My research is on the Reclaim The Night (RTN) marches against rape and male violence. RTN is a global tradition in the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) and began in Britain in the 1970s. I am interested in the origins of this form of activism and the part it has played in the wider UK WLM. In 2004 the marches were rejuvenated by the London Feminist Network (LFN) after a period of inactivity, and now happen across the country. I shall consider what this means for the current WLM, how RTN differs today and the motivations/aspirations of the activists involved, many of whom are young women - countering a concern over youth disengagement from politics and the ‘activism gap’ between men and women. Interviewing both ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ activists, I will also look at the relationship with state policy on VAW, and whether women involved in the movement are more than just ‘reactivists’ against what they see as failing systems and policies; to what extent have they actively shaped both politics and society towards a more Feminist understanding of sexual violence? This research will be ‘autho-ethnographic’ as I have played a key role in the movement, being the founder of LFN.
Feminism and the UK women’s movement, particularly Radical Feminism and women’s political resistance to male violence.
Women’s involvement in political activism, general politics and their relationship with, and challenge to, state systems and policies historically and currently in the UK.
I have been active in the women’s movement since leaving home as a teenager to live at a women’s peace camp. From this political grounding I became more involved in Feminist activism against male violence against women. I returned to education to gain a degree in Women’s Studies and Masters in Gender Studies. My professional background is in youth and advice work, most recently managing domestic violence prevention education programmes in schools for an LEA and delivering Safeguarding training on domestic violence awareness. My spare time is mainly taken up with Feminist activism and I speak and write regularly on issues of women’s rights, in particular violence against women, including prostitution. I am appalled at the backlash against Feminism and how this denies women the empowering and foundational experience of women’s political direct action. I see my work in setting up networks and events as a contribution towards remedying this!
More information on Reclaim The Night
More information on the London Feminist Network
More information on recent activism, including speeches and articles
Through both my activism and professional experience I take part in media work and have appeared on numerous live and pre-recorded television and radio covering topics on women’s rights, such as national and local BBC News, Sky News, Radio 5 Live, Radio 4’s ‘Moral Maze’ and ‘Today’ programmes, as well as in print media ‘The Guardian’, ‘Independent’ etc. I have also spoken at many conferences, for example the Free Word Ruskin Anniversary Conference (2010), Andrea Dworkin Memorial Conference (Oxford University, 2006), NIA Project Young Women and Sexual Violence Conference for the Young People’s Sector (2007). I am a registered trainer for a local Safeguarding Board in London and still do some training for professionals on domestic abuse awareness and child protection on a consultancy basis. In 2010 I was pleased to join the Board of Directors for the End Violence Against Women Coalition EVAW.
In 2006 I featured in ‘The Guardian’ list of 15 world changing British women!
In 2010 I featured in a BBC4 documentary series called ‘Women’ in an episode titled ‘Activists’ which followed the work of the London Feminist Network.
In November 2010 I was the individual winner of the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize for work raising awareness against violence against women and children.