about young women’s leadership in social change organisations and so I’m invigorated by the stories of action and the possibilities for collaboration. I’m looking forward to further conversations with the NUS UK to see how I can help.

And as a activist who started the week wondering whether I had the balance right between practice and reflection, it was the icing on the cake in a week where there has been rewarding movement on a bunch of projects I’ve been chipping away at over the last year.

So having started the week on a bit of a low, I end on quite a high. Excited to enact the plans made on the way home with Emily and Rachel, the female full-time officers of at Lancaster University Student Union, and ever more determined to see my research work find practical outlets.

And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving – I note my thanks to the conference organisers, the inspiring speakers and talented facilitators; my student union for giving me the opportunity to go to the conference; and the amazing student and women’s movements who have been, and remain such an important part of my life, and do such inspiring work.

Response to: Today’s young women have betrayed feminism

Today’s young women have betrayed feminism‘ reads the headline of Yasmin Alibhai Brown’s article in the Independent on Monday 17 June 2013.

I appreciate headlines allow little space for nuance, but really? Surely, this argument is old, tired and sloppy. And more importantly, I’m not sure it’s helpful.

The last time I felt the need to write about inter-generational issues in feminism was 2011 was for Gillian Pollack’s International Women’s Day blog. Then I justified my need to comment with the excuse ‘I’ve been cranky about this for about 15 years”, but Yasmin’s article defines young as women between 20 and 40 years of age, so apparently I’m still part of a generation (or two) ‘proud that they dissed and dumped all we fought for.’

As someone who came of age as a feminist under a conservative government in Australia I certainly didn’t ‘dump’ what my foremothers had fought for. Instead it often felt we were trying to hold back the tide. And while defensive campaigning might bring with it the passion of desperation, I’m not sure it’s the same recruitment tool as the exhilarating win.

Perhaps my ire has been deliberately raised by Yasmin’s sub-editor, looking to boost circulation, as the article does recognise ‘there are always exceptions’ but we exceptions are dismissed in the very next phrase ‘but what matters are the common narratives and those, alas, are regressive and anti-women’. Although June’s Observer didn’t seem to think so when it invited us to ‘meet the new wave of activists making feminism thrive in a digital age‘.

So, I return to the question of ‘what is the benefit of writing such pieces to the women’s movement?’

It may stir a few women like me to write blogs that, at best, will be read by our Facebook friends, but few of us will get the circulation Yasmin does, or become part of the public record on young women and feminism.

Rather than blaming younger women for ‘squandering’ the achievements of feminism, would it not be more useful to ask what we can do whether as individual feminists, or feminist organisations to ensure we reach out to more women, of all ages, to engage them in the continuing work of the women’s movement?

I’m not sure that any feminist can claim that in her generation all of the women are feminists. So, there is work for all of us to do. But please remember, not all young women are new to feminism, and not all experienced feminists are older women. Women can be new to feminism at any age, and we should make sure we are always looking for ways to engage new women in the movement.