“Experience of violence can lead to long term physical, mental and emotional health problems; in the most extreme cases, violence against women can lead to death.” – UN Stats
Every day women and girls face unimaginable circumstances as refugees. They endure an extremely unsafe journey where they are in fear of and at risk of violence only to reach a refugee camp where the fear and risk only continues.
The inhumane actions women experience appear to often remain in darkness as so many women feeling unable to share their pain and suffering. This suffering suggests that the distress and trauma of this horrific experience will only continue to fester. Women and girls are seeking a new life only to experience further pain forced upon them. The fear that they will experience gender-based violence is dominating their lives and limited choices. Woman have reportedly starved themselves so that they do not have to use the same bathrooms as men and one women was reportedly abused for asking for extra food for her children. Women and girls are being prayed on as a result of their vulnerable position. This should not be the case.
Women who have escaped their home country due to their sexual orientation are more at risk of violence.
According to Monica Costa Riba for Amnesty International, simple tasks such as showering or going to the toilet in Greek refugee camps ‘become dangerous missions’ which is partly due to a lack of toilets and showers in women-only areas. Women like Simone, a 20-year old lesbian woman who was beaten by her family because of her sexuality felt at risk of rape. Furthermore, according to the UN, women and girls are exposed to the risk of sexual harassment when collecting firewood for the daily chores such as cooking – tasks essential to survival. It has also been reported that some women ‘engage in survival sex’ to support their daughters.
We need to provide more support and safe spaces for women and girls at refugee camps to allow them to speak about their experiences.
In Dadaab, Kenya there is a project where refugee community workers are helping women and girls to get the help and support they need after traumatic experiences of violence and abuse. Please visit the International Rescue Committee’s record of a diary account written by an amazing young woman helping traumatised women at the Dadaab refugee camp to rebuild their lives whilst also bravely putting her own life at risk to do so. Miriam (name changed to protect her identity) meets with women in private to understand their situations and ask if they require services such as a medical exam if they have been sexually abused. This project highlights the dire situation refugee women and girls are facing every moment and the urgency needed to improve access to things like education which will help to break the cycle of abuse.
Many women refugees who have grown up without an education are more likely to face gender-based violence.
Indeed, the UN Refugee Agency has stated that a lack of education means women and girls are unable to protect themselves against abuse and improve their communities. The UNHCR states that, globally, primary schools enrol less than eight refugee girls per ten refugee boys. In secondary school there are less than seven refugee girls per ten refugee boys. Consequently, without an education the cycle of abuse continues. An education enables women to have the confidence to speak up for their rights and freedoms. Seeing women become doctors, teachers, artists, and lawyers for example allows girls to see that they can also be leaders in their communities. This will encourage young girls to see their potential and that their gender should never restrict them from reaching it. This year the UNHCR published a report entitled “Her Turn” which was a call to action for making refugee girls’ education a priority. This campaign is urging for more female teachers to inspire and teach girls and boys so that they can see that women are also leaders. Through putting reports like these into action and raising awareness of this crisis we can truly make a difference for future generations of women and girl refugees; until one day equal access to education will become a reality. No person should live in fear of violence.
Although the 16 Days of Activism and our Chai Day initiative have come to an end, we must continually demand better for women and girls across the globe, encourage increasing awareness of the desperate situation that refugee women and girls are forced into, and take action.
This article was written by Georgia Bridgett who is a volunteer for The Circle. Georgia is a recent English graduate and is passionate about women’s rights and the underlying issues in the fast-fashion industry.
One of our members, Laura Fontana, is hosting a Chai Day on 8th December. This innovative event will tie together two of The Circle’s key foci; ending violence against women and working towards the Living Wage. Laura is very interested in the issues surrounding fast fashion and the absence of a Living Wage and the resulting discriminations and violences against the mainly female workforce throughout the fashion supply chain and wanted to tie in her interests with our fundraising event, Chai Day.
Laura, and another member of The Circle, Lydia will be hosting their Chai Day in Chiswick and as part of their event there will be a repair café for guests to take their much-loved items in need of some TLC. Alongside the traditional tea and cake and repair café, Alicia Grunert will be speaking on the Living Wage for garment workers.
