Feminism in London

"Positive change for women and girls!"

25 October 2014 

Institute of Education, Bedford Way, WC1H 0AL


Registration is from 9am
Opening panel 10 - 11.30
Morning workshops 11.45 - 1.15
European Premiere Of The Documentary "Pornland: How The Porn Business Has Hijacked Our Sexuality" - Over lunchtime in the main hall
Afternoon workshops 2.15 - 3.45
Closing panel 4 - 5.30
Evening party 7pm - 3am




Workshops 2014

Speakers & Facilitators

Evening party


Relax Rooms


Ticket prices:

£15 unwaged / under 18 / student

£25 "early bird"

£30 full price

We may ask to see proof of entitlement to concession tickets.  Children aged 11 and under come in free.


Watch a video of Feminism in London 2013

Morning panel keynote speakers

Annette Lawson - Feminism in Context

What does Feminism mean to me?
Feminism is a four-letter eight-letter word.
So is feminist. Why is feminism important? Why not just talk about equality between women and men? or gender equality? What does it really mean to say, I am not a feminist but… (I don't approve of men beating up women/abusing girls/being paid more for work of equal value than a woman/always making the decisions for us)?
These questions are the springboard for a discussion about the role of feminism in making positive change for women and girls. Here. And elsewhere. Now.

Gail Dines - From personal empowerment to collective liberation

The core principle of feminism, the personal is political, has over the last couple of decades beeneroded by a focus on the notion that feminism is all about making choices to maximize personal empowerment. While the goal of feminism has always been to open up an array of life choices for women and girls, it was understood that this can only happen by building a robust feminist movement for social, economic, political and legal change. Personal choice always takes place within a nexus of institutions, and in a patriarchal society, these institutions are at their root misogynist. This talk will set out a manifesto for how we can move away from the personal empowerment feminism to a more radical movement that is about political collective liberation that is unapologetic, powerful and joyful! 

When purchasing a ticket, select one each of the available sessions in the morning and afternoon.  The opening and closing panel are open to all.

Morning programme (select one)

Sisterhood Around The Globe 

As feminism and women's rights begin to gain more traction in the global political consciousness, what are women's rights movements doing abroad?  What are the particular challenges they face, and what can women in the UK do to support our sisters across borders?  With Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network, Marilyn Thomson of the Central America Women's Network and Alma Carballo.

Mothers and lovers: How societal expectations influence women's risk for mental health

Women are subject to high standards placed on them by a society that expects them to flawlessly perform their role as mothers, lovers, and carers, often set in opposition to their role as a ‘career woman’. We are expected to have, and do, it all. Failing to live up to these expectations may lead to guilt, shame, and lowered self-esteem, all of which are likely to have a bearing on a woman’s mental health. This workshop will explore some of the issues affecting women’s wellbeing, particularly their mental health, in a society that often has these unachievable expectations for women to perform in their designated roles, for example as ‘model mums’. We will discuss a range of topics with relevance to mental health including domestic violence, pregnancy, and motherhood, with viewpoints from researchers, clinicians, and those with personal experience. We hope to explore ways to combat these unobtainable ideals, and move towards more practical advice and support for women who need it, with examples from Maternity Action, who campaign to improve the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, their partners, and their children.

Crafting Politics 

Craftivism is derived from craft + activism and has seen a recent resurgence in popularity.  Part of a proud tradition, from the Suffragettes' sashes to the miners' banners, how can craft be used to influence social politics?  We will be looking at how the rise in craft relates to feminism and how needlecrafts can be a political tool.  With Sarah Corbett, founder of the Craftivist Collective, Lauren O'Farrell of Whodunnknit and Knit The City, Catherine West of Significant Seams and Laura Price from Royal Holloway.

