We Can't Wait for the (Feminista) Weekend to Begin

Article excerpt


Feminism is often described in waves. If that's the case, then right now feminist campaigners are surfing the crest of a big one. The news this past year has been dominated by the achievements of activists such as Caroline Criado-Perez, who successfully persuaded the Bank of England to put a female face on 10 notes; Lucy-Anne Holmes, whose No More Page 3 petition has more than 114,000 signatures and even provoked a response from David Cameron; and Laura Bates, whose Everyday Sexism campaign has highlighted the extent of casual misogyny.

It's out of this atmosphere of grass-roots and often digital- based activism that the UK Feminista Summer School has emerged. Now in its third year, the event, a weekend of workshops, hands-on training and debate featuring some of the biggest names in contemporary feminism, has grown from fewer than 300 to more than 500 attendees. And if you were in any doubt of the popularity of such an occasion, it sold out more than a month ago. If new campaigns of the profile we've seen are going to emerge from anywhere, then it's here.

"It's an incredibly exciting time for feminist activism," says Sophie Bennett, the acting director of UK Feminista. "People are organising in their local schools, communities and workplaces. Feminism is back in the headlines and back on the streets for good. It's clear that change won't be brought about by a small group of policymakers behind closed doors. Instead it takes ordinary people to stand up and demand change."

One of the people volunteering at the event is 24-year-old Marianne Kasperska-Zegar, an Open University student from Birmingham. …