Hey loves, happy Women’s History Month! This March, I hope we each take a little extra time to appreciate our feminist movement; the writers, thinkers and activists who’ve shaped the landscape from which we now work, as well as reflect on whose voices are routinely erased from our collective history. I hope we push ourselves, as we should each day, to centre the voices of those most marginalised in our movement and uplift organisations working thanklessly to support them. Through this, I hope we strengthen the activist networks in our communities – reading, learning, organising, celebrating and dancing together.
Here’s three things that the NUS Women’s Campaign have been working on that we hope can help with all of that.
#WHM Near You!
We’ve collated a big list of events being held by women’s officers and feminist activists at students’ unions across the country over the course of March. From Sheffield to Warwick, Reading to Huddersfield – #WHM is being celebrated at unions everywhere. If your union’s not on the list, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things going on! Make sure you check out what’s happening on your campus, and take inspiration from these events to run some of your own.
Reading Lists x Reading Groups x Verso Books!
Two years ago, the NUS Women’s Campaign released a list of recommended reading for women’s officers, feminist societies and all those interested in reading more around a range of feminist themes. This year we expand that resource further, into a set of 17 reading lists comprised of texts on topics from reproductive justice, to the prison-industrial complex, to sex work, disability and gender, food and fatness, indigenous feminism and more! You can access this updated resource here.
Updating this reading list also marks the launch of NUS Women’s Campaign Reading Group – a new endeavour, through which we aim to establish a network of women’s campaigns, feminist societies and other groups of women across the country that come together monthly to read and analyse feminist texts.
When we first came up with the idea of having a reading group, we were concerned by the geographical limits such an idea would have — obviously, we can’t get every single women’s officer into the same room each month, so we came up with the solution that the NUS WomCam Committee would collaborate to provide a syllabus of texts divided into broad feminist themes. Each month, the reading group will have a theme, and anyone who wants to facilitate a reading group on their campus or in their city will be able to choose texts from the syllabus related to the theme.
NUS WomCam Committee will also run a reading group based in London, for which we will choose the readings. People are welcome to follow along with what we’ve decided to read, or choose their own! After our London reading groups, we’ll aim to write up some of the key points discussed and circulate these online so that those who aren’t able to be in the space can still keep up with what was said at the group. Other groups can do this too, and if there are enough we hope to produce a zine or blog post series of the thoughts and critiques that people have of the texts.
We hope that facilitators of the reading groups will be able to identify what stage of feminist knowledge members of their group have reached, and tailor the texts they choose accordingly, so that everybody is able to grow and develop at their own pace.
One of the principal functions of the Women’s Campaign is providing a political education for women students, and bridging the gap between theory and practice. Reading groups are one of the best ways for us to expose ourselves to theory, to discuss it amongst like-minded people, to allow it to educate us, and to educate one and other. We hope that these reading groups will be a space for growth and learning, and a way for people to come together and share their thoughts on feminist writings.
And hey, that’s not all! Through March 2019 we’re very excited to announce a collaboration between the NUS Women’s Campaign and Verso Books, whereby you can access a 40-50% discount on select books from our reading lists that are published by Verso. To access the discount, follow this exclusive link.
NUS WomCam x Imkaan Fundraiser
Finally, we are extremely excited to announce that the NUS Women’s Campaign will host an evening of music, poetry, readings, and conversation on Friday March 15th at SOAS Students’ Union, in support of Imkaan.
Imkaan is a UK-based, Black feminist organisation. They are the only national second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls.
They hold nearly two decades of experience of working around issues such as domestic violence, forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence, and work at local, national and international level, to improve policy and practice responses to violence against Black and minoritised women and girls. You can find out more about their incredible work here.
Tickets are now available on a sliding scale of donations, and you can purchase them here! We’ll be announcing our line-up of brilliant poets and speakers over the coming weeks so keep an eye out via our Facebook event page, and across our social media. We really hope to see you there!
Also, if you’re unable to attend but still wish to donate to Imkaan, there’s an ‘open donation’ option through our ticket link as well!
And that’s it! We hope you all have an incredible Women’s History Month 2019.
NUS National Women’s Officer