Capitalism is a society of inequalities, in how both wealth and power are distributed. These inequalities have often affected women more adversely than men, and campaigns for women’s rights have been ongoing for over a century. But the debate around gender equality is no longer just about differences in wages or opportunities. Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in Parliament and the entertainment industry especially have highlighted how some men have exercised their power. Also, the debate has broadened due to increased awareness of issues affecting transgender people, many of whom have felt marginalised.
How should socialists respond to the new prominence given to gender politics? What does gender inequality tell us about capitalist society, especially how it shapes gender roles? And how does the issue impact upon revolutionary politics? The Socialist Party argues that sexism and misogyny are expressions of how capitalism is inherently divisive and unequal. So, the solution is to address these problems at their source, by uniting to replace capitalism with a society based on equality and freedom.
Our weekend of talks and discussion will examine how gender issues relate to wider society and to revolutionary politics.
Full residential cost (including accommodation and meals Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) is £100
The concessionary rate is £50
Day visitors are welcome, but please book in advance.
Details about the venue:
Fircroft College of Adult Education,
1018 Bristol Road, Selly Oak,
Birmingham, B29 6LH
Location and travel (http://fircroft.ac.uk/about-us/location/) directions
E-mail enquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. To book a place send a cheque (payable to the Socialist Party of Great Britain) with your contact details to
The Socialist Party,
52 Clapham High Street,
London, SW4 7UN.
Scheduled talks so far include:
Lorna Stevens and Paddy Shannon present...
'INSIDE THE MATRIX'
This talk will argue against the premise that oppression is simply the product of class struggle and that feminism can be dismissed as identity politics which distract from the real issue. Feminism and socialism are not either/or, positions. An understanding of class, patriarchy and intersectionality is crucial to the challenge of establishing a world based on socialist principles.
Bill Martin will present...
'EQUAL WORK FOR EQUAL VALUE?'
This talk will look at the relevance of value, and the labour theory of value to discussions around the gender pay gap in the workplace. It will look at value as a story told to lay claim to the output of society, and will relate that to Utopian visions of women and womanhood. It will argue that that value is not a value-free idea, but in fact a deliberate move in the class struggle to enforce the power of the capitalist class. Along the way, this talk will take in how the working class is exploited, and how this exploitation contains within itself the end of capitalist values. Finally, it will suggest that the struggle over equal wages contains within itself the drive toward the abolition of the wages system itself.
Film showing: 'Did Gender Egalitarianism Make Us Human?' by Camilla Power (Senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of East London)
Introduced by Carla Dee and Richard Field, with discussion afterwards.
Mike Foster will present...
'SEX AND POWER'
The sex industry makes up a significant, if partly-hidden, sector of the economy. Prostitution and pornography represent extremes of exploitation, lucrative to those with the power and damaging to those pushed into selling themselves. This talk will examine the differing impacts which the sex industry has on both women and men, and what this tells us about capitalism as a whole.
Dangerous Women: How History And The Establishment Hide Female Militancy
From the militant 18th Century female trade unionists who dunked strike-breakers under water pumps, to the matchwomen, suffragettes and the true founder the Me Too movement, many of history’s most inspiring women have been designated the ‘wrong kind of heroines’ and their stories suppressed or minimised.
Guest speaker Dr Louise Raw has spent 20 years uncovering them, and will introduce or enlarge upon the histories of women of colour, of the working-class and with disabilities, who have much to teach us even today.