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FiLiA is a UK-based feminist charity, platforming and connecting women through our annual conference, blog posts, and podcasts. Listen to women sharing stories, wisdom, experience, feminism, sisterhood and solidarity. Find us at: www.filia.org.uk
124 Episodes
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Dr Olivia Smith is calling for a national system of legal advocacy, after publishing a report that aims to improve sexual offence victims’ experiences of the criminal justice system. In this episode of the FiLiA podcast, Dr Smith, a lecturer in criminology & social policy at Loughborough University talks to FiLiA volunteer Gemma Aitchison about her campaign for independent legal representation for survivors of all serious sexual offences in England and Wales so that all victims of rape and sexual offences are given free access to a lawyer who can advise and represent them at important points in the criminal justice process.
Grizelda Grootboom from South Africa survived apartheid, homelessness and decades of sexual abuse. Now a famous author and survivor activist, Grizelda is interviewed by Luba Fein about her escape from a life of prostitution.
Susan Hawthorne discusses her new book Vortex: The Crisis of Patriarchy which draws on her decades of experience and radical feminist knowledge to take on a huge task. Vortex is a wide-ranging analysis of the devastation patriarchy wreaks, including on women, lesbians, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, refugees and landless people, nature and the planet itself.In this podcast, Susan explains the key ideas in Vortex, the running theme in the book of the myth of Cassandra and Trojan horses, how growing up in Australia has affected her work and why she asks readers whether we care about the safety of lesbians. (And if that isn’t enough, Susan weaves in stories from her life, reads two of her poems and suggests how women might reverse the patriarchal crises.)
Illuminating her inner journey growing up mixed-race in Britain, Esua Jane Goldsmith's unique memoir exposes the isolation and ambiguities that often come with being ‘an only’.Raised in 1950s South London and Norfolk with a white, working-class family, Esua’s education in racial politics was immediate and personal. From Britain and Scandinavia to Italy and Tanzania, she tackled inequality wherever she saw it, establishing an inspiring legacy in the Women’s lib and Black Power movements.Plagued by questions of her heritage and the inability to locate all pieces of herself, she embarks on a journey to Ghana to find the father who may have the answers.A tale of love, comradeship, and identity crises, Esua’s rise to the first Black woman president of Leicester University Students’ Union and Queen Mother of her village, is inspiring, honest, and full of heart.
Dr Heather Brunskell-Evans is a feminist, academic, social theorist and philosopher. On this episode of the podcast, she discusses her latest book, Transgender Body Politics published by Spinifex Press. Transgender Body Politics analyses the political movement of transactivism in a broader sense, explaining the damage this has done to women. Heather outlines the tragic absurdity of having to argue that lesbians don’t have penises, that “women” is a far preferable word than “menstruators" and feminists not being allowed to speak respectfully about this issue with women who disagree. Her book compellingly makes the case that what she calls a "transgender empire" is a form of patriarchy women must stand shoulder-to-shoulder against. Heather co-edited two previous books on the subject of the transgendering of children, with Professor Michele Moore. Hear Heather talking about this earlier work here. Find out more about Transgender Body Politics and how to order the book here, or check out this book review. Read more about Heather on her website and follow her on Twitter.
Luba Fein interviews Jewell Baraka, a writer, an activist, and a survivor who was trafficked into prostitution and the pornography industry from age 11-17, in Portland, Oregon, USA. Now, Jewell uses her voice, alongside other survivors and activists to shine a light on the human rights violations in the sex industry.
Hibo Wardere introduces her memoir 'Cut', detailing her life in Somalia and the UK and sheds light on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, that's still being carried out in the 21st century.
In this episode, Pragna Patel reflects on her work with Southall Black Sisters, which was established in 1979 to meet the needs of Black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women, and aims "to highlight and challenge all forms gender-related violence against women." Pragna joins FiLiA volunteer Sadia Hameed in a conversation that spans her earlier experiences to the present day, including: getting involved with the feminist, anti-racist and anti-fundamentalist struggles (and why they are interlinked), the impact of COVID-19 on black and minority women, and Southall Black Sisters' vital campaign to include migrant women in the Domestic Abuse Bill.
Gemma Aitchison is a director at the YES Matters UK CIC which is also part of the End Violence Against Women coalition. In this episode of the FiLiA Podcast, Gemma discusses the recent findings of a research report carried out by Yes Matters, looking at sexual violence and sexual harassment.
Dr Laurel Foster, Reader in Cultural History at the University of Portsmouth, gives a fascinating insight into some of the stories she uncovered from interviewing Women activists in Portsmouth for the Women’s Activism in Portsmouth project.
Alexine Solis is a young woman from France who has been in prostitution between 19 and 21 years old. She became an abolitionist activist after participating in the March of Survivors in Germany, Belgium and Spain in 2019.
