Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/319/9720
Socialist women national meeting
Fighting Women's Oppression
The discussions and the ideas that came up at the Socialist Women's weekend were extremely useful and inspiring.
There were school students and teachers, young workers and trade union activists and those, like me, who were attending for the first time. This meant we were able to come at every issue from many directions and perspectives and we agreed that we need to think about the gender angle on all issues.
In the session on the question of whether a new sexism now exists there was some discussion on the unions organising amongst sex workers. The discussion looked at the way images of women relate to the needs of capitalism.
In the discussion on women and Islam Zena Awad, national organiser for the Socialist Party's Black and Asian work, compared Muslim countries at different times in history and the situation of women within countries with a Muslim majority as well as in the West. She showed how many of the oppressive practices which are sometimes associated with Islam are in fact rooted in class society rather than the Koran and have been absorbed and reinforced by many different religions.
We discussed the different trends within Islam and how these relate to women. I think everyone felt that every member of the party would benefit from participating in both of these discussions.
We then discussed how we could ensure that we are a party women will want to join and how we can support women who do. Many women face the same obstacles to political activity.
We agreed that we must strive to hold our meetings in places that are safe and well-lit; that we must try and provide child care - not just for meetings but to enable women with children to participate in demos and other activities.
We agreed that everyone at the meeting would be an ambassador for the Socialist Party work amongst women - reporting back to their branches and ensuring that all the members, male and female were confident to discuss the ideas and issues. We will aim to hold national women's committee meetings at least three times a year and also regional women's meetings. We should aim for 50% of Socialist Party members to be women.
We should also ensure that women's issues are covered in the socialist. It is vital that all the female members see this as their responsibility and get something down on paper when an issue comes up in the press or in their workplace, school or college.
The success of the meeting showed how much it was needed and that we must ensure to continue as we intend - discussing the issues raised at every level and ensuring that the Socialist Party is the best organisation for women who want to join the fight against the many aspects of womens' oppression as part of the struggle to overthrow capitalism and build a socialist world.
In The Socialist 18 October 2003:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
War and occupation
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis