We thought it’d be nice to shamelessly follow Change.org’s lead and compile a list of our top ten feminist moments in 2008, strictly UK based, of course. So without any further ado, and in chronological order (because you can’t seriously expect us to place these in order of merit!), we bring you:
The march brought together an estimated 4000 to 5000 women from all backgrounds to mark International Women’s Day and protest male violence against women. The media may have chosen to ignore us, but we came away with the determination and strength to continue the fight for women’s liberation.
While it may not be the most important victory in feminism’s history, the Sheffield Fems-led successful campaign to prevent the opening of a branch of sexist and exploitative restaurant Hooters opening in the city centre demonstrated that local groups and grass roots activism really can be effective, both in achieving goals and raising awareness of feminist issues.
FEM08 once again brought feminists together from across the country to workshop, network and listen to some great speakers.
4. Abortion time limit successfully defended, May.
Despite being let down in October, when Harriet Harman blocked plans to vote on amendments to improve women’s access to abortion and extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland, we can still feel proud of the successful campaign to defend the 24 week abortion time limit.
5. Lesbians and single women gain improved access to IVF treatment, May
MPs voted to remove the requirement that IVF clinics consider the need for “a father or male role model” when deciding whether to give a woman treatment. The new law will instead highlight the need for “supportive parenting”, meaning lesbians and single women will no longer suffer discrimination.
Southall Black Sisters’ work to empower black and ethnic minority women was placed under threat back in February when Ealing Council withdrew funding, bizarrely claiming that a specialist service for one subsection of the community was incompatible with policies on equality. Following a campaign to support SBS, the case was brought to court in July, where the Council was shown to be entirely in the wrong and forced to pay SBS’s legal fees. Fantastic!
For years feminists have maintained that comprehensive and compulsory sex education is essential to young people’s development, health and safety, and at last the government agrees with us. Bring on 2010…
9. Reclaim The Night marches
On November 22nd, 2000+ women marched through the streets of London to demand an end to male violence. Marches have been springing up all over the country in the wake of London Feminist Network’s 2004 revival of the tradition, and 2008 saw women take to the streets in Newquay, Glasgow, Durham, Southport and Manchester (which also featured an all genders march).
OK, not strictly a moment, but we had to get some festive cheese in there somewhere… We went live with comments on the blog for the first time this year, and it’s been great to continue debates, conversations and the odd rant or two (or three!) under our posts. Here’s to more next year!
What was your top feminist moment of 2008? Let us know in comments…