EWL News

"Positive change for women and girls!": Inspiring conference Feminism in London! (25 October 2014)

[Brussels, 30 October 2014] The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) has actively participated to the annual conference Feminism in London, on 25 October. This year, the conference’s theme was "Positive change for women and girls!" and gathered more than 600 activists from all over Europe!

"This is a political conference!"

The conference, moderated by the comedian and activist Kate Smurthwaite, started with inspiring speeches from Annette Lawson (NAWO, EWL member organisation) and Gail Dines (anti-porn feminist and scholar). "Hello feminists!" was the theme of Annette Lawson’s presentation, making reference to feminist history and today’s new figures. "Don’t be afraid to use the word ’feminism’: when we deny the word, we deny our sisters and mothers". Gail Dines demonstrated how we shifted from women’s liberation to women’s empowerment, and called for the radical to be back in feminism, denouncing how the neoliberal discourse has prioritised individual choice over collective struggle.

In the morning and the afternoon, a series of workshops were proposed: on sisterhood, on crafting policies, on societal expectations over mothers, on shadeism, on feminist archives, on pro-feminist men, on sexist language, on queer women... Lunch break saw the premiere of the film "Pornland", of Gail Dines, based on her new book ’Pornland’, which investigates the pornography industry and how

EWL participation: intersecting oppressions in the sex industry, and women in Europe

Pierrette Pape, EWL Policy Officer and Project Coordinator had been invited to moderate the workshop on ’Intersecting oppressions in the sex industry’. Zahra Kellaway-Paine, from the Poppy Project (Eaves), Ifeoma Eze from Femage World, and Rachel Moran and Tanja Rahm from SPACE International, explained how the sex industry exploits all forms of vulnerabilities and oppressions: sexist, classist, racist, including North/South oppression and discrimination against minority women. "The terminology ’sex work’ is used to dignify prostitution itself, not the women in prostitution", said Rachel Moran. Faced to criticism from sex workers groups, Feminism in London explained their approach in a blog entry. Participants in the room included NGOs representatives from the UK, Norway, Sweden or Brazil, but also other survivors from the sex industry. They all asked how they can contribute to the development of the Nordic model in the UK, and were referred to the new UK campaign End Demand.

fil2014 prostitution panel

In the afternoon, Pierrette Pape presented the situation of women and girls in Europe, and the Beijing+20 report of the EWL, in the workshop ’Women’s rights, gender equality and feminism from an EU perspective’. Anne Humbert, from the European Institute for Gender Equality, presented the work of the EU agency on women’s rights and on the Beijing Platform for Action, and Laura de Bonfils proposed ideas for activists to engage with the European level. Discussion with the room focused on the general backlash against women’s rights at European and international level and the need for a new global model.

fil2014 women europe logo ewl

2014 awards Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize

The conference ended up with the 2014 awards of Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize, paying tribute to women, activists and groups, combating male violence against women. Congratulations to SPACE International, AVA, Making Herstory, KWAN, End Victim Blaming, and more individuals for their prize!

A motivating speech from Dr Finn Mackay closed the conference, calling everyone for action: "There is no time to lean in: it’s time to get in!" Next year, Feminism in London will be on 24 and 25 October 2015. Are you ready to join? @FemLonCon #FiL2014

space femloncon
Rachel Moran and Fiona Broadfoot from SPACE International

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