Over 350 women and men from across the UK converged in London at the weekend for the first ever UK Feminista Summer School. This sell-out event, provided two days of training in feminist activism and marked a resurgence in feminist activity with some commentators heralding a new ‘heyday’ for British feminism .
Delegates received training in how to set up feminist groups, influence politicians, fundraise and use the media – as well as hearing from leading feminist commentators including Bidisha, Angela Mason CBE (Fawcett Society), and Kira Cochrane (the Guardian). Attendees will also discover what British feminism can learn from the successful campaign to elect Barack Obama as US President, with Democrats Abroad vice chair, Karin Robinson, discussing why grassroots activism was key to that campaign’s success.
The event aimed to harness recent upsurge in interest in this previously unfashionable social movement, which has seen a rush of feminist publishing, national demonstrations, blogs, and activist groups.
Kat Banyard, Director of UK Feminista and author of The Equality Illusion, said:“While there have been massive advances in women’s rights over recent decades, there is still a very long way to go: just 22% of MPs are women, 100,000 women are raped every year in the UK, and women are paid on average 22% less per hour than men.
“A backlash against gains made in the 1970s pushed feminism into the political wilderness. But the tide is turning. A new movement is gathering pace, and it is brimming with energy and excitement. The days of dismissing feminism as a moribund movement are over. Feminism is back, and it is here to stay.”