Happy International Women’s Day
It’s International Women’s Day and, in writing this post, my starting points were what we wrote last year; and the international campaign theme for this year, which is Balance for Better. Locally, the Forum has actively sustained its commitment to be more inclusive, and continues to see an increase in the number of women participating in events, as well as recruiting another woman to its Committee, meaning that two out of its ten trustees are now women.
More to do
Still, the Forum’s work towards gender balance clearly remains a critical task. But why is this important for LGBT+ women and people in Kingston? There are lots of reasons. Lesbian and bisexual women experience a range of inequalities, which may be confounded further by factors such as disability, age, faith, ethnicity and class (Public Health England, 2017).
Identity and women’s experiences
I was also thinking about the diversity of women’s experiences and concerns, and how being a woman may not be a defining feature of identity for women at any one time. I know, for me, it has been really important in different ways and at different times in my life, to find spaces which speak to certain aspects of who I am, for example, a survivor; a bisexual woman; a parent. And increasingly, for me, it has been important to find spaces which can hold and value all the things I am.
A call for resolve
Thinking about this, I dug out a quote from something I remember reading years ago:
“The point of feminism is to say we need to change the way things are organised so that people don’t feel alone”
(Lynne Segal, quoted in The No-Nonsense Guide to Women’s Rights, 2004).
In reading a little more about Lynne Segal’s convictions, I came across her call for a resolve “to keep friendship, warmth and sociability alive in political work” (2007) and the idea that this is actually necessary for change.
For me personally, this is part of what becoming involved in the Forum is about. There is a lot of emphasis culturally on individual aspiration and achievement. Whilst these are important, I think now, more than ever, we need co-operation and community. To celebrate, to have fun, to learn, and to organise. And when we welcome diversity amongst women, we bring benefits to our community as a whole.
And so, to all women, however much or little that defines you and however you express it, Happy International Women’s Day. We look forward to learning from you, and seeing you soon.
Trustee, Kingston LGBT Forum