Stephanie Davies-Arai is “interested in all things to do with communication.” She designed her own course & accompanying book Communicating with Kids, and is an expert trainer in schools for both teachers and students. She is a feminist, a mother, and campaigner against cultural messages that promote harmful social ‘norms’. Stephanie established Transgender Trend, which describes itself as “a group of parents and professionals concerned about the current trend to diagnose ‘gender non-conforming’ children as transgender.” She speaks and writes extensively on the transgendering of children. Transgender Trend’s website is a treasure trove of information, it includes comprehensive guides for schools, created in conjunction with teachers, child protection professionals, and lawyers. Stephanie’s work was shortlisted for the John Maddox Prize in 2018, which “recognises the work of individuals who promote sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest, facing difficulty or hostility in doing so.” Recently, Transgender Trend intervened in the judicial review brought by Keira Bell and Mrs A against the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, questioning whether under-18s can give valid informed consent to puberty blockers and hormonal interventions for gender dysphoria.In this podcast, Stephanie Davies-Arai reflects on how her expertise in communication and combating gender stereotypes relates to her work in analysing the harms of gender identity teaching for young people. She explains how feminism informs what she does at Transgender Trend, an organisation she set up to question the mainstream narratives. Stephanie outlines the relationship between the "social transitioning" of children and adolescents in schools and the "affirmation model" of medical practice in gender clinics, and how girls may be more profoundly affected by these ideas. She covers recent developments in the UK such as the Kiera Bell case, in which Stephanie provided evidence about how our cultural context is inextricably linked with questions of "gender" and medical decision-making.Check out Transgender Trend’s website and how to donate to support their workFind out more about Stephanie hereFollow @Transgendertrd and @cwknews on Twitter
FiLiA speaks with Lina Al-Hathloul, the sister of Loujain Al-Hathloul, a women's rights campaigner from Saudi Arabia who has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia as punishment for her campaigning for women's rights. Loujain's campaigning work for women’s civil rights includes advocating for an end to the male guardianship system, for women’s right to drive, for women’s right to political representation and participation, and for the creation of a women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence. Lina has become one of the few family members able and willing to speak out on behalf of an incarcerated relative. She has become a tireless advocate for her sister Loujain and continues to bring to light the widespread mistreatment and torture of prisoners such as her sister at the hands of the Saudi government.
Simone Watson is a Survivor activist. She is the director of Nordic Model Australia Coalition and a former human rights delegate for Amnesty International. Simone entered prostitution in a legal brothel in Melbourne in her 20’s, she found the world of legalised prostitution to be anything but ‘safe’ and left.Find the Nordic Model Australia Coalition on their Website and Facebook
Speak Up for Women is a non-partisan organisation that exists to protect and advance the rights and interests of women and girls in New Zealand, in law, policy, and society, based on the shared material reality of being members of the female sex. They support respectful, evidence-based dialogue and freedom of speech. They support the rights of transgender people to live their lives free from violence and discrimination. Rights do not exist in isolation and a fair society balances the rights of all.As a feminist campaign, SUFW has been dismayed by the way in which women’s voices, both in New Zealand and overseas, have been silenced by slurs, smears and targeted harassment campaigns. It is not transphobic or bigoted to ask questions, to advocate for women and girls, or to draw attention to male violence. Where there is a conflict between transgender rights and women’s rights, SUFW believes it is critical that there is a need for respectful open discussion and that women’s concerns are listened to.Speak Up for Women includes teachers, academics, health professionals, care workers, activists, lawyers, corporates, retirees, and students. They are run entirely by volunteers and receive no public funds or funds from external organisations. They are not affiliated to any political party or religious organisation.Speak Up for Women Principles1. Women are adult human females; girls are human female children.2. Women and girls have the right to live free of violence, including sexual abuse or violence.3. Women and girls have the right to organise and gather in safe, sex-segregated spaces.4. Women and girls have a right to reproductive sovereignty.5. Women and girls have the right to live free from commercial sexual exploitation.6. Women and girls have the right to economic independence, pay equity, and living wages, including that which pertains to reproductive labour, child-raising, and domestic work.7. Lesbians are exclusively same-sex attracted females and have the right to assert their same-sex attraction without facing harassment.8. ‘Sex’ refers to the biological characteristics that distinguish males from females. Sex is immutable. ‘Gender’ refers to the stereotyped roles, behaviours and attributes that society at a given time considers appropriate for males and females.This episode features Ro Edge from Speak Up for Women. She is the New Zealand Spokewoman for Save Women Sports Australasia. Ro is a women’s rights advocate who comes from a sport loving family, so she has a special interest in ensuring girls and women retain their pathways to achieving sporting excellence. Ro’s daughter is currently studying under a university sporting scholarship in the USA. Her niece is focused on representing New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympic Games. She joins FiLiA Spokeswoman Raquel Rosario Sanchez in discussion.You can learn more about the work of Speak Up for Women on their website. And connect with them through social media on Twitter and Facebook.You can listen to Speak Up for Women’s own Podcast here.
