“It’s hard to forget the first time you got your period… it’s scary and uncomfortable enough, even when you have the privilege of knowing what it is and that you’ll be okay.”
Brianna is an Australian trained social worker currently “lucky enough to be working in the community sector around FGM”. She went into social work as she has always been passionate about human rights, social justice and empowerment. Brianna has become specifically drawn to feminist practice approaches and issues surrounding global gender inequalities and gender-based violence.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I moved to the UK 10 months ago, I’m a New Zealand citizen, and I have a social work background, currently working in the charity/community sector around FGM.
Why did you decide to become a member of The Circle?
It seemed such an easy fit with my interests and passions, particularly the notion of Global Feminism and focusing on supporting the amazing work of existing grassroots organisations like Irise.
How are you involved with the upcoming Menstruation Matters event and what has that been like?
I have been lucky to spend time with Sophia and Jasbir planning what we would like the event to look like, who would be involed, where it would be held. It’s definitely been a new experience for me as I’ve never done event planning or fundraising – but I’m certainly learning a lot!
Why do you think the work of Irise International is so important?
It’s hard to forget the first time you got your period… it’s scary and uncomfortable enough, even when you have the privilege of knowing what it is and that you’ll be okay. I can’t imagine that ‘first time’ without access to such knowledge… and the reality is many girls both in the UK and Uganda don’t. Irise is enabling girls to have understanding, choice and control over their bodies and that is an absolute necessity. They are addressing an issue that has a powerful knock-on effect for girls’ education and future – and that’s what we’re all about!
If you would like to attend our Menstruation Matters event this month then book your ticket here. Events like this just wouldn’t happen without our wonderful members. They are truly the lifeblood of The Circle!
Dr Sumita Mukherjee looks at the activities of Indian campaigners for the female vote in Asia, Europe, USA, Britain and other parts of the British Empire, and how they had an impact on campaigns in the Indian subcontinent.
In the context of her new book, she discusses the experiences of the Indian suffragettes who travelled around the world to lobby the British parliament, attend international women’s conferences and conduct speaking tours to gather support for Indian women.
Dr Mukherjee will demonstrate the ways in which the suffrage movement was a truly global enterprise, not solely confined to Britain or America, that involved and affected women from a range of diverse backgrounds.
Come to listen to this fascinating talk, have a bite to eat in the Pay What You Can Cafe and view The Women’s Hall exhibition at the same time!
As part of London Fashion Week, The Circle and the UK Asian Film Festival are organising a one-night-only screening of “The True Cost”, produced by The Circle founding member Livia Firth.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Livia Firth, author of “Slave to Fashion” Safia Minney and Jessica Simor QC, co-author of The Lawyers Circle report “Fashion Focus: the Fundamental Right to a Living Wage”.
Ayesha’s book details the history of women’s social, legal and political status in Pakistan as contested through its urban-based modern women’s movement. Since the 1980s, a small but influential group of activists have been advocating for their rights, the restoration of democracy and a secular state.
This began in response to the state’s growing use of Islam for political purposes, which peaked under General Zia-ul-Haq’s military rule (1977-88), during which the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan and rise of political Islam worked in favor of his domestic policy of Islamization. Pakistan became an increasingly exclusionary state, with religious minorities and women facing growing discrimination.
Despite setbacks, such as another period of military rule and rise of the Taliban, activists succeeded in winning back some of their rights. Recent years have seen unprecedented legislative reform, policy changes to reverse discrimination and the first substantial increase in women’s political participation.
Explore the place of women in change-making with this empowering and celebratory event, presented in partnership with the Glasgow Women’s Library.
Through an afternoon of talks, panel discussions and workshops we will celebrate the achievements women have made in shaping a fairer and more balanced political, social and cultural landscape —and, in keeping with Take One Action’s raison d’être, explore current challenges in civil society, politics, media and international development.
Hear from Naila Ayesh, protagonist of “Naila and the Uprising” and founder and director of the Women’s Affairs Centre in Gaza, as she reflects on her personal experience of being on the frontlines of political change; explore how we can achieve better representation for women in policy, environmentalism, culture and academia through an inclusive panel discussion; and develop your own practical skills and understanding of activism and creative resistance through a selection of interactive workshops.
“Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible” by Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené —in Conversation with Tomiwa Folorunso at Glasgow Women’s Library
Black women today are facing uniquely challenging experiences in all aspects of their lives. Yet when best friends Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené searched for a book that addressed these challenges they realised none existed. So “Slay in Your Lane” —the lovechild of exasperation and optimism— was born.
From education, to work, to dating, to representation, money and health, this inspirational, honest and provocative “Black Girl Bible” explores the ways in which being black and female affects each of these areas —and offers advice and encouragement on how to navigate them.
Illustrated with stories from Elizabeth and Yomi’s own lives and from interviews with dozens of the most successful black women in Britain —including Amma Asante, Charlene White, Jamelia, Denise Lewis, Malorie Blackman and Dawn Butler MP— “Slay in Your Lane” recognizes and celebrates the strides black women have already made, whilst providing practical advice and inspiration for those who want to do the same and forge a better, visible future.
Shedding light on controversial research and investigating the ferocious gender wars in biology, psychology and anthropology, Angela Saini, to mark Ada Lovelace Day, will talk about how women are being rediscovered. She will explore what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, revealing an alternative view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.
This talk will be followed by a drinks reception, book sale and signing.
The Circle is proud to announce that we will be part of the second annual Women Of The World Festival in Exeter. The festival is taking place on 13 and 14 October across three venues —RAMM, Exeter Phoenix and Exeter Library. The programme is jam packed with artists, writers, politicians, comedians and activists. It is bound to be an inspiring and thought-provoking weekend.
The Circle’s Relationship Manager Peta Barrett will be joining a panel discussion focused on “Building the Sisterhood”. We will also be sharing information about the important part we play in the global movement for gender equality at the WOW Market Place.
We hope to see you there!
If you are based in or around Exeter and are interested in becoming a member, get in touch before the event and come say hi.
This exhibition at Armitt Museum in Cumbria celebrates the pioneering women who lived in the local area in times gone by —from journalist Harriet Martineau, often described as the first female sociologist, to the author and conservationist Beatrix Potter.
This exhibition reflects on those who campaigned for better representation, most famously the suffragists and the militant suffragettes. The recently acquired Manchester suffragette banner will be displayed for the first time alongside sashes, brooches, photographs and cartoons, helping to paint a picture of what representation meant in 1918.
This family-friendly exhibition also questions how far we have really come in 100 years. It gives a platform to individuals and communities, including LGBT+ youth charity The Proud Trust and Safety4Sisters, who are still fighting to make their voices heard today. Crowdsourced items, including placards from the 2017 Women’s Marches and a jumpsuit from the Sisters Uncut 2018 BAFTA protest, tell the very personal stories of today’s movements and campaigns.
This V&A exhibition presents an extraordinary collection of personal artefacts and clothing belonging to the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Locked away for 50 years after her death, this collection has never before been exhibited outside Mexico.
100 Years of Suffrage is a feminist festival taking part over three weekends, July 20th – August 5th. The event will be held at Aire Place Studios
The festival opens on Friday night with an exhibition featuring two feminist artists whose work, whilst working in completely different styles, looks into redefining beauty standards. This will be followed by an after party featuring women and non-binary djs.
The next event is a day of workshops and talks for women and non-binary people. It really focuses on the last 100 years of suffrage and what the next 100 years have in store for feminism. This will feature talks about suffragettes of colour, talks from women MPs and their experiences in parliament and feminist activists will discuss their battles with law changes and policy makers. This will culminate in a spoken word open mic where women and non-binary people can share their political experiences.
The final event is a peddle powered feminist cinema, showing independent films from women and non-binary directors featuring films with the theme of suffrage and how far we’ve come. Vegan food will be on sale.
The aim is to bring the community together to learn, share and celebrate the last 100 years of suffrage.
Discover some of the suffragette sources from the collections at Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. Read the real Woman’s Dreadnought, see our first edition copy of The Suffragette signed by its author Sylvia Pankhurst, and browse our unique collection of pamphlets, news cuttings and photographs. With an introduction from Robert Jones, Heritage Officer (Library), and then a chance to explore the material.
