International Women's Day: Brexit overshadows our fight for equal rights

International Women’s Day March: ‘Brexit Takes Away From The Crisis Facing Women’

Campaign groups for women across the United Kingdom have united outside what they nicknamed ‘The Royal Courts of Injustice’ to campaign for women’s rights this International Women’s Day.

Women assembled from a multitude of support groups and campaign bodies as spokeswomen gave short speeches on pressure-point topics, while nearby buses and taxis on the Strand honked horns in shows of support.

Those attending and speaking included women from charities and groups raising awareness of the plight of sex workers, the Windrush Generation, and of issues surrounding domestic violence, poverty, unjust detention of asylum seekers, sexism, racism, state intervention, childcare and other forms of discrimination.

Dozens of support groups gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Image credit: RightsInfo

Those promoting recently-launched campaigns included the English Collective of Prostitutes, whose #MakeAllWomenSafe petition highlights the unjust treatment of sex workers by police, and calls for a living wage for mothers and carers in order to give underprivileged women options away from the sex industry.

Women who gave birth out of wedlock that had their children removed from their care in the 1950s and 1960s were also highlighting their recently-launched campaign, which seeks a public apology from the government over treatment they say has led to depression and PTSD.

“We identify very strongly with everyone woman who has come here to this event today,” a spokesperson from the English Collective of Prostitutes told RightsInfo. “We’re here to protest outside these ‘Royal Courts of Injustice’ about the injustice that’s wreaked on us as women every day of our lives.”

Global Women’s Strike, a movement that seeks to value all women’s work, coincides with International Women’s Day. Image credit: RightsInfo

“It’s nice that they got me to say a bit to represent the younger kids,” one teenager from The Crossroads Women’s Centre in Kentish Town told RightsInfo following her speech on Islamophobia. “A lot of the women at the centre are an older generation, so it’s nice to have that balance”.

“Brexit is taking away from the continuing crisis of universal credit, of Islamophobia, of childcare, of all the things the women’s centre are talking about today,” she continued. “Brexit has taken away from those issues we should be focusing on.”

Speaking about the daily abuse cycle for many women of colour, she added: “Often white people don’t really get it, they have to try and put themselves in our shoes.

People need to be listening to people of colour when they’re talking about these issues – that’s how things are going to change.

A spokeswoman from the Crossroads Women’s Centre in Kentish Town

“People need to be listening to be people of colour when they’re talking about these issues, actively listening to them when they speak about their experiences – that’s how things are going to change.”

“By removing the members of your party who are in power who are the ones who are Islamophobic in the first place, that would be a great step, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen under a Tory government,” she said.

Multi-coloured flags temporarily blocked the Courts from view. Image credit: RightsInfo

“All over the world women are standing up and saying ‘We have to be listened to,'” continued Cari Mitchell of the ECP. “Women two-thirds of the world’s work for five percent of the income. That tells you everything you need to know about why women go on the game. We do all sorts of things in order to survive.”

“Most of us are here as mothers, single mothers supporting families. This is not only in this country but all over the world. We have very few options as mothers how to survive poverty. Because the work we do as mothers is not recognised and paid, we absolutely support the demand for a living wage for mothers and carers.

If we had some money to support ourselves… we’d never have to go on the game in the first place

A spokeswomen for the EPC

“As sex workers, if we as mothers had some of that money to support ourselves and our children, we’d never have to go on the game in the first place.”

“There have to be economical alternatives to prostitution so we don’t have to get into the sex trade in the first place, because of poverty, and so we can get out when we want to.”

The International Women’s Day website has more information on the events that have taken place throughout the UK to raise awareness for women from a diverse set of cultural and geographical backgrounds.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly named Cari Mitchell of the English Collective of Prostitutes as Carrie.

You can click here to sign the petition to the Government to Make All Women Safe. Visit the Crossroads Women website for more information on their work.

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About the Author

Adam Bloodworth

Freelance News Editor
Adam Bloodworth is a freelance journalist. His bylines can be found at iNews, Metro.co.uk, and PinkNews View all posts by Adam Bloodworth.
International Women’s Day March: ‘Brexit Takes Away From The Crisis Facing Women’
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