Valérie Pelletier (aka Legal Tender) is a militant abolitionist radical feminist from Montréal, Quebec in Canada. She is a survivor of prostitution, now a public speaker, a conceptual artist. a vlogger, a singer (jazz, country etc.) and the happy mother of 4 cat children. She is also involved at CAFES (Collectif d'Aide aux Femmes Exploitées Sexuellement).Contact via emailPage as a militant artist (more English)Activist project page (more French)YouTube Channel
Afsana Lachaux is a policy specialist and an award-winning women’s rights campaigner on access to justice and violence against women and girls. This podcast interview highlights Afsana's legal struggle to obtain contact with her son Louis and the pitfalls of Sharia law in Dubai for women. Afsana writes about why a British court ordered her to pay her ex-husbands £94K legal bill here. She continues her battle as a mother to be reunited with her child, which so far has spanned eight years and three countries.You can support Afsana by donating to her crowdfunder.Find out more on Afsana’s website: afsanalachaux.comFollow Afsana on Twitter @afsanalachaux and Instagram
Fair Play for Women is a campaigning and consultancy group which raises awareness, provides evidence and analysis, and supports policy-makers to protect the rights of women and girls in the UK.Their aim is to facilitate the much-needed factual discussion about the need for sex-based policies for women and to provide policy makers with the guidance they need for evidence-based policy making that is fair for all. Fair Play for Women has earned a reputation, amongst the general public, policy makers, politicians and the media, for calm, rational, fact-checked, accurate information, statistics, and good-faith debate.Fair Play for Women Guiding Principles1) Biological sex exists, and in certain situations it is vitally important – objective truths are not bigoted or transphobic.2) Sexism exists, it is endemic, and women and girls face structural inequality, male physical and sexual violence, harassment, reproductive injustice, unequal pay and so on precisely because they are members of the female sex.3) Gender (or culturally determined roles, beliefs, and stereotypes) is neither natural nor innate but a socially constructed hierarchy borne of the dominant order that varies over time and between cultures; it is harmful to men and boys, but oppressive to women and girls. Sex and gender are not the same and must not be conflated.4) Women and girls have a right to terms that are necessarily exclusive so that they can accurately name themselves and the injustice they suffer; a right to organise as a sex to address this injustice; and a right, in a democracy, to laws (and discussion of those laws) that protect them as a sex from this injustice.5) Whilst we oppose all forms of bigotry and discrimination, trans rights do not exist in isolation and they must not come at the expense of another extremely vulnerable and disadvantaged group: women and girls.FiLiA Spokeswoman Raquel Rosario Sánchez spoke with Dr Nicola Williams, the Director of Fair Play for Women. Dr Williams is a research scientist specialising in human biology. She has held a number of senior scientific positions within the pharmaceutical industry. She is now dedicated to her full-time voluntary role as campaign director and public spokeswoman for Fair Play for Women.Dr Williams has an excellent working knowledge of the laws designed to protect women and the transgender community. As a professional scientist, she also offers a critical and informed view of current research necessary for evidence-based policy development.You can learn more about the work of Fair Play for Women on their website. And connect with them through social media on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.You can also support the vital work of Fair Play for Women by donating to their Crowdfunding page.
Cherry Smiley is a feminist campaigner, artist, and researcher from the Nlaka'pamux (Thompson) and Diné (Navajo) Nations. She has worked as an anti-violence worker in rape crisis centres and transition houses for battered women and their children, as the assistant coordinator for drop-in anti-violence groups for Indigenous girls, and as a project manager for a national native women’s organization.Cherry speaks locally, nationally and internationally on sexualized colonial male violence against Indigenous women and girls. She is also the founder of Women Studies Online, an educational platform which aims to recentre women in their academic field utilising consciousness-raising as a liberational tool.She is a co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry and was the recipient of a 2013 Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case and the 2014 winner of The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy. She is currently a PhD candidate at Concordia University where her research works to end sexualized male violence against Indigenous women and girls.Cherry Smiley spoke with FiLiA’s Spokeswoman, Raquel Rosario Sánchez, about her work as a campaigner for the liberation of Indigenous women and girls, and as a researcher within the Canadian academic system.You can read more about Women’s Studies Online on their website.And you can read Cherry Smiley’s work as a writer on Policy Options, Medium and Feminist Current.
Mary Stolinski is not only a survivor of the sex trade but also a radical feminist thinker. She analyzes her personal story in the light of feminist and Marxist theories, and explains how a liberal, capitalist and misogynist society sacrifices women to the sex trade. Mary refutes the prevailing liberal beliefs about the sex trade and gender ideology.
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