Laura said she wanted to incorporate this aspect into Chai Day because she wanted to “give our guests a better understanding of what the idea of a Living wage entails, why it is so crucial, especially in the fashion industry, what difference it could make in the life of female garment workers and how it could help solve some of the issues and discriminations found in the fashion supply chain. Our hope is that this gathering will encourage them to be curious and learn more about the issues of the fashion industry, to ask questions and do something to change it, starting with their own wardrobe and purchasing habits.”
Both our members want you to join them at their event because it’s an “opportunity to get involved in the work the Circle does and the perfect occasion to start important conversations in a safe and welcoming environment, which can help people to be more receptive and engaged with the subject. The context of Chai Day offers the perfect environment to get everyone together around a cup of tea and sensibilise people to these important and complex issues.”
If you would like to get involved in Laura and Lydia’s Chai Day then get in touch for more details. It promises to be an amazing day to both support the victims of gender-based violence and an opportunity to learn more about some pressing issues.
Photo Credit: The Asian Circle Chai Day and 5th Anniversary
“The Asian Circle celebrated its fifth birthday with a ‘Chai Day’ at The Lalit Hotel in Central London on Sunday 18th November 2018. The Asian Circle ‘Chai Day’, hosted by narrative story teller Seema Anand, also saw Great British Bake Off (GBBO) star Rav Bansal, bake a spectacular cake for the occasion which was served with masala chai and Indian savoury dishes. Asian Circle founder Santosh Bhanot provided an update on their fight for gender equality with their project in rural communities in east India. In partnership with Oxfam India, The Asian Circle is setting up Women’s Support Centres which provide access to counselling and legal aid to survivors of gender-based violence.”
The Circle are having our very own Chai Day and we’re very excited. As well as being an opportunity to network and raise funds for victims of gender-based violence, it will also be an opportunity to learn more about issues that are close to The Circle’s heart.
The Circle’s Executive Director will be talking about the importance of Chai Day and the vital work being done by the grass-root projects funded by this initiative. Sioned will be joined by two guest speakers on the night.
The first is member of The Circle, International Advocate and author Sharon Benning-Prince.
Sharon Benning-Prince is a former corporate/private equity lawyer who now additionally works on supply chains and modern slavery legal matters by assisting corporates with their supply chains and transparency. Additionally, she sits as a trustee for the Medaille Trust, and is an international advocate for the International Justice Mission, both of which are anti-slavery and trafficking charities. She is passionate about the empowerment of and raising awareness for voiceless women and children and has written her first book on modern slavery with the former CEO of the Medaille Trust, Mike Emberson, which will be released in early December 2018.
She explains her decision to focus on the legal rights of women and girls who have been trafficked claiming that:
‘I have always felt strongly about women’s rights and female empowerment but it was when I first attended a women’s event on trafficking in the DRC and then heard Mike Emberson, the former CEO of the Medaille and my co-author of our modern slavery text book that made me realise the huge numbers of female adults and children that are trafficked. The numbers are astounding. In this day and age, one in which my eleven-year old daughter has no concept of restriction due to her gender, it is an anathema to me that large numbers of women and girls are suffering.’
When we spoke to Sharon about what Chai Day meant to her, she said ‘it is a day where like-minded members can share their mutual desire for change and empowerment of women. It is also provide a basis of bringing in new friends who can help in the common cause of giving a voice to those without.’ We are so excited to hear her speak on the day and learn more about her work fighting for women’s rights.
Credit: Act Alberta. Act Alberta is a human trafficking project supported by The Circle.
Our second speaker is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) activist, Hoda Ali.
Hoda Ali is a Survivor of Female Genital Mutilation. At age seven she was cut in Somalia and by age eleven, Hoda experienced her first of many acute hospitalisations due to complications from FGM; infected menses had caused pelvic inflammatory disease. Hoda had been unable to menstruate as a result of the small hole left after FGM.
After many surgical procedures in Somalia, Djibouti and Italy, Hoda first started menstruating age 17. However, the resulting medical complications from FGM continue to impact on Hoda’s life: infections, adhesions, subfertility, IVF, and miscarriage. Finally, she received the medical advice that IVF could no longer be pursued due to these complications.
