We are people who want to do something about gender inequality. We are passionate about addressing the inequality and injustice women still experience. We believe that it is important to challenge gender stereotypes, especially those that foster inequality. We think that transforming dominant concepts of femininity and masculinity can help everyone explore our own potential more fully and value each other as people. We are conscious that ‘feminism’ is important to a wide range of people and is experienced and expressed in different ways. Therefore we believe in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.
Some of the issues we care about are:
- All forms of violence against women including domestic violence and abuse, rape and sexual violence, FGM and honour killings.
- The representation of women in public life, including politics and the arts.
- Sexual harassment.
- The gender pay gap.
- Developing a more gender equal system of parental leave.
- The intersection of sexism and ageism.
- Reproductive rights and sexual health.
- Sexual exploitation of women and girls in the sex industry.
- Trafficking of women and girls.
- The representation of women and women’s issues in the media.
- Violent and misogynist pornography.
- The mainstreaming of pornography and sexual objectification.
- Equal rights for LGBT people.
- Gender sensitive education for young people.
- The simultaneous inequalities experienced by disabled women.
- Reclaiming the concept of ‘feminism’ as a positive movement for social change.
The specific goals of Belfast Feminist Network will be shaped by all of us as we continue to meet together and respond to the issues we feel require action. As we seek to address the issues we care about, we hope to both create space for discussion and organise activism.
We have come together in order to:
- Lobby to influence policy and legislation.
- Organise and take part in protest and other forms of direct action.
- Provide information on feminist issues.
- Communicate feminist perspectives to the media.
- Devise creative public awareness campaigns.
- Work in partnership with other groups and networks.
- Engage with local companies and advertisers.
- Contribute to building a strong feminist community in Belfast.
- Develop workshops and training.
- Create feminist written material by contributing to blogs, published articles, letters to editors etc.
- Push for open debate on reproductive rights and the extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. Support the protection of family planning and sexual health services.
- Encouraging awareness of the role men can play in the movement for social, economic and sexual justice for women.
- Scrutinise and challenge cultural ideals of masculinities and femininities, as they are limiting and uncreative, and encourage gendered freedom of expression, both in terms of our exteriors and interiors.
- Tackle sexism, wherever we encounter it.
- Celebrate the contribution of women to society and milestones in our pursuit of equality.
Process and structure:
We will organise in the most fully participative and democratic way possible, avoiding hierarchies and valuing the contributions of every member equally. While the internet is vital to disseminating information and organising activism, most decision making will take place in face to face meetings.