On Saturday 27th March a unique new campaign organisation called UK Feminista was launched at a public event in London. The brainchild of activists Kat Banyard, Anna van Heeswijk, Sandrine Leveque, and Ellie Cumbo, 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.”