Future Ireland / Does motherhood unite or divide us?

Most mothers have more pressing things to think about than constitutional arrangements. While there are some differences in the lived experiences of mothers in the UK and Ireland, they are small. In fact, our struggles are pretty much the same across national borders. Beyond the obvious, that all mothers want the best for their children (and often disagree on what that is and how to achieve it), we are united in our systematic disadvantage by the states in which we …

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Processions Belfast – Pro-Choice Groups Bring Political Energy to a Commemorative Art Project

As the participants for the Belfast event of the UK-wide art project Processions gathered at Titanic Slipway yesterday, it was clear that something exciting was happening. Thousands of women were mingling, hugging, photographing each other’s banners, even dancing a little in an atmosphere of celebration and fun. Processions is a living sculpture artwork, that celebrated one hundred years of votes for women. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave the first British women the right to vote and …

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The Criminal Justice System and Lessons from the Belfast Rape Trial

The issues around the recent Belfast rape case have been well rehearsed; the unavoidable media saturation kept it well on the agenda of too many workplace coffee breaks and social media rants. This article will not rehash those conversations. Its purpose is to explore the challenge made to the criminal justice system by the activists who organised the rallies in its aftermath. The rally outside the court on the day after the judgement saw around 800 people attend in a …

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BBC Pay ” If believing men and women should be treated equally is what feminism is about then count me in”

Many stories have been doing the rounds today about BBC Pay but one that caught attention has been the pay gap between men and women presenters/journalists in the organisation. Here are the stats very kindly displayed on the BBC Talkback Twitter account. Two thirds of the top 96 earners at the BBC are men. Does more need to be done to promote gender equality at the BBC? #BBCpaypic.twitter.com/TMgwVo3I3z — BBC Talkback (@BBCTalkback) July 19, 2017   I could go on …

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Belfast City Council sexism row/anti-street harassment

This week is anti-street harassment week, a week of action by activists worldwide to draw attention to the problem of street harassment (1). Notice I don’t use the word ”cat-calling”. Too cutesy and toothless, it is seen as mildly naughty but basically harmless, a bit of a laugh. A bit like a Councillor commenting on the pleasure he derives from the sight of the Council’s CEO cycling about the city she basically manages. All in good fun, right? Certainly that …

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Men Bleed Too- the Incoherent Outrage of Men’s Rights Activists

MENS RIGHTS: There has been a recent upsurge in the number of disgruntled men taking to social media to loudly proclaim that they too suffer. They too suffer domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, and a range of other injustices. They are determined to let the world (for that, read women) know that they suffer, and that they demand change.

Feminism, Quotas and Why Men Need to Man Up

Whining. It’s something that bugs me a lot. People who find all manner of excuses for why they are not getting what they want. We live in an age where if you even have a robust conversation with someone they immediately accuse you of being threatening or intimidating. I remember when there was a lot of debate about men getting in touch with their feelings. I remember people praising Paul Gascoigne for crying after England lost in Italia ’90. Now, …

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Belfast Feminist Network: A reply to WriteNoise

One of our contributors Write Noise wrote a post titled Feminism versus Bernadette Smyth three days ago. Responding the Belfast Feminist Network Committee have asked for an opportunity to respond to some of comments made in this post So feminism has been subjected to trial by Slugger courtesy of WriteNoise with the Belfast Feminist Network used as a focal point for debate. We at BFN have decided to respond by issuing an open invitation to all and sundry to join …

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Feminism versus Bernadette Smyth?

What does it mean to be a feminist? Not easy to define, by any means. How about a feminist in NI today? Even more complex. The women’s movement in Northern Ireland has hit some pretty difficult stumbling blocks over the last four or five decades. The divergence on the treatment of female republican prisoners and their subsequent protests in Armagh Gaol was one such stumbling block in the 1970s / 1980s. The awarding of a Nobel Prize to two NI women in 1976 was, on the other …

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