SHEFFIELD’S FEMINIST MANIFESTO

On Saturday 25th April 2015, LaDIYfest Sheffield and the Sheffield Festival of Debate held an open meeting at which members of the public discussed what they would like to see a feminist government achieve. This list below contains the ideas which were agreed on by members of the Sheffield public on that day.

It is the hope of LaDIYfest Sheffield that the Sheffield candidates for the election on 7th May will take note of these suggestions, and that this manifesto will inspire further discussion and action in the local area and beyond.

In particular, LaDIYfest Sheffield hope to organise a feminist multi-disciplinary arts and performance festival, where artists from all backgrounds can show work which directly responds to the manifesto and election. A date has yet to be set – more information on this soon! Please get in touch if you are an artist or performer who might like to show work inspired by our feminist manifesto: ladiyfestsheff@gmail.com

SHEFFIELD’S FEMINIST MANIFESTO

General Principles

  • Basic human rights for all
  • Support for the most deprived and disadvantaged in society, particularly women and those oppressed by gender
  • A complete overhaul of political structures
  • Universal basic income as a principle

Miscellaneous

  • Funding for representation of women in the media
  • No human being should ever be left without the means to survive
  • No faith-based discrimination

Work

  • Employer-employee agreement to be inclusive of all genders
  • Equal pay laws to be more rigorously enforced
  • Identification of unfair pay practices, and subsequent back-pay for women who have been under-paid throughout their careers due to the ‘wage gap’ between men and women
  • Job creation for disabled people, and the return and expansion of Remploy’s work schemes and factories
  • End enforced zero hours contracts, and more power regarding shift patterns to employees
  • End self-employed status where mandated by employers, putting employees at a disadvantage, and without access to basic employment rights
  • Raise status of carers in society, including better welfare provisions/universal income, and the recognition that carers are workers and provide an important and valuable function in society
  • A living wage for all as a bare minimum
  • A strong campaign against workplace sexual and gender based harassment and discrimination
  • A strong campaign against workplace disability and mental health based harassment and discrimination
  • Access to flexible working for all (particularly to enable childcare and for carers)
  • Free childcare for unemployed people, and affordable childcare for workers, including the reintroduction of workplace crèches and nursery vouchers
  • 50/50 parental leave allowance between two parents/carers, regardless of gender

Sex/Body/Relationship

  • PSHE lessons to include education around consent, domestic abuse, healthy relationships and respect
  • Education around menstruation to be related to need and to promote a full range of options including non-disposables, and private company promotion to be removed from the content
  • Accurate and inclusive sex education, addressing non-heterosexual relationships and asexuality, and discussion of consent and sexual assault and rape
  • Code of conduct for advertising
  • Funding and scope for women in the media (film and television directors, etc.) to challenge the narrative of women as stereotypical tropes, e.g. as ‘victim’, ‘homewrecker’, ‘love interest’ etc.

Public places, transport and facilities

  • Improved promotion of the harassment hotline service in public spaces, schools and on transport
  • Access to gender-neutral toilets in all public spaces, whether in place of or alongside existing gendered facilities. Toilets could be marked ‘with urinals’ and ‘with sanitary bins’, rather than by gender
  • All libraries in Sheffield to be publicly funded through taxation, and library staff to be reinstated on permanent contracts
  • Affordable public transport, regulated by transport workers and passengers and funded by taxes, not subject to oil prices or travel companies desire for profit
  • Conductors on all trains and buses, staff at all stations – no cuts to transport staff
  • Access for disabled people on all public transport
  • All transport to be re-nationalised and under public control

Politics

  • MPs to have a broad and relevant experience prior to political career, not restricted by age, but to ensure they better understand the interests of those they seek to represent
  • A quota-based system for MPs; all-women/non-cisgender-male shortlists in candidate selection
  • Representation of all genders/sexualities/minorities in governmental, parliamentary organisations and the civil service
  • Self-organisation [hard to mandate in a manifesto for MP to act on?] What about this:
  • Recognition that current political structures are incapable of representing the needs of the oppressed, and whilst that is the case, women and oppressed minorities will organise outside of the formal political sphere
  • Education in schools about the political system, so that people are informed from childhood
  • Return of the Ministry for Women

Justice, Crime and Violence

  • No more cuts to women’s refuges, which are to be family and LGBT-friendly
  • More training for the police in gendered, domestic and sexual abuse, and more powers to protect survivors and their families in the immediate circumstance of danger
  • More funding for legal aid in all areas
  • Work with men to prevent violence and abuse against women (including domestic violence) starting from childhood and through publicity campaigns
  • Improved statutory provision for  with children affected by gender-based crime and violence
  • Educating GPs about rape and recognising and acting on signs of abuse
  • Publicise rape statistics and improve public awareness and understanding of rape and blame
  • Training for people who work with young people, to recognise signs of sexual exploitation

Immigration

  • Protection for female asylum seekers who have been victims of violence, and access to services for all women who reside in the UK, regardless of immigration status
  • End destitution for all asylum seekers
  • End arbitrary quotas which result in people’s cases being shelved or refused
  • Return and increase statutory funding to immigrant advice bureaus such as the Northern Refugee Centre
  • End racial profiling
  • No more detention upon entry to the country, which contributes to a narrative of immigration as a crime
  • Recognition of leave to remain on the basis of LGBT status (not currently recognised by UNHCR)

Health and Social Care

  • Improved Sex and gender education for all NHS workers, particularly around trans people and gender transition, LGB sexualities, asexuality, and non-binary genders
  • Free at the point of need – a properly publically funded National Health Service with ample provision for all
  • Time spent in the outdoors, and with nature provided as part of health care
  • Protect older and disabled people
  • Massively improved funding for mental health, especially for young people, access to a wide range of therapies and alternatives from low to high levels of need
  • Recognition that mental health issues can be exacerbated by broader issues in society (e.g. sexism, poverty) and education, empowerment and advocacy as part of the recovery process

Environment

  • Week-long nature breaks as part of the curriculum to help young peoples’ understanding of the environment.
  • Prioritise animal rights, not just their welfare
  • Recognition that on an international scale, women and children are affected disproportionately by climate change

Education and Childcare

  • Promote confidence and empowerment for women and marginalised genders as part of the curriculum for all genders, and raise awareness in schools as to why men are more dominant in society
  • Equal access to free, fair, and funded education and training throughout life
  • Non-gendered advertising for toys, clothes, and children’s consumer products
  • End the educational reinforcement of patriarchal stereotypes, for example in subject choice and engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Change the culture of education to include awareness about the language we use, and to encourage children to take ownership of the words they choose to represent themselves and their world
  • Reinstatement of Surestart and early years centres in Sheffield
  • Content of education to include a broad range of histories and narratives, not simply those of the dominant class, gender, race and ideologies.

Welfare – all subject to overall aim of Universal Basic Income

  • Childcare for people on work placements and free nursery places to be extended to all children under school age
  • Funding to support living wage for smaller employers
  • Return of Income Support for single parents for children to at least pre-2012 levels

Our thanks to everyone who attended the event on 25th April, and to all who made it possible.  If you are interested in performing at the LaDIYfest Sheffield arts event inspired by this manifesto, organising discussions around it, or joining LaDIYfest Sheffield, you are very welcome to join our Facebook group or to email us at: ladiyfestsheff@gmail.com

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One Response to SHEFFIELD’S FEMINIST MANIFESTO

  1. adriands3 says:

    Reblogged this on adriands3's Blog and commented:
    Important and admirable language

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