A special edition of Tower Hamlets Archives regular East End History Club, exploring women’s lives in Tower Hamlets throughout the twentieth century. These sessions are ideal for those who are curious about local history and want to find out more. There’s no need to book, just drop in. Tea, coffee and biscuits provided.
Levels of displacement have never been higher than they are now. There are currently 68.5 million forcibly displaced people. 28.5 million of those are refugees and asylum seekers.
Refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls face challenges on multiple fronts, including their gender and their situation as displaced people. Displaced women and girls are at a higher risk of experiencing sexual violence and many have to give up their education.
Join us in our second webinar to learn about these and other challenges that millions of refugee women and girls are facing and find out more about how you can support them to overcome these challenges.
Speakers will be Laura Padoan, a UNHCR Spokesperson, and Claire Lewis, from the UNHCR Global Goodwill Ambassador Programme.
The Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM), the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and Scot-Pep are having a party and you’re invited!
They’re raising money for a plaque commemorating beloved friend Laura Lee, who tragically died this year. Laura was a giant among sex work activists, a fearless campaigner and a dear comrade. They will be remembering Laura with a minute’s silence at the event.
Further money raised will go to Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland (SWAI), who are fighting against the Nordic Model in Ireland.
Hot Brown Honey turn up the heat with lashings of sass and a hot pinch of empowerment in the smash-hit, genre-defying, award-winning firecracker of a show that’s taken the world by storm. Taking on intersectional feminism, cultural appropriation and female sexuality, this is a must see at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Aire Place Studios warmly welcome you to celebrate the end of “100 Years of Suffrage” with a pedal powered screening of ‘Shireen of al-Walaja’ Shireen is a powerhouse of everything it means to be a woman. As her Palestinian village shrinks, Shireen’s strength and courage grows. Please note this film features state violence.
This Story Cafe Special is part of our Vote 100 programme, marking 100 years since some of the first women in Britain were granted the right to vote. Bring your daughters, granddaughters and nieces to celebrate!
Story Café Special: Girl by Girl, Vote by Vote, Thursday 9th August, 12.30pm to 2.30pm, for anyone aged 10+
This event is aimed at girls and young women 10+ but all are welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Sheena Wilkinson, one of the UK’s foremost writers for young people, will reveal the secrets behind her latest novel, Star by Star, a bold tale of Suffragettes and heroes, courage and survival.
In 2018 the film industry, for so long a haven of misogyny and sexism, has found itself at the heart of a worldwide ‘cataclysmic global reckoning’, in which women everywhere are standing up defiantly against predatory male behaviour. In Brave, the American actress Rose McGowan recounts her fight against the Hollywood machine. Today she talks to Afua Hirsch about her campaign to help all women reclaim their lives.
Part of the Identity Parades series of events and sponsored by Open University.
The Circle welcomes members and their guests to a summer networking event in August. Share a cold beverage with like-minded individuals who are working with The Circle to empower some of the most marginalised women and girls in communities around the globe. At the event you can learn more about the projects we are supporting and ways that you can get involved to make a difference.
The event will take place at The Rotary, a venue with a beautiful outdoor space just outside Regent’s Park.
How can we confront institutions about their role in perpetuating violence and work to make institutions more open and inclusive spaces?
This panel will explore some of the paradoxes and difficulties of doing feminist and anti-racist work within institutions. Even when institutions claim to be committed to equality they are often deeply unequal and hierarchical spaces. A feminist and anti-racist project is to transform the institutions in which we work. The aim of transforming institutions is still however an institutional project: we often have to work through the structures we seek to dismantle. When our political work is resourced or supported by an institution does it become more difficult to confront the institution? Does following procedures or working in house constrain the kinds of work we can do? If for strategic reasons we try to avoid confrontation what else are we avoiding? And how and why are some of us perceived as being confrontational however we are doing the work?
The panel will be a chance to talk from as well as about our experiences of doing feminist and anti-racist work. The panel will consider who does (and does not) do the work of trying to transform institutions and how these distributions of labour can reproduce inequalities, and will discuss the costs of doing (and not doing) this labour and reflect on how institutions can exhaust us and wear us out. The panel will open up a discussion of how we can confront problems of institutional racism, institutional sexism (including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct) as well as institutional bullying.
gal-dem’s panel will explore women of colour and BME women’s experiences of street harassment: the ways in which this harassment is frequently laced or combined with racism and Islamophobia and how a culture of harassment fits into the wider spectrum of violence perpetrated against women because of their gender or perceived gender.