Hoda has worked as a nurse as specialist in sexual health, in HIV clinics and as an FGM trainer for health professionals.
“We need to stop one generation from passing the practice on to the next, we all have duty of care to make sure we protect vulnerable girls/women from the violent practice. FGM is child abuse and should be treated as such rather than avoided because of cultural sensitivities.”
She has dedicated her professional life to raising awareness and campaigning for the prevention of FGM, focused on ensuring girls are treated with dignity and compassion when they encounter health care professionals in the NHS. In addition, she works as a Trustee for the charity 28TooMany whose primary focus is on research and enabling local initiatives to end FGM in the 28 African countries where it is practiced, and across the diaspora.
She co-founded The Vavengers, who campaigned for the UK’s first billboard campaign against FGM, has appeared in a BAFTA nominated FGM documentary, spoken at national conferences, news channels, and parliament; the list could go on. She is a truly inspirational woman who voices the pain, comforts the victims and campaigns to protect the girls. She trusts in life and a future and gives hope to FGM survivors.
We asked her to share her thoughts on Chai Day and any advice to those who have been generous enough to host one.
She points out that:‘in most societies, women have limited space to meet, and public spaces are often used by man. If women and girls are given the opportunity to shine and empower we can change the world. Chai day is very important because it provides safer space for women and girls to feel safe to talk, to speak up and help others; besides, who doesn’t like chai tea … be counted, stand up and speak up…you are the voice for the voiceless. By hosting your own Chai day, you are providing a safe space for discussion, for sharing stories, for empowering every women and girls who took part will be empowering the rest of their community. Together we can all end violence against women and girls; cultural acceptance does not mean accepting the unacceptable and FGM is unacceptable.’
Credit: One of Hoda Ali’s many activism projects.
There are still a few spaces at this event on Wednesday 28th November, so if you would like to hear these incredible women speak and meet fellow members of The Circle then RSVP as soon as possible!
Congratulations to The Asian Circle for turning five!
The Asian Circle are celebrating their 5th anniversary, an achievement that shows their devotion and dedication to fighting against the inequality of women and girls. Founded by Santosh Bhanot in 2013, The Asian Circle have become an established group of women who tirelessly fundraise for the projects close to their hearts.
Santosh describes The Asian Circle as “a passionate community of diverse women who want to support women and girls that haven’t been given the same opportunities in life in South Asia”.
Their 5th Anniversary celebration commemorates their efforts over the years which have been particularly impactful in rural areas of India. Violence against women is the most common form of human rights violation in India. It is such a deeply ingrained, socially accepted “right” for men to beat their wives, that women are trapped in a life of violence. Shame, stigma, and a lack of support from the police and the legal system prevent many women from reporting domestic violence and seeking help.
The Asian Circle have been supporting this project since the beginning and their dedication has helped it make massive strides. In Chhattisgarh, there has been a state-level consultation on the State Gender Equality Policy, a policy that had not been revisited in more than a decade. Women from across the state took part, reflecting their concerns and issues with the policy gaps. In Odisha, Gender Times sessions were organised at colleges, which increased engagement of adolescents and youth groups with gender issues.
“Our project in Chhattisgarh has been extremely successful with the programme recently receiving a State Government Award, ‘Nari Shakti Samman’ in recognition of outstanding improvement of the conditions of women at the margins of society. This Award will have a significantly positive impact on women in this State. International funders have stepped-up to adopt and expand our initial pilot programme with statewide deployment. By working in the community, the programme helps reduce violence, provides education, training and development of skills for jobs and helps reduce poverty.” – Santosh Bhanot
The Asian Circle also know how to add pizazz when bringing the harsh realities of their project to their well established and generous community. Their five-year celebration is no exception! With a high chai tea and drinks reception at the breath-taking LaLit Hotel, guests had the opportunity to support victims of domestic abuse with the chance to walk away with some amazing prizes through an online auction to mark this special occasion. However, the auction is not only available for guests and you can still support victims of gender-based violence by browsing the bespoke gift selection. The two featured items include a specically commissioned print and a signed copy of Eurythmics’ In the Garden. In the Garden was the debut studio album from Eurythmics originally released in 1981. This edition was produced as part of the one-off re-release, by Sony Records, in 2018, of all Eurythmics’ albums and is very much a collector’s item with both Annie and Dave having signed it. Annie donated the album to support The Asian Circle’s work and show her appreciation for all they do. All the funds will go to help victims of gender-based violence – a key issue that The Circle’s work focuses on and one that is at the centre of Chai Day. So she even surprised guests with a personal message via video.
The Asian Circle conceived Chai Day back in 2016 as an initiative to raise funds and awareness for the victims of gender-based violence. Since then it has grown from strength to strength. Their support for some of the most vulnerable women and girls and the impact that their work has had is truly a testament to The Circle’s manta: women empowering women. This innovative fundraising idea has become one of The Circle’s key foci and its development into a global campaign is a result of the success of The Asian Circle’s back in 2016.
In addition to Chai Day, looking back over the years, The Asian Circle have hosted a number of fundraising and networking events over the years in London and organised film screenings including The True Cost and Chalk ‘n’ Duster. Every summer, they have their popular Summer Party, which was attended by comedian Shazia Mirza in 2017. They created the concept of Chai Day and launched it in 2016. The Asian Circle and their supporters organised several Chai Days in 2017, including one at the British High Commission in New Delhi and the official The Asian Circle Chai Day at Montys, in Ealing, which was attended by The Great British Bake Off star Rav Bansal. All these events have raised huge contributions.
Thank you, to The Asian Circle, for all your incredible work and long may it continue! We can’t wait to see the pictures from their celebrations today.
You can show your support in celebration with us by participating in the auction and hosting a Chai Day!
Photo credit: Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
In the run up to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, The Circle member Katie Rose has written this blog post about gender-based violence and some of the things we can all do to end it. Katie, as many others are, is organising a Chai Day to help us end violence against women and girls. Chai Day is about raising awareness and funds for victims of gender-based violence, about bringing together people to discuss an issue that affects women worldwide and inviting conversation to make real change. The Circle have been encourages members and non-members alike to get involved in this campaign and Katie’s thoughtful analysis of issue is a perfect example of women empowering women.
Widening the Circle of Safety and Support for Women by The Circle member, Katie Rose.
Like many of us, I have witnessed the recent media treatment of female sexual assault with despair. There are too often too many cases where a woman who has experienced trauma is not given recourse to justice. In many parts of the world, it is still the victim, not the perpetrator, who is discredited, excluded, shamed and faces further violence from society.
What can we do to change these shocking narratives and how can we support women to recover and communities to grow beyond patriarchal systems of gender-based violence and oppression? One action I have taken is to join Annie Lennox’s charity The Circle, which supports projects that do just that. I am also passionate about co-directing Sing for Water fundraisers for WaterAid projects which transform the lives of the women and girls around the world who spend 200 million hours daily walking for water.
As I feel it’s important to keep sharing messages of hope and solidarity, in this blog I want to identify some of the positive stages of recovery, so we can all help widen the circle of support for women.
1. Acknowledging Oppression
The first step is acknowledging the situation women face today. Just one of the many statistics included by Annie Lennox in her #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist campaign is that 1 in 3 women and girls are impacted by physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. These statistics are likely to be skewed, as many women are too frightened or in too much danger to speak out.
There are horrific acts of violence happening against women right now – which is why it’s important that those of us able to read this safely on laptops or phones take action in whatever small way we can. Women who have experienced victimisation are not just victims and statistics – they are strong, vibrant, creative human beings with the right to live peacefully and safely on the planet. When we stand up against oppression as individuals, we stand up for all women.
2. Owning, Voicing and Witnessing
When a woman who has experienced gender-based trauma is able to own and tell her story, it is crucial that she is given safe, supportive witness. We need to be on the look out for signs that a woman is struggling, even before she feels able to disclose. We can encourage women to safely speak out and access confidential, professional support.
