The Nottingham Women’s Conference, only “good” women welcome

Posted on July 9, 2013


So this September there is a feminist conference in Nottingham, in their about they describe their aims;

We are firm in our belief that women and girls are facing an ever-increasing attack on their rights, which needs not only to be challenged, but to be stopped. It is for this reason that we have decided to act and try to engage women from all backgrounds to stand up, debate and demand their fundamental rights

All backgrounds sounds wonderful doesn’t it? As sex workers are fighting for their rights, and female sex workers face particular dangers and oppressions, from the removal of their children by social services to increased risk of rape and murder, we share a demand for fundamental rights. The right to be treated as other women are would be a wonderful start, the right to have attacks on us treated the same as attacks on “good women” would be a huge step. So where do we sign up, perhaps we could even speak at a workshop, explain how a society that devalues women’s work also devalues sex work, or how slut shaming harms all women?

Ahhh, we of course forgot one thing, all backgrounds means all nice, good, non sex working women, because dirty whores would clutter the place up. From their events page;

OBJECT, a human rights organisation challenging the sexual objectification of women, whose campaigning has led to a change in legislation,The Co-operative, who offer different models of empowering women and lifting them out of poverty and Nordic Model Advocates, who are campaigning for the UK to adopt the Nordic model of prostitution laws.

For those unfamiliar with it the Nordic Model is one where sex work is de facto made illegal, since it makes paying for sex an illegal act. It is also described as End Demand, having no interest in sex workers rights or harm reduction, proponents of it instead have an ideological objection to sex work.  The group, normally known as Normas, base a lot of their claims on discredited research and down right lie about the legal position of sex work in the UK. This was a tactic also used by Rhoda Grant, saying she thought it was wrong a woman could be arrested for prostitution but her client could not. In the UK that is simply not the case, while there are many bad laws around sex work the exchange of money for sexual services is perfectly legal.

Object you may be more familiar with, although you may not be aware they have harassed street workers and picketed clubs putting dancers out of work. This lack of concern for sex workers rights is no surprise though, and continues to this day with their loose the lad mags campaign.

So instead of a day for all women of all backgrounds, that wants to fight for their fundamental rights, we have a day for a small, very vocal campaign against sex workers rights, with groups who have no problem with putting the jobs of working class women at risk. One of the most worrying aspects of this is the list of people supporting them, again from the FAQs

The Co-operative Membership, Nottinghamshire and Mansfield TUC, NUT and the WEA.

Nottingham and Mansfield TUC seem to be unaware sex workers are members of the GMB and we have certainly not been consulted about this. They can be contacted via facebook or here ;

Nottingham  & Mansfield Trades Union Council
Richard Buckwell
4 Aubrey Road
Nottinghamshire NG5 2LA
Secretary: Richard Buckwell

Please if you have two minutes, email, supporting a conference that wants a change in the law that puts workers lives at risk, and is opposed by the workers, is not how any trades-union should act.

If you are a member of the NUT do you know money is being given to fund this event? Have you been consulted? Have the NUT researched the real harm the Nordic model brings? Your shop steward is the person to contact.

If you are a co-operative member the same applies. You have the right to say, not in my name. The Coop works on a regional level, so if you are from Nottingham you can contact your local representatives here.–eastern-regional-board/

The antis have huge funding from US religious groups, we only have facts, and the voices of those who support us.


Uodate: Despite the comment from the organisers below the conference is showing itself to be opposed to sex workers, sex work and harm reduction, Ireland is currently considering laws that will actively endanger women, NWC has  speakers from SPACE international, and Irish group fronted by Rachel Moran and Justine REilly. One of whom has never been seen by a single Irish sex worker where she claims to have worked, , the other a convicted pimp and brothel manager. Thanks NWC, you arent just throwing us inver the bus you are reversing it back over us.

Related articles