Empower Her Voice (EHV) is bringing you a comedy festival —a night of spectacular talent hosted by Verity Babbs.
This event will be raising money to fund scholarships for girls to attend the Sanjan Nagar school in Lahore, Pakistan. Book your ticket: all ticket sales will go towards funding the entire education (12 years) of ten young Pakistani girls.
There is a serious lack of female representation in the DJ scene. Only 10% of performers at music festivals around the world are female and an even smaller percentage of women are on music label rosters. The Oxford scene is no different.
Here, for Hugh’s Arts Week, students at Oxford University want to redress this imbalance in the Oxford DJ scene. We’ve got an incredible, exclusively female trio of DJs from Cuntry Living Magazine. They’ll teach all you gals the ropes.
Anyone who identifies either fully or partially as woman, or who has a complex gender identity that may include “woman” is very welcome!
This exhibition of work by Edinburgh-based photographer Mhairi Bell-Moodie highlights the stories of 25 women. The women involved have overcome child loss, domestic abuse, rape, self harm, body dysmorphia, suicide attempts, breast cancer, chronic illness and much more. The series acknowledges their struggles and celebrates their survival.
The exhibition is free and open to all at Out of the Blue daily from 10 am-5 pm.
Please be aware that the work contains subject matters which some may find upsetting.
Journalist and author of It’s Only Blood Anna Dahlqvist is in conversation with Gabby Edline, activist and founder of Bloody Good Period. Attend this event to learn more about issues of gender inequality facing women and girls due to the lack of essential sanitary products and education, which are perpetuated by social and cultural shaming. In her book, Anna tells shocking and moving stories of why and how people from Sweden, Bangladesh, Uganda and the USA are fighting back against the shame.
This “festival of motherhood and work” is aimed at women who have felt pushed out of their careers after having children, as well as those who are thinking about motherhood and want to be armed with some invaluable insights.
Sessions cover topics from flexi-working to knowing your legal rights (in case your boss doesn’t). Expect to learn from the funniest and most successful mums around.
Climate change is a feminist issue. Women are disproportionately vulnerable to the environmental crises we face. This panel presents women working on the frontline of resistance. Judy Ling Wong OBE, ambassador for the Women’s environmental Network and founder of the Black Environmental Network, and Lisa Schipper, researcher at the Overseas Development Institute, will draw on their experiences in the field to address the crucial link between women and climate change.
The Feminist Library will be hosting an event on the place of feminism in tech! This time round they’ll be talking AI from a feminist perspective —they’ll be asking questions like: what does feminist AI look like? Is it possible to have feminist AI? They’ll be opening the evening with a couple of films on the topic and then welcoming speakers from academia, activism and filmmaking, with a range of perspectives on feminism and AI. The panel will include inspiring women from Commons Co-Creation Platform, Code Liberation Front / Goldsmith’s University London, Ada-AI and the Feminist Library.
They are inviting you to join the discussions, watch feminism & AI films with us and hear feminists who work in this area shine a light on it from a range of perspectives. It will be a relaxed evening of interesting screenings and discussions, with drinks and snacks available to make your evening even more enjoyable.
The Empower Project are having their first ever AGM and there’s going to be pizza! Get your ticket for a zine making workshop to make their annual report, speakers & food.
The Empower Project is an NGO based in Scotland working on creative ways to tackle gender-based violence and online abuse. This year they have already co-hosted a decoding event with Amnesty International to take down #ToxicTwitter and held discussion groups and training sessions and put on a feminist disco! The best part is you can be a member for just £1! “Come for the pizza! Stay for the smashing of the patriarchy!”
28 May — Menstrual Hygiene Day
Menstrual Hygiene Day is “a global platform that brings together non-profits, government agencies, the private sector, the media and individuals to promote Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)”. At The Circle we’re focussing on #MenstruationMatters throughout May. The Music Circle are planning a Night Walk through London to raise awareness about Menstruation Matters and raise funds to support young women and girls who do not have access to sanitary products or reproductive health education. If you would like to sponsor them, please click here.
Join comedian Deborah Frances-White for her comedy podcast, recorded in front of a live audience.