As a singer, I feel we need to empower and educate girls to feel they have a voice. A girl who knows the power of her voice can say “no”, can shout for help and can stand up to oppression. Disclosing is only one step in the road to recovery – the #MeToo movement has seen an outpouring of stories which now needs to be met with a commitment to support recovery and social justice.
3. Creating a Circle of Safety and Support
When a woman has experienced trauma, it is essential that she can access safe shelter and support for herself and her dependents. A circle of support can be formed – including her trusted friends and the health, employment, childcare or legal services she needs to access. In a caring, encouraging, empowering environment, she can recover and rebuild her life.
The inner process of recovery for women needs to be matched by an outer process of social justice. In a village featured in a film by The Asian Circle, after yet another woman was beaten by her drunken husband, women gathered together and smashed all the liquor pots. In the Samburu region of Kenya, where women are viewed as property, Rebecca Lolosoli spoke out against the rape of an estimated 1400 women in the 1980s and 90s by British soldiers. She was beaten by local men and received no support from her husband. She left her village and formed the Umoji village with 15 rape survivors, which now houses 50 women and 200 children seeking refuge from FGM, child marriage, rape and domestic violence. The women manage their own finances and land and their rape cases are finally being investigated legally.
These stories testify to the immense resilience of women in the face of brutal oppression and the power that becomes available when we join together to say #TimesUp.
With support, solidarity and recourse to justice, a woman can liberate and reclaim herself from the shadow of violent oppression. She can rise up and recreate her life for herself and her loved ones.
As she does, the whole community can be transformed. Men can become allies in this process, such as the members of Uganda’s police force who after 24 women were brutally murdered, went on a walk carrying water pots on their heads and babies on their back to see what it was like ‘to walk in women’s shoes’ and to inspire other men to ‘see the benefits of equality’.
Just as everyone suffers in a world which brutalises women and girls, everyone gains when women are liberated from oppression and violence. We are all part of the change and we can all help widen the circle of safety and support for women.
Katie Rose – October 2018
Katie will be hosting a Chai Day in South London on 25th November
For more info please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to hold your own Chai Day, or want to get involved in a friend’s or colleague’s, but need more inspiration for how to incorporate chai in your signature bakes then give some of these recipes a go!
We’d love to hear your own recipes so get in touch on our Facebook or Instagram to share your best bakes!
Masala Chai is easy to make using simple, relatively common ingredients.
• 1 English breakfast teabag
• 6 green cardamom pods
• 6 cloves
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 12 peppercorns
• 500 ml freshly boiled water
• 100ml milk
• 2-3 tsp sugar
1. Snip open the teabag and place the contents in a saucepan.
2. Add the spices and the boiling water, and simmer for three to five minutes over a medium-high heat.
3. Strain through a fine tea strainer into a jug, then return to the pan.
4. Add the milk and sugar, stir over the heat for 30 seconds. Serve immediately.
This tastes great, but you can also buy great Chai teabags in most large supermarkets.
1. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23x12cm (9x5in) loaf tin
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together sugar, cream cheese and eggs until light and fluffy. Mix mashed bananas and chai tea into cream cheese mixture. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth
4. Pour mixture into prepared tin, and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes.
5. Cool on wire rack, removing from tin after 10 minutes
For the cupcakes
• 250g soft unsalted butter
• 250g caster sugar
• 4 eggs, room temperature
• 250 g self-raising flour
For the frosting
• 250g soft unsalted butter
• 500g icing sugar
For the chai flavouring
• 100 ml milk
• 2 assam or ceylon tea bags
• 5 cardamom pods, crushed
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1 tsp ground ginger
Instead of making the chai flavouring, cut corners by using two chai flavoured teabags which are available from most large supermarkets.
1. For the chai flavouring: in a saucepan, gently heat 100ml milk. Add the teabags with the cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, letting the spices infuse.
2. After 20 minutes, remove the teabags and strain the milk, leaving it to cool to room temperature.
3. For the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Once this is fluffy, add 4 eggs one by one.
4. Add half of the spicy milk to the mixture and blend well. Add the flour and once this has all mixed up, spoon into cupcake cases and bake for 18 minutes. Once they are firm but springy to the touch, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5. For the frosting: in a bowl, combine the butter with the icing sugar and once this has mixed well and become fluffy, add the remaining half of the spicy milk.
