Another Saturday in November, and another feminist event was happening- this time organised by The Fawcett Society in light of the impact that the government's cuts have had on women- there are 27 policies that affect women and currently female unemployment is at a 23 year high. Vital services such as abortion advice services and domestic abuse shelters are having their funds cut dramatically- and they were already struggling to survive.
There was a fifties theme- everyone was encouraged to come along in fifties fancy dress of some kind- I didn't on this occasion but many of the women (and men) that were on the march did- some in pretty vintage dresses, many with a head scarf and some with aprons, brooms and rubber gloves to give that real fifties housewife look!
The march met at 12pm outside of Temple tube station and there was apparently up to 2,500 people on the march at it's peak. The march set off around 12.30pm, and I was just behind some UNISON ladies, Million Women Rise and the London Feminist Network. The march went along the Embankment, and past Downing Street before finishing at Kings Charles Street, I felt in solidarity as I marched with the people around me, getting passed a song sheet- and we joined in singing together- one song in the tune of yellow submarine- "We won't take women's services away, services away, services away.." and other songs as well as simpler chants like "They say cutback! We Say fightback!"
The march seemed to be over really quickly as we all piled down Kings Charle's street to hear the rally. The started with Anna Bird and the chief director of the Fawcett Society, who then introduced us to a wide range of people with inspiring speeches. First up was the journalist Tanya Gold, choice quote-" no Mr Cameron. We will not calm down! Equality is a right not a luxury."
next up was Estelle Hart- the NUS Women's Officer, followed by comedian Kate Smurthwaithe who focused on abortion cutbacks, and the fact that Nadine Dorries wants to change sex education to abstinence education- ONLY FOR GIRLS...Heather Wakefield from UNISON was next discussing the strike on the 30th November.
There was Vivienne Hayes, the CEO of the Women's Resource Centre who took a more radical approach to her speech saying that she thought only women should be in government..then comedian Josie Long did an amazing (and funny speech) who spoke about her experiences of sexism as a female comedian and urged all to call out sexism everytime we hear it- to challenge it even if it's your friend's dad! There was also a speech from the Southall Bank Sisters and I think some others but I can't remember who they were!
Afterwards I went away feeling like I had been part of something good, and as I waited for the tube, I spotted Josie Long who then get on the same tube as me, so I worked up the nerve to actually speak to her and tell her how much I enjoyed her speech and she was lovely, she signed an autograph for me and seemed really touched that I had been nice about her speech! She told me about a project she had been doing with UKUncut and even showed me some photos on her phone! I wish I had of said something more to her really (like tell her to check out my radio show)! but you always think of it after don't you..