In each episode Deborah and her guests discuss their noble goals as 21st century feminists and the paradoxes and insecurities which undermine them. The podcast has been a huge success with over 10,000,000 downloads since it started at the beginning of last year.
The Women’s Movement of the 1970s empowered women to step behind the camera in larger numbers. Their pioneering work platformed voices, stories and issues previously ignored or misrepresented.
The ground-breaking directors highlighted in this series made films outside the mainstream industry, frequently through activist film cooperatives and collectives. Their work was screened in “consciousness-raising” groups, at political conventions and in other alternative venues, and was often intended to spark discussion and action on women’s issues.
These films offered alternate visions to the mainstream, introducing subjects of interest to women and reshaping how films were made in ways that continue to be influential. Through cinema vérité, animation, experimentation and autobiographical techniques, such as images from dreams and entries from diaries, a new cinematic language was forged to capture a shared experience.
The Suffrage movement was the start for many positive changes for women in the 20th Century. Now in 2018 we commemorate the past as we continue to advocate for change. Members of The Circle are committed to amplifying the voices for the most marginalised women and girls to ensure they are empowered by lasting change in the global movement for gender equality. On 10 June PROCESSIONS will be taking place in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.
PROCESSIONS is a celebratory mass participation artwork to commemorate the centenary of the women’s right to vote in the UK.
Some members of The Circle will be attending the event. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join them.
Hotline, Edinburgh’s resident female and non-binary DJ night, is moving to Glasgow! Hotline creates safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people and will continual to do so in Glasgow. Great tunes and great people!
This exhibition at LSE features archive items and objects from the Women’s Library collection —including banners, sashes, badges and much more— to show the campaign methods of the three main groups for women’s suffrage: the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) and the Women’s Freedom League (WFL). It concentrates on the last (and often bitter) years of the long campaign of the struggle for women’s right to vote from 1908 to 1914, with the inclusion of prison diaries and leaflets detailing tactics, such as “rushing” the House of Commons.
Written by @AnnaRenfrew. Anna is a student at The University of Edinburgh and a volunteer at The Circle.
Photo credit: Judit Prieto | The Circle members at March 4 Women, London.
Inspired by the Feminist Calendars written by our fantastic volunteers, we wanted to put some additional external events for April onto your agenda. Events are a great way to meet other members and learn more about some of the issues we are addressing in our projects. If you are planning to attend any of these listed below, please email us at email@example.com so we can connect you with other members who are also interested in attending.
Join The Elders, the Fight Inequality Alliance and the Atlantic Fellows for an event at LSE, London. The event is in honour of grassroot efforts around the world to address the inequality crisis and learn more about joining the #WalkTogether movement.
The Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights. It was set up in 2007 by Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu.
The Circle is committed to a guaranteeing a living wage for garment workers in the fast fashion supply chains. With Fashion Revolution Week taking place from 23-29 April, it’s the best time to brush up on your knowledge of The Circle’s Living Wage Project. Being informed about the fast fashion industry allows understanding of the greater context in which financial inequality for women and girls is perpetuated within fast fashion supply chains.
Here are some events being run by fellow members to help you be better informed:
Another incredible member of The Circle and Founder of Enchanted Rebels, Lianne Bell, will be hosting and co-hosting a series of live events on Facebook, including Dress Ethically. She will be joined by ONE SAVVY MOTHER for a live Facebook event that aims to bring you closer to the people who make your clothes. They’ll be sharing their own experiences and answering your questions!
The Circle member Lianne Bell will be having a good old chinwag with Ethical Fashion Blogger Tolly Dolly Posh about greenwashing. Lianne is based in Taiwan, but the chat will be taking place online at 15:30 UK time.
Written by Peta Barrett.
Peta is a member of The Circle since 2016 and The Circle Relationship Manager since 2017.
Both Sides Now is a large-scale initiative taking place across the North of England to support emerging female artists and up-and-coming industry professionals to transform the future of the music industry.
Its aim is to create a network that delivers sustainable activity and affects permanent change around the perception, opportunities and profiling of women in music, from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the stage.
This first ‘Open Space’ event is for anyone with an interest in this conversation to come together and discuss what could make a real difference – whether that’s about role models, motherhood, education, social mobility, policy change or something else entirely.