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths

Girls and boys do just as well in science at early ages, but as they get older, boys outnumber girls in STEM subjects, leaving them a male-dominated area.  From the 2012 European Commission's much-derided "It's A Girl Thing" campaign (featuring lots of pink and preening and no science) to the more credible report of the Science and Technology Committee's on Women In Scientific Careers this year, the challenge of gender equality in STEM subjects remains unsolved.  Come and meet the women who have scythed through the stereotypes to pursue scientific careers and hear their views on encouraging and retaining women in STEM.  With Ellie Cosgrave of ScienceGrrl, Clare Thomson of the Institute of Physics, Shelley Galvin of the WISE Campaign and Brenna Hassett of TrowelBlazers.


Join a discussion on how "shadeism" and Eurocentric beauty standards affect women of colour in the UK.  We will be watching the short documentary "Shadeism" made by a group of women and girls in Canada before opening into a facilitated discussion.  Watch the trailer for their upcoming feature film here.  With Femi Otitoju and Becky Olaniyi.

Intersecting Oppressions In The Sex Industry

This workshop looks at intersecting oppressions in the UK sex-trade. The focus will be on the damage and harms as uncovered by evidence-based research, including the average age of entry into street prostitution being just 15, 70% of those involved in street prostitution having been in state care, and an extraordinarily high rate of drug dependency. Most of the women working in off-street prostitution are migrant workers, and around half report having experienced violence from punters. This workshop will look at prostitution through the prism of race and class and examine the structures that need to be put in place to support women wishing to exit, as well as discussing the decriminalisation of those in the sex trade. With Ifeoma Eze of Femage World, Pierrette Pape, Dorcas Erskine of Poppy Project, Rachel Moran and Tanja Rahm.

Feminist Archives and Activism: Knowing Our Past - Creating Our Future

A chance to discuss the importance of documenting and celebrating feminist history, find out about the various great feminist archives and libraries available and explore how they can be useful tools in our ongoing campaigns. This workshop brings together different generations of feminists and is organised by the new national network of feminist libraries and archives, FLA. The panel of speakers includes Yasmin Ahmed from the Feminist Library , Frankie Green from the Women’s Liberation Music Archive, Jalna Hanmer from the Feminist Archive North,  Zaimal Azad from Nottingham Women’s Centre, Sue John from Glasgow Women’s Library, and Liz Kelly and Joan Scanlon from the radical feminist journal Trouble & Strife. The workshop is chaired by Sue O’Sullivan from Spare Rib and Sheba Feminist Press.

Grounding Feminist Activity in our Everyday Life (Morning session)

This will be a double session based on the vital feminist principle that the personal is political. The first session will be a practical introduction to consciousness-raising, to help you set up small groups and organise around the feminist issues that are important in your lives. The second session will provide an opportunity to use the consciousness-raising method to focus on some pressing current political issues for women: work, class, and education; housing and poverty; our health. Both sessions will be facilitated by Gail Chester and run by women involved in these areas. Although it would be helpful to attend both sessions, it is not essential as there are so many exciting things to do today. These sessions are open to self-defined women only.

Pro-Feminist Men's workshop - White Ribbon Campaign 

Come to the White Ribbon in the City Workshop to hear how we engage men in challenging violence against women – and help us write some policies! Working with the 55 White Ribbon Local Authorities in the UK, we are able to offer local authorities advice to promote policies which prevent male violence at its source. This workshop will source ideas and discussion to help us work on the policies we can offer to them.  Open to all.

Children's Morning Workshop

Come and explore the history of universal suffrage in this country,  and in particular the Suffragettes' struggle for the vote for women.  We will look at some of the campaigns that were run, the women at the forefront of the campaign and why people opposed votes for women.  Then we can design our own posters, badges and even banners for either side.  With Jean Norman.

Age 7 - 11 recommended.  Girls and boys welcome.

"Still I Rise: Black Women, Feminism, and the Art of Poetry and Performance", a workshop by Siana Bangura.

In this workshop, through the poetry and spoken word of 8 women of colour, we will explore the notion of Black Feminism and intersectionality. Poetry will be shared from the works of Yrsa Daley Ward, Warsan Shire, the great Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde and more. .

