Million Women Rise: Please contact us by Saturday at the latest if you are interested in a group booking for the megabus down to London for MWR. The plan at the moment is the 6.50 bus down and the 4.30 bus back, which at the moment will cost about ¬£20. If you going down anyway let us know and we’ll arrange a place to meet as well.

Toy collection for Northern Refugee Centre: If you have any unwanted, but in good condition toys that you would like to donate please let us know by 22nd March. either email in or call Jude on 01142 660434. Ideally we are looking for toys for all ages, that are easy to keep clean and appropraite (ie no guns or anything violent), items such as jigsaws and puzzles are especially welcome!

We are currently investigating a couple of venues that might be more suitable in terms of disabled access, but, as usual, any suggestions are always welcome.

A reminder about Women in Black, 7th march, the War Memorial 1-2pm, wear black. The focus for this month will be on Africa. Jude will be telling us more about this event next week.

There is a protest on Friday (27th) at 3.45 against the proposed station barriers, starting at the city hall moving down to the station. Details here.

Good news… WH Smith have apparently stopped selling Playboy stuff! At the moment it’s all on sale, and we hear that they won’t be replacing the stock. However, Superdrug and Argos are still selling it so we will still be campaigning against it! 28th March will be a day of action on this. (Planning for this will be 17th March, and both the meeting and the day of action are open to everybody.)

Sexism in Universities. We are looking for speakers, if you are interested or know of someone who may be, let us know. It looks likely this event will be either 13th or 20th of May, we should be able to confirm this next week.


Jude talked to us about Women In Black which is a international network of women campaigning for peace.
Women In Black Sheffield has just restarted, and will meet on the 1st Saturday of every month at the War Memorial by the city hall between 1-2pm and obviously wearing black. A detailed history of Women In Black can be found at the linked site and it is a fascinating story to see how what started as a very small action in Israel in 1988 spread across the world.
The next Sheffield WIB will be 4th April and then the first Saturday of every month, the themes will always be related to stopping violence of all forms against women.

Just a quick reminder that we are collecting toys for the Northern Refugee Centre this month! We need the toys by 22nd march and then we’ll send them off. Anything clean, safe and appropraite more then welcome, board games and puzzles are especially good as well as anything that crosses a broad age range. Either bring the toys to a meeting or email in about collection.

News from the meeting:

  • We are planning a big event about sexism within universities. We don’t have a date yet, but it’ll either be the end of March or the beginning of May. The theme of the event will be “Sex Equality Issues in Universities”. More details as and when we have them.
  • We’re having another crack at looking into moving the meetings. We need somewhere with a private room that we can book long term, that’s accessible by all, that is central and that is either free or really, really cheap. We simply do not have the kind of money that most venues charge, which does limit our options, but we are doing our best to find somewhere.
  • We are thinking of organising a big event in September along the lines of an introduction to feminism aimed at the new students arriving at University (and anyone else who interested of course), more details when we decided about this!
  • Hiring a coach to London for Million Women Rise is looking increasingly unlikely as it is prohibitively expensive. However, we will still be travelling down ourselves on public transport, and anybody wishing to travel with us is more than welcome.

Since the refreshers’ fair was the next day, the rest of the meeting was concerned with organising for that.

This meeting was concerned with the future structure of the group. The phrase women-only has been used to refer to all self-defined women. Trans women are, as they have always been, welcome to attend.

We discussed  in particular the issue of providing women-only space. After a lengthy discussion, where we looked at the aims of the group and several different options for the group, including staying as we were (open to all), being women-only, alternating between women-only and open to all, we have decided that from now on Sheffield Fems will be primarily a women-only group, with one mixed (open to all) event around once a month. The open to all event will be either a social meeting, a discussion, a campaign or some other event, and may not always be on a Tuesday. It will be decided on an event by event basis, after consultation with members at meetings.

We talked extensively about the pros and cons of all the suggestions made and tried to find the most inclusive solution that meets the needs of as many as possible, so for example staying as we were is putting off some people who are looking for a women-only group. However, a solely women-only group also excludes a number of men who are very interested in participating in campaigns and events. We felt that becoming a primarily women-only group, with specific times for the inclusion and participation of men offers the best solution to these problems.

We are also hoping that as a result of this change a ‘Friends of Fems’ group could be developed for men and anyone else who want to take a more active role in feminism and feminist activity and support our work, while working on projects of their own. At present this is just an idea, but hopefully it will be developed further in the coming weeks, in conjunction with our meetings that are open to all. If anyone would like more information about this, send us and email and we’ll let you know what’s going on.

News from the meeting:

  • With Million Women Rise on March 7th, we’re looking into sorting out transport to get down to London. Anybody who wants to come along, please let us know (drop us a line at the usual address) so that we have accurate numbers.
  • Also on March 7th, and tipped to become a weekly event each Saturday from 1-3PM, WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) are starting ‘Women in Black’ at the War Memorial (in front of John Lewis in Sheffield City Centre). As the title suggests, women will be dressed in black, representing the women that die in wars.

The discussion this week was on the subject of Women and Climate Change, kindly hosted by Ellen, the mother of a regular Fems member. A big thank you to her for travelling from Leeds to talk to us, and for giving us such a wealth of information. For example, an impact of global warming which we had not even known existed was that <!– @page { margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –> “in the Asian Pacific region the loss of coral reef through global warming is causing the destruction of marine ecosystems which many women depend on for their incomes.”

Would you like to help Rape Crisis launch a national anti-rape campaign?
Think about past public education campaigns like drink-driving or
non-smoking – it really has the potential to make a difference, to change
attitudes towards survivors and even those held by potential perpetrators.
We can do it – but we need your help! is running a competition until March where the charity who
raises the most amount of money through using their search engine can win a national advertising campaign to be seen on over 1,500 billboards and bus shelters. Help us win it!

Log onto everyclick and register as a supporter for Rape Crisis
(England and Wales). Then set everyclick as your homepage or default search engine and every time you look for anything on the internet you take us one step closer to changing attitudes towards rape.

Registering only takes 5 minutes, the competition only runs for 3 months,
but winning it could change the world. And you could be part of that change.

Please circulate this to everyone you think may be interested. Participants are not limited to the UK. Together, we can do this.

News from the meeting:

  • We would like the stop violence against women action in the city centre to be an annual thing and will hopefully link up with Sheffield Domestic Abuse Forum next year.
  • The Christmas Social will be Dec 12th at Affinity on Campo Lane, please let us know if you can make it!
  • We are keeping a eye out for the finalised date of the Million Women Rise, which will be some time around the 8th March, so that we can arrange to go.
  • On 3rd Feb we will be having a discussion about women only space and the meetings.
  • We are looking for a new charity for the coming year, if you have any ideas, please let us know.

We had a lengthy discussion about trans issues and feminism, which didn’t really get minuted, but was very interesting.