Other Organisations


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.

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Check me out! In a fit of organisational triumph, I’m posting a reminder before an event – go me!

To celebrate, this post will remain at the top of the page until I decide to take it down – most likely next Monday.

Million Women Rise is this Saturday, in London. More details at the MWR website. If you’re going, have fun. I will personally be in London that day, although it’s unlikely that I’ll be in the crowd, sadly. Consider me there in spirit.

If you’re not heading down to London, you have no excuse for not turning up to the vigil in Sheffield city centre, at the war memorial by the City Hall. Not even if you’re in another city entirely. I, of course, am exempt from this sweeping judgement, as I will at least be in one of the cities concerned. I hope to aquire the badge that says “tyrant” in the near future. Anyway, see here for more information.

That’s my organisational genius exhausted for now. Tomorrow evening, I shall do what I do every night: try to take over the world!!!

It seems that my last search terms post has produced more questions than answers. I’ve since had a couple of hits on the hysterectomy theme, as well as one about a bleeding vagina.

Before reading further, you may as well know this: that all of what I write next could be boiled down to one phrase – “go to see your doctor“.


So, to start with the stranger of the two search terms, let’s talk about bleeding vaginas. I wish I knew what the person who searched for that meant by it. Because either their vagina really was bleeding, or they may have seen blood and been unsure where it came from. And that gives a couple of options.

The vagina itself is not meant to bleed. However, blood does escape from the womb through the vagina every time a woman has a period. I’m linking to two articles from Scarleteen, one with a useful guide to the female body, and the other a guide to periods. They are written primarily with a young (teenage) audience in mind, but this in my opinion just makes them more accessible, and is in no way a bad thing.

Anyway. The “bleeding vagina” may have been a period. Or, alternatively, that person might have known for sure that they were not be meant to be bleeding at that particular time. I’m not a doctor and I don’t know all of the causes of bleeding at non-period times, so my advice would be to go and ask somebody who did do seven years of training!

If you’re in the UK, you may also want to try using the NHS Direct website, or indeed calling their 24-hour number: 0845 46 47



As for hysterectomies in Sheffield, the results I’ve got are less detailed than the ones I found for abortion. Interesting.

It’s worth saying, to begin with, that hysterectomies are not simple procedures. Basically, if you’ve got a womb and you remove it, that leaves space inside you. Which is filled, sort of, by your other internal organs shuffling around. This is not brilliant. This site has a pretty comprehensive list of the effects that hysterectomies can cause. Please, please talk to your doctor before trying to get a hysterectomy.

This is not to say that no woman should ever have one – that would be silly – but they are pretty bloody scary, and definitely not a procedure to be undertaken lightly. So be careful!

With that in mind, this is what I’ve found:

The NHS website that helped me out when I was doing the abortion research isn’t completely finished, and as yet doesn’t list all of the gynaecology services provided (which is the term that hysterectomies fall under). I’ve linked to it anyway, because it is a work in progress and may well go up in the near future.

Some private hospitals in Sheffield definitely do offer hysterectomies as a service. A search for “sheffield hospitals” generates a map of Sheffield, which will be more helpful in finding a hospital to suit you than I ever could be.


Again, this site is probably quite a good place to have a list of women-specific, Sheffield-specific information. Feel free to leave questions in comments, or indeed to contact us privately, and I’ll do my best to find out the answers.

Because I take an interest in why people are turning up here, I noticed that among the annoying search terms, there was also one for “abortions in Sheffield”.


Obviously, the Sheffield Fems do not perform abortions. However, as feminists, abortion is an issue that we identify with. Simply put, we believe that abortion is a choice that all women should have access to.

As such, there are a couple of things that are worth mentioning.


The most sensible place to go for Sheffield-specific advice or help is the Sheffield Contraception and Sexual Health Service. They offer “unplanned pregnancy advice” and say that it’s better if you make an appointment to see them, but if that isn’t helpful or convenient, there are also drop-in sessions Monday-Friday, from 8:30am – 11am and 12:30pm – 3pm.

To make an appointment, call  (0114) 2716816.. Their appointment times appear to vary depending on which of the three clinics you want to go to.


For anybody wishing to find out how to get an abortion in general, I reccomend visiting the Abortion Rights site. I’ve linked to the page that deals specifically with women who are pregnant, and offers advice on where to go. Specifically, it says this:

“If you are entitled to NHS care, your GP, family planning clinic or Brook Centre (for under 25s) can refer you for a free termination on the NHS. A consultation and the procedure will be carried out in a hospital or abortion clinic. You should ideally be offered a choice of different methods, depending on how long you have been pregnant.

It is usually easiest to get an NHS abortion before 12 weeks of pregnancy. The legal time limit for most abortions is 24 weeks.

If you are not entitled to NHS care, cannot tolerate the NHS waiting list or prefer to use private services, you can refer yourself to a private clinic. You will be charged from around £350.”