 This workshop is suitable for teens but is open to all.



Afternoon programme (select one)

Women's rights, gender equality and feminism from an EU perspective

This panel will provide an introduction to the gender equality work conducted at EU level. It will examine key issues from different perspectives, as it is co-hosted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the EU agency dealing with gender equality, and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), which is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union and works to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men.

The panel will provide an overview of the two organisations’ recent work. On the one hand, EIGE has developed the Gender Equality Index, which can be used as a policy tool to monitor policy effectiveness; on the other, the EWL has played a key role in bringing gender equality on the agenda of the recent European elections. Both the EWL and EIGE will also present their respective reports monitoring the implementation at EU level of the Beijing Platform for Action, a key international text to promote the advancement of women's rights, about to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The panel will conclude with an open-session on the theme of ‘engaging feminist thinking at EU level: perspectives for the future’ where participants will have the opportunity to discuss and interact with the panellists.

With Anne Laure Humbert of EIGE, Pierrette Pape of the European Women's Lobby, Laura de Bonfils, Magali Gay-Berthomieu.

Suffrage, cycling and sewing: a story telling and making workshop about Victorian women's cycle wear

The Victorians enthusiastically took to the newest modern technology – the bicycle. Yet for women there were many social, physical and ideological challenges to their freedom. Their everyday clothing was vastly unsuitable and cycle wear did not exist. They had to make it themselves!

Kat Jungnickel will talk about (and demonstrate) her ‘Bikes & Bloomers’ research project. For the past year she has been making Victorian ‘convertible’ cycle wear patented by Victorian women that transformed from the ordinary (everyday street wear) to the extra-ordinary (clothing that enabled the wearer to move in new ways).

The workshop interweaves storytelling and performance with the making of (small scale) garments from paper and scrap material. Participants will draw on 130 year old patents lodged by inventive Victorian women and follow their instructions to re-make costumes that imaginatively took up the “dress problem” for newly mobile women. We'll discuss, while making mess, how and in what ways these inventions helped carve out new forms of mobile gendered citizenship.

Activism - with the 50:50 Parliament Campaign 

50:50 Parliament is campaigning for Parliament to include the best of both. We would like gender equality in the House of Commons one way or another, sooner rather than later. We want men and women passing legislation and forging the future of society together in roughly equal numbers. We are requesting a debate so that Parliament can decide how this should be achieved. A bit like Vince Cable asking boards to include a certain percentage of women, we are doing the same of Parliament and asking them to take the appropriate action. So, we have put up an e-petition. We need 100,000 signatures or more.  Please support us by signing the petition here

The 50:50 Parliament workshop will cover:

What inspired the campaign
Review of Action taken
Developments proposed for the future
Brainstorming with Feedback, Advice & Comments from participants.

Man Up and Man Down : Combating Sexist Language

Are you a feisty chick or just one of the guys?  Do you get hysterical about women's issues?  Is it time to stop being such a girl and grow a pair?  In this workshop we look at how gender inequality is woven into our everyday language, and discuss ways of challenging this.  Bring your linguistic bugbears and your revolutionary spirit!  With Cat Crossley and Catherine Sangster.

"You'll Change Your Mind, Dear": Choices and Parenting

Everyone has a view on when women should have children, whether they should do so, and if they do, how.  Everyone, that is, apart from the women themselves.  This will be a lively and entertaining look at the choices we make about our reproduction in the face of pressure from the media, society, family, medical professionals, politicians and everyone else with an opinion.  Featuring Kate Fox on being child free by choice, Kerry Abel of Abortion Rights on reproductive rights, and Mars Lord, VP of Doula UK on women's birth choices. 

Intersections: Queer Women of the Diaspora (voices and visibility)

Exploring ideas on visibility and spaces for LBQ women of colour.  With Rose Neelam of Safra Project and Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah of Black Pride UK.  Women only.