6. Blend for 3 minutes and then either spoon onto the cooled sponges or pipe with a nozzle and piping bag. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.
Coconut Chai Traybake
This simple traybake is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, this moist coconut sponge is the perfect accompaniment to a cuppa!
• 100ml vegetable oil, plus a little for greasing
• 300ml coconut milk – if the cream has separated in the can, give it a good mix before measuring
• 4 large eggs
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 280g light brown soft sugar
• 250g self-raising flour
• 75g desiccated coconut
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• 10 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed using a pestle and mortar
• 4 tbsp ginger syrup
For the icing:
• 3-4 tbsp coconut milk
• 140g icing sugar
• 2 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
• chopped pistachios and coconut flakes (optional)
1. Grease a 20 x 30cm baking tin with a little oil, and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Measure the coconut milk and oil into a jug. Crack in the eggs, add the vanilla and whisk with a fork to combine.
2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, flour, coconut, spices and a pinch of salt. Squeeze any lumps of sugar through your fingers, shaking the bowl a few times so they come to the surface. Pour in the wet ingredients and use a large whisk to mix to a smooth batter. Pour into the tin, scraping every drop of the mixture out of the bowl with a spatula.
3. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If there is any wet mixture clinging to it, bake for a further 5 mins, then check again. Leave to cool for 15 mins in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack and drizzle over the ginger syrup.
4. To make the icing, mix the coconut milk with the icing sugar until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cake in squiggles, then scatter with the chopped ginger, pistachios and coconut flakes, if using. Eat warm or cold. Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two 22cm springform cake pans.
2. Place the tea bags in a jug with 1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water and set aside to cool. Beat the butter and sugar with electric beaters for 5-6 minutes until thick and pale, then add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and spices, and mix well to combine.
3. Remove and discard the tea bags and slowly add the cooled tea to the batter, beating constantly. Divide batter evenly between the pans, spreading to even the surface, then bake for 45-50 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. For the icing, beat the cream cheese, butter, brown sugar and icing sugar using electric beaters for 6-8 minutes until smooth and voluminous. Add ginger and cinnamon, and beat to combine.
5. For the pomegranate syrup, place a pomegranate half, skin-side up, in a sieve over a bowl, and use a wooden spoon to bash the skin so the seeds fall into the sieve and the juice into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining pomegranate half. Reserve the seeds and place the juice in a saucepan with the sugar and 1/2 cup (125ml) water, then stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 3-4 minutes until reduced by half and a syrupy consistency. Add the reserved seeds to the syrup and set aside to cool.
6. Place one cake on a serving plate and spread with half the icing. Top with the other cake and spread the remaining icing over the top. Drizzle over syrup and dust with cinnamon just before serving.
To help raise funds for victims of domestic violence, rape and sex trafficking. To join in and support them so they too can begin to heal and return to their world stronger.
What did organising a Chai Day make you learn about gender-based violence?
That there are different forms of gender-based violence and all of them need our attention. Because it is a major public health and human rights issues. I learned that young girls around the same age as my sister are been taking away from their mother’s arms and subjected to prostitution, been raped and abused physically and emotionally, and it needs to stop. I learned that if I can gather fierce and determined women in a room to support my cause, then we are one step closer to ending this for someone.
What are your top tips to organise a Chai Day?
Don’t do it alone. It is a ‘team’ event. So gather your friends, their friends, members of your family and their friends and host a Chai Day, because it will be so worth it when you include people in your world to support a great cause.
The Asian Circle members and Rav Bansal (right), from the Great British Bake Off.
The Asian Circle celebrated its fourth birthday with a Chai Day at Montys Nepalese restaurant in Ealing on Saturday 9th December 2017. The Asian Circle was joined by The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) star Rav Bansal, who is supporting The Asian Circle in their fight for gender equality and baked a spectacular cake for the occasion. The Asian Circle founder Santosh Bhanot provided an update on their project in rural communities in east India. In partnership with Oxfam India, The Asian Circle is setting up Women’s Support Centres which provide access to counselling and legal aid to survivors of gender-based violence…
Photo: The Scottish Circle’s event in partnership with Unicef and the David Williamson Rwanda Foundation.