The presentation of GENPOL’s new policy paper, one of the first studies assessing the quality and influence of sexual education across all EU member states. The policy paper examines the links between SRE and gender-based violence, suggesting that comprehensive and inclusive teaching can help challenge and prevent abusive behaviours. It outlines GenPol’s innovative approach to consent-centred SRE, and carefully unpacks the relationship between educational efforts and gender-based violence prevention. It also celebrates the vital work of sex education and gender equality advocates across Europe, whilst identifying existing gaps that need to be addressed.
The European Parliament Liason Office in Edinburgh will host a panel discussion event for International Women’s Day to discuss women’s issues at national European level and the specific challenges faced by women in politics. This will be an all-female panel with speakers including Catherine Stihler and Elspeth Attwooll!
“A panel discussion led by three women from diverse backgrounds leading the discussion on the stereotyped black woman. For centuries, black women have been shoehorned into a handful of stereotypes — the mammy, the sexual siren, the welfare queen, the matriarch, and the angry Black woman. Arguably, Michelle Obama represents a pushback against each of these, even at the implicit level.”
African Voices Forum leads round table discussions on the identity of black women as part of the General Assembly’s proclamation of this decade as the Decade for People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development.
4 March – March4Women, The Circle (London)
The Circle members will be marching through the streets of London to show solidarity for women everywhere. It’s going to be a fun and empowering way to get to know each other more and support women’s rights. Not a member yet? Join us!
In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, for one Sunday filmmaker Jade Jackman, Politics Editor for gal-dem Leah Cowan and the rest of gal-dem will fill the House of Vans with film screenings, several talks, a raffle and a marketplace. All proceeds will be donated to Imkaan, the only UK-based, second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black minoritised women and girls.
Through celebrating the words and works of women and non-binary folk of colour, we will support women in the UK who will be most affected by the government’s proposed changes to domestic violence funding which will leave some refuges and services without funding. By uplifting and celebrating women, we want to support others.
With workshops and panel discussions focusing on BME women’s experience of sexualized and racialized harassment and ending deportations. There will also be a talk by Paula Akpan, gal-dem’s social media editor, in conversation with activist and model Munroe Bergdorf.
First performed in 2015, March of Women celebrated the lives and achievements of Scottish women past and present. In this documentary film, you will hear from the women involved as they talk about the heroines they chose to represent. After the film you’ll get the chance to join the discussion and create your own suffragette-style rosette with a message for women today.
The Empower Project and WomenBeing have teamed up to host a celebration of women this Thursday for International Women’s Day. The event will feature an exhibition of art and photography, spoken word performances, and live music from women living in and around Edinburgh. Taking place at The Dog House in Newington, they will be taking donations of hygiene products for Homeless Period. Lets have a party!
Girl Talk is a free, monthly, informal meet up for creative women and non-binary people hosted by Girl Gang Leeds. Their monthly meet-up falls on International Women’s Day so this one is going to be extra special!
With talks from Kristyna Baczynski, Modes of Expression, Equaliser, Four Chambers and Freedom4girls.
“Did you know that of the 2,300 paintings on display at the National Gallery, only eleven are by women? Did you know that only around five per cent of the works in major permanent collections worldwide is by women artists? Did you know that on average less than five per cent of the artists in permanent collection’s modern art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female? Can you name the female heroes and seductresses of the old testament? Do you know their stories? Have you ever heard of a Maenad? Medusa? Madame Pompidour? Saint Catherine?”
London Drawing Group is addressing this imbalance: “POWERFUL WOMEN: a Hidden History invites you to step inside London’s Iconic National Gallery with a celebration of powerful female figures throughout history; from Grecian Goddesses to the wonderfully vicious Old Testament heroines, stories of Saints and Martyrs, Witches, Monsters and the too-long-forgotten female artists of the National Gallery”.
Let resident LDG tutor Luisa-Maria MacCormack guide you through the gallery and spend the afternoon practicing drawing exercises that are designed to help you understand and engage with these paintings and stories in new and creative ways.
WOW – Women of the World festival celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential.
Around the world, individuals and communities are insisting on the simple proposition that women and girls must have equal rights and asking the question: why is gender equality taking so long?
Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival is a global network of festivals which provides a platform for celebrating what has been achieved, and exploring all the ways we can change the world for the better. The Circle will have a stall at the WOW Market Place, so come and meet the team!
After the resounding success of the first Queer Modernism(s) conference in 2017, Queer Modernism(s) II: Intersectional Identities, will be held on 12 and 13 April 2018 at the University of Oxford. Queer Modernism(s) II is an interdisciplinary, international conference exploring the place of queer identity in modernist art, literature and culture, with an emphasis on intersecting identities. Panelists will question, discuss and interrogate the social, sexual, romantic, artistic, affective, legal and textual relationship between queer identity and modernity.
The Keynotes will be Dr. Sandeep Parmar (University of Liverpool) and Dr. Jana Funke (University of Exeter). Dr. Parmar is a BBC New Generation thinker and has published widely on women’s literature in the 20th century, especially lesser known and non-canonical women. Dr. Funke is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Humanities in the English Department at the University of Exeter and a Wellcome Trust Investigator. Her research cuts across modernist studies, the history of sexuality and the history of science. She has published on modernist women’s writing, the history of sexual science and queer literature and history.
Written by @AnnaRenfrew. Anna is a student at The University of Edinburgh and a volunteer at The Circle.
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.
Here’s our roundup of feminist events happening up and down the country over the course of the next two months. Whether you’re interested in sports, art, comedy or politics, there’s something for everyone!
The Feminist Library possesses a tremendous body of literature relating to women’s rights and the women’s liberation movement. You can drop in to explore their collection, or attend their events, which run throughout the year. On 3 September, they are holding a Feminism and Cycling Event to celebrate women and their bikes. The programme for the day includes workshops, presentations, discussions, music and even some feminist yoga!
This two-day conference hosted by Engender, Scotland’s leading feminist organisation, will explore the route to gender equality in the country. There will workshops and discussions on issues from abortion legislation and the gender pay gap to the criminal justice system and Brexit.
The Women Over 50 Film Festival does what it says on the tin: it celebrates the work of older female film-makers and performers through screenings, Q&As, talks and workshops in the lively city of Brighton. With more than fifty events on offer, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
This one-day festival at The Jewish Museum is open to feminists of all ages and genders! Hear from inspirational speakers including Laura Bates (of The Everyday Sexism Project), Gemma Cairney (Radio 1 agony aunt and supporter of The Circle) and Susie Orbach (author of the ground-breaking book Fat is a Feminist Issue). Try your hand at life drawing or feminist embroidery, and enjoy performances and panel discussions.
Nasty Women is an international art movement promoting solidarity in the face of threats to women’s rights. Seeking to raise funds and provide a platform for collective resistance, it displays work by female artists who identify as ‘Nasty Women’!
The London edition is taking place in Shoreditch at the end of September. It will feature paintings, photography and sculpture by up-and-coming artists. Show your support — all money raised will go to Rape Crisis UK and Women for Women International.
Ada Lovelace Day is an annual celebration of the progress and achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). There are grassroots celebrations around the world, but the flagship event — held at The Royal Institution in London — is not to be missed! It will feature leading STEM women giving talks and performances about their work.
Anti-violence campaigner and renowned author Julie Bindel will be launching her new book on the global sex trade, The Pimping of Prostitution — Abolishing the Sex Work Myth. After sharing her extraordinary journey of discovery, Julie will be joined by a panel of sex trade survivors who will be sharing their own experience and knowledge.
The Oxford Circle is a branch of The Circle led by women based in Oxford. And it is turning 5! We are going to celebrate with afternoon tea at the Malmaison hotel, a converted prison in Oxford Castle. Expect raffles and talks by leading experts in women’s health and female genital mutilation (FGM).
Rally for Choice is a demonstration of support for a change to abortion laws in Northern Ireland. It is organised by a cross-community group of activists who advocate for free, safe and legal access to abortion. With support from The British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Amnesty International UK, Rally for Choice 2017 is sure to be a huge event.
Who says women aren’t funny? The Manchester Women In Comedy Festival has been described as one of “the UK’s best comedy festivals”, combining laughter with feminist principles. This year’s event includes solo shows, open mic workshops and a writing competition, so everyone can get involved!