Activism and ... Women only

IssueMarch 2012

It’s not really something I ever think about. I’ve never done a women-only action, but I’ve been involved in a few women-only spaces, and that’s been an interesting experience. They’ve generally involved women plus something else though, for example, spaces set up for migrant women.

I do quite a lot of work in very male-dominated groups, so I really feel the difference when I’m in a women-only space. That said, it’s not something I feel particularly strongly about, or that I need or miss if I don’t have it. But then again I live with a lot of women and not very many men!

Woman, 20s, Coventry

I’m not keen on women-only things because women’s liberation is as much about men as it is about women. It’s about people. Of course, women might be more comfortable talking about certain things without men being present, but I feel that women-only spaces fetishise the characteristics of being a woman as opposed to the characteristics of being a human being, polarising men and women as categories when what we should be doing is coming together. We need to talk about our oppression as humans first, before we can start talking about our oppression as particular kinds of human being.

Human, 50s, London

I think there is sometimes a place for women-only actions, because most actions are male-dominated and you might well want to do an action that reflects the needs of a particular community.

There’s nothing wrong with a queer action or a black action, so why not a women-only action? Such spaces can feel safer for folk who haven’t been involved before. Once they’ve done an action with a group of folk they feel comfortable with, that can serve as a springboard to take part in actions with a wider range of people.

Woman, 40s, St Leonards

Topics: Women, Activism
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