The Scottish Circle’s Feminist Advent Calendar is a collation of some of the amazing events you can attend in Scotland, or things you can do from the comfort of your home, each day to be inspired by fellow feminists this festive season.
Catch the last two days of this exhibition at the Glasgow Women’s Library in Glasgow. The photographic exhibition is the last of GWL’s 25th year and evokes a recognition of the thousands of women who have created GWL and how important it is to record their cultural and political contributions.
Another event at the Glasgow Women’s Library, this Collect:if talk is a part of Book Week Scotland and will be discussing women of colour in literature and their experiences breaking into the industry. The event will include readings from a number of women writers and an interview of Safina Mazhar.
December 3 — Watch #CHICAGOGIRL: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator
Running an entire Syrian revolution from her bedroom in Chicago, 19-year-old Ala’s Basatneh is an inspiration for everyone wanting to help make a difference in the world. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and camera phones, she helps her friends on the ground in Syria show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator, by arranging protests, sending videos to news organisations and smuggling in vital supplies to those in her social network. Find it on Netflix!
Join Dundee FemSoc for a film screening of the biopic of artist and feminist icon Frida Kahlo. Directed by Julie Taymor and winner of two Academy Awards, this film is a modern classic for art and history fans alike.
16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a movement which began at the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. Since 1991, 5,167 groups in 187 countries have contributed to promoting and supporting these 16 days. This year NUS Scotland, AMINA, Grampian Rape Crisis Centre and Aberdeen University Students Association are holding a screening of Hopscotch, followed by a discussion on gender-based violence in their communities. They will be discussing the ways in which gender-based violence affects different communities and the platforms that exist to support survivors and deliver preventative and interventionalist strategies.
This informal lecture will introduce audiences to the drawings, painting, prints, sculpture, mixed-media installations and performance art created by Black British artists living and working across the Black Diaspora. The importance of intersectionality and dominant structures of inequality are crucial to contemporary feminism and this exhibition explores untold narratives and missing memories by developing experimental art practices.
In 2016, The Asian Circle conceived Chai Day as a way to raise awareness and funds to support survivors of gender-based violence. Many supporters of The Circle and The Asian Circle held their own Chai Days with their friends and family, at their universities, at work and at home. We are delighted to say that it was a great success and together we raised vital funds to support survivors of gender-based violence in the UK and overseas.
This year, we encourage you once more to hold a Chai Day in your community, and help us spread the word about the scope and impact of gender-based violence around the world.
The Empower Project is a feminist charity in Scotland, working hard to support communities to end violence against women and girls. They describe their vision as a world in which every member of every community is empowered to make change. Join them for their Feminist Utopia event to celebrate feminism’s resilience against the negativity it has faced this last year. All proceeds go towards the Empower Project!
Novelist and academic Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie asserts “we teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much… to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men”. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world.
Hosted by the CCA Glasgow, this talk will build upon earlier research into the use of the recorded female voice in public/semi-public spaces, with a view to pursuing the question of what it means to inhabit cities primarily in the mode of listening. With many more people now avoiding speaking on the phone in favour of texts and non-verbal modes of communication, this talk will examine the future of face-to-face interaction in urban spaces, and pose again the question of the psychic effect and political meaning of the voice, particularly the female voice, in today’s world.
“Work in Progress” is a weekly radio show hosted by four final-year students at The University of Edinburgh. A topical chat show with a female focus, each week they explore a different musical genre whilst trying to make sense of the world around them. This semester the show has covered the likes of Weinstein culture, the #MeToo campaign, mental health in sport, Boris Johnson’s capacity to continue as Foreign Secretary and the Victoria Secret catwalk show amongst a wealth of other topics. It’s been a busy few months!
They’ll be back in the new year on FreshAir.org.uk and in the meantime you can listen back to all of their previous shows on Mixcloud.
