RIGHTS OF WOMEN STATEMENT 7 June 2013
On Friday 7 June 2013, a group of radical feminist activists went into the heart of London to reclaim our right to meet as females. On the eve of the first openly held women’s liberation conference in decades, women gathered in the busiest railway station in the UK.
We were there to celebrate our triumph at meeting together in a large women-only space – despite all the obstacles thrown in our way before we could get there. They included: wrongly asserting that females meeting together, without men, is unlawful; falsely stating in the social media that our politics is violent and hateful; accusing our speakers of “hate speech” and calling for them to be “no platformed” simply for critiquing gender; naming truths about male violence; intimidating venues into cancelling our conference and anonymously threatening our organisers and attendees with violence and rape.
We circled a statue called “The Meeting Place” a symbol of heterosexual normality. The 9 metre high statue represents the acceptable face of patriarchy – men and women publicly embracing and united. We gathered at that statue to say, publicly and loudly, that females meeting together, embracing and united, is a basic right. And yet it is so threatening to patriarchy, that, in 2013, 100 years after the violent struggle for the vote, we are continuously censored, silenced, intimidated, when we say we’ll be meeting.
We want to name our truths as females socialised in a world where women are oppressed, tortured, killed, raped, sexually assaulted, prostituted and exploited as a social norm. Men do not want us to name these truths. They tell us, if we do so at all, we must discuss male violence “underground”, in secrecy and in fear. We will not allow men to tell us we can’t be together without them. We will not allow men to dictate the boundaries of our movement. It is our basic right to decide for ourselves and we will claim it.
On Friday 7 June, at St Pancras, opposite the venue for the 2013 women’s liberation conference, and round the corner to where Emily Davison was commemorated for dedicating her life to women, almost 100 years to the day, we read this rights of women statement:
First woman: Today, in the 21st century, in 2013, 100 years after Emily Davison died fighting for the vote, women’s rights to politically organise are under attack. There are moments in history when women have to fight for our basic rights. Today is one of those moments. Women now, and in the past, fight for the right to be educated and take part in democracy. Today, we are fighting for our right to meet as females. The law, calls of bigotry, lies and smears, are used by men to shut us down. Extremist male groups try to intimidate us and anyone who supports us. We are here, today, at St Pancras “meeting place” statue to say together, to say out loud, that we will not be silenced. We will claim our rights.
This is our rights of women statement which we, revolutionary feminists, read to you today, on the 7 June, 2013, St Pancras, London.
We have a right to meet together as women
We have a right to claim women-only space
We have a right to state that “gender” benefits men at the expense of women
We have a right to critique gender ( and to state that swapping or “playing with” gender does not change the fact that men have power and control within society)
We have a lawful right to meet under the Human Rights Act and under the equality act – and even if we didn’t, we’d do it anyway
We oppose the use of existing laws to censor us and restrict our freedom of assembly and our freedom to politically organise.
As a class of oppressed people, we have a right to politically organise to fight for the freedom of females, without fear of harassment and intimidation.
We have a right to openly present our politics, clearly and without compromise,
We have a right to correct distortions, misinterpretations and lies about our politics because these are attempts to silence us
We will not be silenced
We are angry women and, today, we claim our women-only space by surrounding the “meeting place“, the spot where historically thousands of people walk these platforms.
We will continue to claim our women-only ground, from this day on, until women can meet safely and without fear.
We unite with all women everywhere, throughout history, and internationally, who have fought for the basic right to meet to talk about our freedoms and rights.
We will fight for our sisters of today and our sisters of the future, until patriarchy is destroyed.
–Ruby Fruit, Lakha Mahila, Jackie, Lysandra, and all the sisters present at the action.
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