The same page also has links to other helpful, non-judgemental organisations.


Lastly, if you run this search, wanting to find an abortion, know that at least one of the sponsored links you will find will not help you. That link will take you to a website called Life Charity. I won’t link to it here, because it is not the kind of site I would wish to endorse. Besides, it’s a sponsored Google link; search for abortions and you’ll find it.

Life Charity seem, on face value, to be a very nice, pleasant kind of organisation. But for any organisation dealing with abortion to say that their “mission is to uphold the utmost respect for human life from fertilisation (conception) until natural death” sets alarm bells ringing.

Yes, they sound nice. But that little part of the sentence that says “life from fertilisation (conception)…” means that they don’t actually support women having abortions at all. If they believe that life begins at conception, then they also believe that abortion is murder.


Be very aware of any organisation with “life” in the title. I’m not saying that they’re all going to be bad, but I am saying that they are not likely to support you if you’re sure that an abortion is what you want. And if you’re not sure, they’ll do their best to get you to decide not to have one. That may or may not be appropriate. I can’t say, because it varies from woman to woman. But be aware that it happens.


This is the kind of information that the Sheffield Fems ought to be providing. If you can think of anything else that would be useful to see linked to, please contact us and let us know.



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.

News from the meeting:

We are on the look out for any campaign topics for the next few weeks as we’ve put the playboy one on hold until February. Let us know if you have any ideas!

We’ve been invited to have a stall at the Sheffield University Women’s Party on 16th November. We’re probably not actually going to have a stall, but we will be there with some flyers and hopefully getting a few more new members.

As it looks as though no one can make it to Reclaim the Night on the 22nd we’re thinking of planning some to do in Sheffield. Firm plans will hopefully be made at the next meeting.
In the last week in January we’ll be having a speaker come across from Leeds to talk to us about how environmental issues effect women.
Results of the Women in Sports discussion – or, food for thought!

  • Women may be more prone to sports injuries training is based around the male body and the physical differences between men and women are ignored
  • The culture of male sports and female sports begins at school- boys do rugby, football etc and girls do netball and dance
  • During the olympics there was much more positive coverage of women’s sports than normal and lots of women winning (are these connected?)
  • Apparently around 2% of sports coverage is of women’s sports!
  • Sports kits are much more sexualised for women- see volleyball in particular (although the Indian team was allowed to wear more decent kits for religious reasons)
  • Equal pay in sport is still an issue, since this was the first year that pay was equal at Wimbledon!

Good times!

We were fortunate to be able to talk to Jillian Creasy and Kathy Aston from the Sheffield Green Party (see their national site here) about the way the party works and what its policies are. Jillian is a councilor and Kathy a member of the local party.

As you might expect, from the name, the reputation or just a quick look around their websites, the Green Party is very much for women’s rights – and equality in general.
They have an equalities officer elected within the the national party, and women’s committees in the party include:

Women By Name – a strictly women-only group

Green Women – a group that allows men to participate in discussions, although they cannot vote on issues.

However, it is mostly men at the national conference, mostly men speaking and only one woman as an executive.
There is also an issue over the number of women participating at a local level. It was suggested that one of the reasons for this may be that women are more likely to be involved in active capaigning instead of the day-to-day business of the party, particularly as it is an electoral party and as such is contrained by the same rules as all political parties. A general impression of political parties being governed mainly by old, white, straight men may contribute to women staying away from this aspect of the party.
We also discussed how much of a role childcare might be playing in putting women off being more active, as the meetings of the local party are in the evening, meaning that some women may be constrained by the need for someone to look after their children. Evidently, this would also be a constraining factor for single-parenting men.

The city council currently has about 1/3 female members, but there are also many other unrepresented groups, because the average age is about 60. The council allowance is only around £10,000 P/A and it is very time-consuming work which can prevent anybody on a lower income, or with a less flexible work environment, from standing as councilors. And the structures of the council are very traditional and adverserial with often puts people off.

The is concern that the Liberal Democrats are going to try to remove the equality department from the council soon. We intend to keep an eye on the situation and try and get involved to help save it if needs be. It has been billed as a spending cut, but seems counter-intuitive considering that in order to consider equality issues without the help of a specific department, the onus would then be on the council to provide every individual manager with suitable training.

In November there is a one day conference of the Green Women group in Huddersfield that is open to others, there will be discussions, training and work shops.

We also talked briefly about some of the Green Party’s policies, such as those towards prostitution and sex education. Their stance on sex education in particular feeds into equality issues; in their own words:

“The Green Party would… Ensure all schools provide sex education including on the diversity of sexualities and gender identities and create supportive environments for LGBT staff and students.”

Clearly, the Green Party are far from being a one-issue party, and seem to be actively trying to constantly improve.

A huge thanks to Jillian and Kathy for coming to talk to us, it was incredibly interesting and informative. We hope to see you both soon!

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