Thursday, March 25, 2010

Launch of UK Feminista

I received an e-mail press release, see below, about the launch of a new campaign organisation. Unfortunately I can't make the event . Of course like the left, there are many types of feminism and lots of arguments and sometimes unsisterly behaviour to say the least. I'll watch this with interest, fingers crossed !

Press release from UK Feminista

New feminist organisation to launch as feminism in the UK surges

On Saturday 27 March a unique new campaign organisation called UK Feminista (1) will be launched at a public event in London (2). The brainchild of activists Kat Banyard, Anna van Heeswijk, Sandrine Leveque, and Ellie Cumbo (3), UK Feminista will help build a national movement in order to effect real and lasting change in gender relations.

There are clear signs of a resurgence in UK feminism. On Saturday 6th March thousands of women marched through central London demanding an end to violence against women as part of the annual Million Women Rise march. The Fawcett Society reports a threefold increase in membership over the last three years, and three books on feminism are being released this year in close succession; one – The Equality Illusion – authored by UK Feminista co-founder and Director Kat Banyard.

The many feminist conferences, marches, blogs and websites that have proliferated over recent years have also started to generate headlines with many media commentators remarking on a new wave of feminist activism (4).

UK Feminista co-founder and Director, Kat Banyard, said:

“We are witnessing a sea change in attitudes towards feminism. Women and men in the UK are busting the myth that we live in a post-feminist age by attending marches, conferences and demonstrations in ever increasing numbers. The reason for this increase? Well, with 100,000 women raped each year in the UK*, a gender pay gap of nearly 23%, and women constituting less than 20% of MPs, it is becoming increasingly clear we need feminism now more than ever.

“UK Feminista aims to harness this growing momentum around feminism and ensure it translates into real gains for women’s rights. By acting as a bridge between ordinary people passionate about gender equality and the many fantastic feminist organisations spearheading campaigns, UK Feminista seeks to make the UK feminist movement a force to be reckoned with.”

Sasha Rakoff, Director of OBJECT (5), said:

“OBJECT is delighted to offer our support to the organisation. There is a real feeling in the air that we, the women’s sector, are packing some punches at the moment and now more than ever the conditions are ripe to get activism out there on the streets – back as part of the culture of feminism. This is just what the women’s sector needs.”

Orlanda Ward, Coordinator of the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) (6), said:

“NAWO is delighted to be associated with such a flourishing new organisation. Grassroots feminism in the UK must remain strong, and UK Feminista is set to play a valuable role in ensuring women's voices continue to heard."

Pragna Patel, Chair of Southall Black Sisters (7), said:

“Southall Black Sisters strongly welcomes the establishment of UK Feminista. Grassroots activism is a crucial part of campaigning for legislative and cultural change, but due to our stretched resources we are unable to directly support and sustain significant numbers of activists ourselves. UK Feminista will therefore be an invaluable resource for our work.”
For further information or to request interviews please contact Kat Banyard on 07775 855037 or

Notes to editors
1) UK Feminista supports and promotes grassroots feminist activism. Our purpose is to end the continuing inequalities between women and men.
2) UK Feminista will be launched on Saturday 27 March. The event will take place from 11am-3pm at the Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University, 25 Old Castle Street, London. E1 7NT. Speakers will include Hannah Pool (journalist), Darinka Aleksic (Abortion Rights), Frances Carlisle (Latin American Women’s Rights Service), Anna van Heeswijk (OBJECT), Katie McGrainor (Birmingham Fems), and Gail Cartmail (Unite the union).
3) Founder biographies: Kat Banyard is Director of UK Feminista and author of The Equality Illusion: The Truth About Women and Men Today, published by Faber and Faber (; Anna van Heeswijk is Campaigns Coordinator at OBJECT; Sandrine Leveque was previously Campaigns Manager at OBJECT; and Ellie Cumbo is Campaigns Coordinator at UK Feminista.
4) A selection of recent headlines:
Feminism is showing signs of life, The Telegraph, 9/3/10
The continuing lack of equal pay proves feminism's work is still far from done, The Observer, 7/3/10
How the 'new feminism' went wrong, The Guardian, 6/3/10
Forty years of women's liberation, The Guardian, 26/2/10
Feminism: what went wrong? The Telegraph, 12/1/10
The march of the new feminists, The Independent, 29/11/09
5) OBJECT is a human rights organisation which challenges the sexual objectification of women in the media and popular culture.
6) NAWO is an umbrella organisation for over 100 organisations and individuals based in England.
7) Southall Black Sisters’ aims are to highlight and challenge violence against women; empower them to gain more control over their lives; live without fear of violence; and assert their human rights to justice, equality and freedom.

*E. Povey et al., ‘Home Office Statistical Bulletin: Crime in England and Wales 2006/7, Home Office, 2008

Kat Banyard

UK Feminista
Address: PO Box 66215, London. E8 9DE
Mobile: 07775 855037