Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Susuana Antubam - NUS Women's Committee (Open Place) Report

Since the last NUS Women's Campaign meeting I've been organising, attending and speaking at various attend women's events on behalf of the campaign and within my role as the Women's Officer at the University of London Union. The first major event I organised and hosted after the meeting was the London Women's Officer Training day. The training event was the first of its kind and the women's officers who attended found  it productive. Kelley Temple, NUS Women’s’ Officer, also attended the training day briefly to talk about the NUS Women's priority campaigns for the year. At the end of the training day we had a London Regional meeting and outlined the issues and upcoming events that we wanted to focus on for the rest of the year.

One of the issues that  was identified during London Women's Officer Training was the lack of Women-only Forums on campuses. I wrote a short essay on the importance of women's only spaces and how they differentiate from feminist societies. After a few weeks of talking with women's Officers I worked toward creating new forums on campuses across London. I arranged a ULU Women's forum week with the intention of highlighting the new forums. The forums created were: Goldsmiths Women's Forum, KCL Women's Association, SOAS Women's Forum and RHUL Women's Forum. I also hosted my own women's forum at ULU open to all Women's Students at the University of London Union.
Combating sexual harassment is one of my main campaigns this year and I have been working with the organisation Hollaback! to do so. I launched the Hollaback! ULU Website at the London Women's Reclaim the Night Intersectional Panel Event. Since then I have been trying to get students to share their experiences with Hollaback! ULU - so we can continue to highlight the issue across London. The week after that me and an artist called Ren Aldridge hosted as week long, interactive exhibition at ULU, which included a gigantic sculpture, which was situated on the University of London land, behind ULU, which is shared by multiple London campuses. We also hosted a Hollaback! Riot Girl Night in the Gallery bar.
I ran an I Love Consent Workshop Training day at the University of London Union. I trained over a dozen students from SOAS, KCL, CSSD, UCL, QMUL, Oxford Brookes and non-students to facilitate inclusive and accessible consent training as part of the ULU I Love Consent Campaign. The I Consent brand has been catching on across the UK and Student Unions Women's Officers and Welfare Officers have been ordering sticker packs from ULU. I will be working with the ULU marketing team to develop new downloadable posters and workshop material.
I went to the Abortion Rights Executive meeting with Kelley Temple and Aisling Gallagher. I helped organise the Abortion Rights Student Conference, where I also spoke on the student panel with NUS Women's Campaign and Black Students' Campaign committee member Barbara Ntumy. I spoke at the well-attended SOAS Agender Society event: Our Bodies - Our Choices: Feminist Perspectives on Reproductive Rights. At both events I spoke about the NUS Women's Campaign's briefing on keeping campuses pro-choice and effective campus activism and policy.
While the NUS Women's Campaign has positive policy on sex work but no UK Wide information of students in sex work, I've been trying to support the local networks in London. I have been working with the Sex Worker Open University and will be hosting The Sex Worker Art Show at the Playhouse Gallery in ULU in the run up to International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on the 17th of December. The exhibition will be open in the day time, it free to attend and is open to people to all genders and none. ULU will also be hosting the London's International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers event in the Gallery space.
In November, I organised and hosted the ULU Autumn Liberation Conference. As part of the workshops for the day, I arranged a session called Sexism in Student Media which was lead by Rose Walker; President of Royal Holloway Feminism Society (my successor), and the features editor at Royal Holloway's Student Newspaper, The Founder. I also helped deliver a session called Cultural Appropriation - with two women students, one from Kings College London and the other one from Goldsmiths College. We did a presentation on what cultural appropriation is and how it affects students on campuses. This is a workshop which I think would be great for ULU Women's Conference. Events which I have attended in a NUS Women's Campaign representative capacity including Bradford Reclaim the Night, the NUS Women in Leadership Conference and Black Students Conference.
Other events which I have spoken at include UCL Women's Network and Gender and Feminism society's eve: Feminism 101 and the History of Feminism Network work event: In Conversation with the Women's Liberation Movement. In the media I have also appeared in the Huffington Post, speaking out against RateMash and Blurred Lines. I also recently appeared on Sky News talking about the new research done by girl-guiding UK on the impact of sexism on the lives of young women and plugged in the need of consent in the curriculum. I've also written an article for the young Fabians magazine Anticipations on poor sexual health and relationship education and submitted quotes for the London Student, Europe's largest Student Newspaper, on sexual harassment, blurred lines and eating disorders.

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