Women speak out

From 8th to 10 th of June the 4th Women Speak Out WSO gathering took place in sunny Brighton. Despite a last minute change of venue when the original squat was lost on Friday night everything came together and a great weekend was head. WSO is about bringing together women from different strands of the direct action movement to laugh, share, inspire and do it ourselves. Instead of looking for one article for the AU about the gathering quotes and comments were collected from woman over the weekend about WSO, direct action and what inspires them.

"I leave women speak out gathering feeling energised, relaxed powerful and magical, and not alone in thoughts, feelings and attitudes which are quite often just my own in mixed, not specifically women based environments. Not directly because of men, but because of how we interact when we gather as a group of women simply because we want to. It's honest, we do a lot of laughing. Spending time exclusively with women helps me connect with and love men, children, animals, trees, myself - the whole thing, much more fully. It keeps me real, and we all need to do more of keeping it real ...."

"I think that misogyny is the lifeblood of capitalism. That keeping women separate, emotionally and physically is vital to the system. I get a feeling of instant acceptance at WSO, of not being alien. It's a vital tool to preventing burn out, as I find people here able and willing to talk about their emotions, positive and vegetative. I find it un-hysterical, very down to earth and real in the way we speak about politics and action, compared to mixed gatherings there seems a lot less competitive and a lot less judging of who's "full on" or "part-time". I come away feeling connected and part of something that's nurturing, people who see the human being first and the activists second."

"I went to a Wombles Workshop yesterday it was wicked because it seems like they are quite a lot of women in the Wombles and it's just not the situation in RTS or loads of things where it's like mainly geezers and the odd smattering of women. And the thing, that was really good about it, was it was just something you could do, like at this moment when I have been feeling a bit disempowered with waving placards or what ever. Wombles is a simple effective way of getting out of situations. You can just barge past them and they can't really do anything about it because they are the ones hitting you. Its wicked, you don't really need any training or nothing and anything that's empowering like that has to be good. It made me go yeah I want to have my own little wombles group of my mates and go on demos and do exactly what they did, shit ourselves and think we're going to get arrested for being public enemy number one, but actually not giving arrested at all and have a real good time. That's the wombles!"

"I like Women speak out "(K. aged five)

What do you find inspiring about women-only space?

"That we can have it."
" Not because there aren't to the geezers here, but because the women are so fantastic."
"It's not cliquey. "
"It seems easier just to talk to anyone than mixed gatherings can be, a lot more relaxed."
"Yeah, but some women only gatherings can be quite cliquey. WSO isn't like that."
"It's been organised by different groups every time, an idea that's been passed round, it's been in Brighton, Bristol, twice in London each time with a different group of women but the same idea threading it together ."
"Women do it all themselves, they find a venue... It's so empowering to come to a place where everything's just been sorted by women without getting a bloke to sort it out for them."

"Women speak out just isn't like any other gathering of politic space I go to. I find it hard to describe exactly what is different - the whole atmosphere is just incredibly comfortable, a real sense of belonging. I'm very glad women are still getting together, talking, sharing, spreading ideas and inspiration.

Feminism is alive and kicking!"




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