Why women only?

We are a women-only group because we believe it is vital that women have safe and supportive spaces where we can work together politically to campaign for our rights.

We are the experts on our own lives and on what it is to be a woman, in all of our various identities, in a society where we do not have equal political representation, where we are disadvantaged and discriminated against simply because we are women. All too many of us know what it is to experience male violence, including rape, domestic violence, sexual abuse, pornography, prostitution, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and so-called ‘honour’ crimes.

As women we need to be at the forefront of the movement for women’s rights and therefore we need safe, collective spaces where we can organise, share our experiences, learn from each other and support one another.

Our work in women-only campaigns is not in exclusion of other types of political work and many of us are active in mixed groups for peace, against racism, anti-globalisation, lesbian and gay rights, environmental concerns, etc.

We recognise that men care about women’s rights too. As our brothers, lovers, fathers, friends and sons, they have a lot to gain from an equal society where women’s full participation is the norm. This is the type of society we are all working towards, and women-only Feminist campaigns have an important contribution to make in this broader struggle for a fairer world. We also know that most men respect women’s right to self-organisation and we welcome men’s support at our mixed fundraising, educational and other events.

  • Across the globe women do two thirds of the world’s work, receive one tenth of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property (Robbins R, 1999). Women account for two thirds of the 1.2 billion people currently living in poverty (DfID).
  • Nowhere in the world do women earn equal wages to men, across Europe there is a 25% pay gap in like for like work.
  • Women hold fewer than 13% of the world’s parliamentary seats (DfID).
  • Here in the UK only 19% of our MP’s are women.
  • An estimated 70% of those children not in education are female.
  • Here in the UK 2 women every week are killed by a violent male partner and 1 in 4 women in the UK are affected by domestic violence, including so-called ‘honour’ crimes and forced marriages.
  • “Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development, and peace.” – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
  • A report by New Philanthropy Capital warns that violence against women is costing British society £40bn a year, but charities which help victims are grossly underfunded. NPC’s report concluded that the expense to public services, lost economic output and knock-on effects of violence against women in all its forms costs the country more than the annual defence budget. (Express, 23 Apr 2008, p33; Independent, 23 Apr 2008, p16)
  • Canadian Marnie Frey, who was murdered by pig farmer Robert Pickton, left behind a family deeply concerned with how her legacy is being portrayed and used in the media. They do not agree with the use of their daughter’s name in the fight to legalize prostitution. They are “disgusted to think that anyone would think that prostitution is a job. It is not. It is violence against women.” Read more >>
  • On Wednesday 12 September 2007, The Guardian carried a report of a recent State of the Future Survey by the World Federation of United Nations Associations. This said: “The report says ‘Violence against women by men continues to cause more casualties than wars do today’. One in five women around the world will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. The situation is so bad schools should teach girls martial arts for self-defence, it says. ‘We have departments of defence around the world protecting people. What’s the department of defence for women?’ Mr Glenn asked.” Read more >>