Over 150 women attended a dayschool on Marxism and Women’s Liberation organised by the Socialist Workers Party on Saturday 28 October.
The dayschool discussed issues ranging from the origins of women’s oppression to strategies for liberation today. It looked at the contradiction between the huge changes in women’s lives as more women have entered the workforce and the enduring inequality of women in all spheres of life. There were women there who had been part of the fights for abortion rights and equal pay in the 1970s as well as students organising now against sexist clubs promoting themselves and advertising on campus. The meetings discussed how to link these issues to a wider struggle to transform society.
Some of the women at the dayschool told Socialist Worker what they had got from the day. Sally Farrer, a health worker in Warrington said, “The dayschool has stimulated me to think about action that I can take. It has made me think about how we can fight back against raunch culture, inequality and sexism. I went to a workshop on the history of the women’s movement - it is good to learn the lessons from what has and hasn’t worked in the past in order to be able to do something about it today.'
Dilwara Begum, women’s officer for Tower Hamlets Respect, said that she enjoyed the workshop on the Bolsheviks and women’s liberation. She said, “It opened my mind to things that women have fought for in the past. The Bolsheviks achieved things that we still don’t have almost 100 years later. In fact we seem to be going backwards. I think we need to campaign for equality in employment, for better childcare and against the exploitation of women by the media.”
Emily Duckworth, a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, told Socialist Worker, “Today has taught me some of the history of the struggle for women's liberation. There are a lot of issues for students today such as the sexist advertising that we had at our Freshers' Fair. It also raises questions about why some women accept some sexist ideas and whether we can end women’s oppression.”