I was not shocked to discover that recent research has found almost all young women in Britain have experienced sexual harassment.
I was walking home from the university library once when a group of men cat-called me from the upper storey of a building I passed.
I thought nothing more of it, until I reached my street and realised one of them was following me.
The overwhelming fear that any reaction might prompt further aggression often silences women.
It shows why street harassment cannot be passed off as misplaced compliments and must be viewed as a violent threat to women’s safety.
MP Zarah Sultana recently said, “Women should be able to walk home without the fear of going missing.” Why in 2021 is this still a critical issue?
Why should women continue to modify their behaviour to appease a system which views their bodies as public property?
To end this oppression at an individual level, we must look towards the institutional inequality which defines women as second class citizens.
Sexual harassment is borne from capitalism, which is built on oppression and therefore justifies the abuse of women.
Women cannot come forward with their reports of sexual harassment without being subjected to scrutiny.
This scrutiny comes from an institution that does not want to believe them, support them or promote change.
We know that the police force is firmly rooted in systemic injustice and profits from the continuation of the capitalist system.
This is also why so many women simply do not come forward at all.
The trauma women carry from risking their lives every time they leave the house is curbing their freedom in insurmountable ways.
While public space remains unsafe for women, how can we expect them to thrive, when they can’t even survive?
Enough is enough. We must begin dismantling the oppressive structures which work against the freedom of all.
Trans rights win at Leeds university
This month Bee Hughes was elected higher education representative of LGBT+ members to UCU union’s national executive committee.
They are only the second trans person, and the first non-binary person, to hold that seat.
This is a big step forward for trans and non-binary visibility.
But the situation at Leeds university demonstrates much more needs to be done.
Leeds’ unions were presented with a greatly watered down version of the previous sector-leading policy on trans equality.
One woman said, “The amended policy makes me fearful for anyone following in my footsteps.”
Campaigns against equality by the government, and the Alliance for Defending Freedom—which lobbied them to the tune of £410,000—put us on the defensive.
So did a legal challenge to the Census 2021 by Fair Play for Women.
But following a united campaign involving the trade unions, student union and staff LGBT+ network, Leeds vice-chancellor announced the revised policy was withdrawn.
And they also apologised for the hurt caused. We won.
UCU supports self‑identification for all members and took a motion supporting non-binary people in the workplace to the Trades Union Congress LGBT+ conference.
Megan Povey, Leeds
Bee Hughes, Liverpool
Workers must act, not wait for union leaders
‘Union leaders’ compromises leave workers behind’ (Socialist Worker, 2 March) captures the frustration felt by union activists at the squandering of mandates for action by our national leaders.
This causes a gulf between the grievances and anger of workers, and the timidity and inaction of national union leaders. This gulf has grown wider during the pandemic.
The credibility of national leaderships has worn very thin, while new dynamics in working class resistance have emerged to fill the vacuum created.
Socialists are building networks that connect activists between workplaces. When workers take action, with or without official support, local networks are delivering solidarity that builds workers’ confidence and organisation.
Socialists and trade unionists are at the heart of these networks. Readers of Socialist Worker should get involved.
Piers Morgan could fall upwards
Piers Morgan has announced his departure from ITV’s Good Morning Britain following a berating of Meghan Markle.
Morgan claimed he did not believe her statements about feeling suicidal and stormed off the set when he was confronted by a co-host.
Before celebrating his removal it’s worth remembering that people like Morgan have an incredible ability to fall upwards.
He knew about illegal hacking of voicemails and grovelled to Donald Trump.
If this didn’t disqualify him from highly paid media gigs, you can bet that the right wing media will find another use for him.
That use might come about earlier than anticipated.
With Andrew Neil’s Fox News-style GB News seeking presenters, Morgan seems in for a position as a big name, loud mouth flagship host.
A cynic might suggest the episode was engineered.
Morgan’s name trended all day and bolstered his reputation as a renegade who the “woke left” want silenced.
The attention generated will give a boost to any new enterprise he joins.
Morgan and GB News want attention and clicks. I advise you—don’t give them any.
Solidarity against racism
Our rulers love racism as it keeps us divided and focuses anger on scapegoats.
But the working class has a proud history of not being conned by this.
My union branch voted to support refugees currently being treated so badly.
Protests must be called against the government’s racism and the fascists they encourage.
Why did so many people in Texas suffer cuts to power supplies? Decades back Texas legislators unplugged the state from the two national grids that supply electricity to the west and east sides of the US.
Private power supply businesses run ruthless, well-funded lobbying operations to water down attempts to enforce the necessary upgrades that could withstand the extreme weather.
We need democratically run, public owned systems for delivering electricity generated by sustainable methods based on need.
Support an NHS strike
Power is in the hands of the people, not the Tories. We are the many and they are the few. If nurses go on strike, we back them to the hilt.
Solidarity with each and every one of our amazing, dedicated NHS workers. We all need to support them.
Harry marrying Meghan and the racism she has suffered is important.
At last this archaic institution has shone a light on its ugly, vile, racist, elitist bullying.