Enjoy a networking event hosted by Business Women Scotland in Aberdeen. This is networking with a difference. You will be given the opportunity to have a five-minute pitch to the guests about your business and make new connections. For any women looking for support and advice and an opportunity to build on your self-confidence.
So far this year, our hearts have been aflutter over the joys and sorrows of first love, humbled by the bravery of political activists and warmed by acts of compassion. One of the GWL’s last events before Christmas, Story Café will showcase stories and poems that will provide a glimpse into the lives of women across the globe, whilst helping us to make sense of our own.
December 15 — Watch She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
Another gem on Netflix! Focusing on the women’s liberation movement from 1966 to 1971, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their equality and, in the process, created a world-wide revolution. Covering topics such as unequal pay, sexual harassment, domestic violence and reproductive rights, it’s an important story that will still resonate for women today.
Women for Women International help women survivors of war rebuild their lives. They have over twenty years of on-the-ground experience working with women in countries affected by conflict, and facilitate a year-long programme that enables women to earn money, regain confidence and actively participate in their communities. Follow them on Facebook to find out some of the activities they run around Edinburgh to raise funds to support a sister through the programme!
Deceber 17 — Find your local food bank and donate sanitary towels and tampons
Sanitary products are not cheap — on average, women in the UK spend £13 on them every month. For many women and girls, buying tampons and sanitary towels is not an option. This leads some girls to miss days of school when they’re on their period.
Food banks don’t only take food, they also take sanitary products, along with toiletries and household items such as washing up liquid. Find your nearest food bank and donate sanitary products, so all women and girls can feel confident and healthy.
The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre is located in Khayelitsha, a township just outside Cape Town. Khayelitsha is the largest township in the Western Cape province, South Africa, and has a high level of overcrowding and poverty. For years, unemployment and crime rates have been high, particularly around violence against women and children with little services and support for the victims.
Nonceba offers women who have survived violence everything they need to regain their confidence and independence — accommodation, health care, counselling, legal advice, vocational skills training and a nursery for their children.
December 19 — Listen to Engender Women’s Podcast, “On The Engender”
“On the Engender” is Scotland’s feminist policy podcast, produced by Engender and featuring the voices of experts from across Scotland’s women’s sector. The podcast explores issues relating to women’s equality in Scotland, from local democracy to reproductive rights, and from the criminal justice system to care reform. Produced by Amanda Stanley and Rhiannon Walsh for Engender.
Every other Wednesday, “Babestation” is broadcast from 19.00-20.00 by two Glasgow University students and is dedicated to bringing you music exclusively by women and LGBT+ musicians. Creating an important space for women and LGBT musicians in this creative industry.
Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo a traditional Maasai rite of passage, female circumcision, if he would let her go to high school. Ntaiya tells the fearless story of continuing on to college, and of working with her village elders to build a school for girls in her community, changing the destiny of 125 young women.
December 22 — Read Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, by Bell Hooks
In this cultural criticism classic, Bell Hooks offers an open-hearted and welcoming vision of gender and calls for a feminism that breaks barriers: “A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving,” she writes. “There can be no love without justice.”
Find it in your local library or make it a last minute addition to your Christmas list!
Our partner Educate Girls has two main goals: to increase girls’ enrolment and retention rates, and to improve the quality of education.
They first identify and enrol girls who are out of school through a team of community-based volunteers. To increase school retention rates, Educate Girls works with communities to raise awareness of the importance of educating girls, improves the quality of education, makes school installations more suitable for girls and imparts life-skills training to an elected Girl Council of adolescent girls.
December 24 — Watch The True Cost
Insightful and heartbreaking, this film looks at the price workers around the world have to pay in order to keep the cost of clothing down. Including footage of the Rana Plaza collapse which killed 1,129 people in 2013, the groundbreaking documentary unravels the unseen world of the fast fashion industry.
The Lawyers Circle recently published Fashion Focus: The Fundamental Right to a Living Wage. This cutting-edge report sets out the arguments to defend the living wage as a fundamental right, and the duties of companies and governments to uphold this right.
Written by Anna Renfrew.
Anna Renfrew is a student at The University of Edinburgh and a volunteer at The Scottish Circle.