International Women’s Day - Monday 8 March 2021
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the economic, political, and social achievements of women. Many countries around the world celebrate the holiday with demonstrations, educational initiatives, and customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers.
The United Nations has sponsored International Women’s Day since 1975 stating its purpose was “To recognise the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.”
This year, the campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge. A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
For more information about International Women’s Day and how to get involved in this year’s campaign, check out the International Women’s Day Website.
Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month marks a time to celebrate the achievements of women globally but it is also a time to reflect on what challenges women still face today. In the wake of the pandemic, domestic abuse and violence has been a major issue facing women here in the UK and we wanted to give some insight into this issue below.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
Lockdown has forced people to stay at home and has seen many services close, making women more vulnerable to acts of domestic abuse and violence. Over the course of the pandemic and multiple national lockdowns, cases of domestic violence have been worryingly increasing. According to data from the Office of National Statistics, the Police recorded 259,324 domestic abuse offences between March and June 2020, which is 7% up on the same period in 2019. Full details of these figures can be found here: ONS Domestic Violence Data.
Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control their partner. It can happen at any point in a relationship, including after you have split up.
Domestic violence is an act of violent or aggressive behaviour within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.
Domestic abuse and violence has been an ongoing issue, with a majority of victims being women. Sadly, almost one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Moreover, two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales alone. Domestic violence is a huge issue and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
A key issue surrounding domestic violence in the pandemic is feeling trapped, unable to leave or access support services. During the course of the pandemic, train companies and charity Women's Aid created a scheme that offers free travel to people fleeing domestic abuse. The "Rail to Refuge" scheme - which provides free tickets for women travelling to refuge services - will continue until the end of March. This provides a lifeline to victims of abuse who need to seek refuge. More information on this scheme can be found by here.
Reporting Domestic Violence and Available Support
A major concern is that according to Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) data for the year ending March 2018, only 18% of women who had experienced abuse in the last 12 months reported it to the police. If domestic violence is not reported, victims cannot be helped. Refuge helps support victims of domestic violence, and has a 24 hour helpline which can be contacted by calling 0808 2000 247 (totally free of charge). The Refuge website and National Domestic Violence Abuse website further provide information on how to report domestic abuse, how to access support and how to seek safety. This information can be accessed here.
There are a variety of charities and organisations helping to tackle domestic abuse, all offering a wide range of support. Here are just a few:
As part of Women’s History Month, KCLSU will be hosting a series of events. They aim to celebrate the achievements of women, explore and discuss the challenges women still face today, as well as aiming to bring women together.
KCLSU has launched PerSIStence, a series of events brought to you by KCLSU and student societies surrounding a central theme of female empowerment, whatever that means to you. There are a range of events from panels, workshops and just chill-outs with cool, inspirational women. If you would like to attend one of these events, please check our events page for details: https://www.kclsu.org/events/
To find out more information on Women’s History Month and to keep up to date with what events are happening, please check out our website: https://www.kclsu.org/whm/