Fighting Against Patriarchy in Turkey - with the Istanbul Feminist Kolectiv

Istanbul Feminist Collective is a platform where feminists cultivate their ideas, organise campaigns, demonstrations, and other forms of feminist theory and practise. What’s more, it is a network of solidarity among women. The collective aims to develop a feminist theory and practise against the system of patriarchy. Central to our campaigns are issues of abortion rights, male violence against women and issues about women’s labour – both in the workplace and in the home. We aim to develop a whole-istic feminist approach; recognising the intersections of patriarchy with other forms of oppression and challenging capitalism, racism and militarism. We fight against sexism, heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia, which we see as patriarchal forces. Our campaigns have targeted, amongst other things, the patriarchal family, gender stereotypes in advertising, domestic labour and the legal system. The collective were deeply involved in last summer’s Gezi Park resistances, running a feminist camp and setting up women’s forums throughout the city. During our workshop, we hope to share our experiences of fighting against patriarchy in Turkey.

With this workshop, we hope to learn from your experiences as well. For example, how do you get organised in order to fight against patriarchy in the United Kingdom? What is your strategy to push the state to take an effective action against male violence against women? How do you engage with other opposition movements; for example, the occupy movement, working class unions, and the anti-cuts movements? What are your experiences of being feminist within these male-dominated movements? 

Grounding Feminist Activity in our Everyday Life (Afternoon session)

This will be a double session based on the vital feminist principle that the personal is political. The first session will be a practical introduction to consciousness-raising, to help you set up small groups and organise around the feminist issues that are important in your lives. The second session will provide an opportunity to use the consciousness-raising method to focus on some pressing current political issues for women: work, class, and education; housing and poverty; our health. Both sessions will be facilitated by Gail Chester and run by women involved in these areas. Although it would be helpful to attend both sessions, it is not essential as there are so many exciting things to do today. These sessions are open to self-defined women only.

Pro-Feminist Men's workshop Feminism and men: working together for gender equality?

Feminism has changed the world; it is radically reshaping women’s lives. But what about men? They still hold most of the power in the economy, in governments, in religions, in the media and often in the family too. Globally, they perpetrate most violence towards women, children and other men. But there is also a growing group of pro-feminist men and organisations in many countries who are working to support gender equality and to question traditional views about what it means to be a man. This session on feminism and men asks: should feminism include men? What are the benefits for women and for men themselves? What are the risks? And what are men doing to challenge patriarchal masculinity and support the goals of feminism? With Nikki van der Gaag of Plan UK, author of Feminism and Men.
Men and women welcome 

Children's Afternoon Workshop - Junior Self Defence

It's never too young to be empowered! This workshop will look at assertiveness, passwords, knowing your limitations, how to scream really loudly and the basics of self-defence.  Age appropriate.  

Age 7 - 11 recommended, girls and boys welcome.

Teenage Afternoon Workshop with Funny Women - Stand Up to Stand Out 

With more women compelled to make speeches at social events and professional women increasingly sharing their experiences on public and media platforms, confidence and humour are key to achieving personal and professional success. Funny Women helps women to explore their funny side to build self-confidence, improve relationships and enhance communication skills.  This workshop is great for kick-starting inspiration, resolving 'writers block' and overcoming performance butterflies. Facilitated by Lucy Frederick.

Age 12 - 18 recommended, girls only.

Afternoon panel keynote speakers

Emma Humphreys Memorial Prizegiving

Finn Mackay - closing speech

Peace News will be exhibiting some of the posters from their project celebrating the people and movements that opposed the First World War (www.theworldismycountry.info) at this year's Conference. They will also be running a brief talk (with images) during the lunch break on the role of women from around the world in resisting WW1.


Feminist bands regroup for this very special celebration of women's liberation and music.

Evening party details here.

The Red Tent will be co-ordinating a spiritual space with a programme of events including a lunchtime ritual open to all.

Find out more here