Articles on Shifting Sands
International Women’s Day celebrated differently
The charity WorldwriteWorldbytes celebrated International Women’s Day 2018 differently by running a series of events that commemorated the campaigning work of London’s East-End heroine, sufragette and revolutionary Sylvia Pankhurst, and women getting the vote.
One of the events included an invitation to ‘contemporary heroines’ – campaigners for freedom and democracy, to a Freedom Breakfast. I was delighted to be included among them. We were presented with Freedom Scrolls based on those designed by Sylvia Pankhurst (see image).
I was honoured to be nominated for ‘brave work around FGM/C via her ShiftingSands website. Bríd has been prepared to question campaigns around FGM, the reported prevalence of the practice, official and media responses, the conflation of different types of procedures, the crimnalisation of practitioners and panics about it in the UK. She has argued and demonstrated ways in which high-handed interventions and NGO meddling can do more harm than good. Bríd has worked in the NHS for over 30 years – as a nurse, midwife, specialist health visitor and senior manager. She has stood up too for women’s freedom to do as they will with their bodies. Her very brave stand on an issue which is so emotive is more than deserving of a Freedom Scroll.’
My acceptance speech can be viewed here.
Other events that day included a Gala film screening of Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is Possible, a Centenary Tea Party, and a filmed debate and discussion entitles Suffragettes then and now.
Soon afterwards, the charity launched its award winning, inspiring and uplifting documentary Women: a success story which details the great strides made towards equality. I am proud to be one of the many women interviewed for the film which continues to be screened at festivals, stirring debate and picking up awards.
About the Author - Bríd Hehir
Bríd is a retired health professional. She started her career as a nurse and midwife in Africa where she worked for almost four years. She encountered FGM/C in Ethiopia. She then moved to London where she worked in the National Health Service as a midwife, community nurse, health visitor, reproductive and sexual health nurse and manager over a period of 30 years. She did not encounter FGM/C during that time despite working with immigrant communities who are reported to practice it still. She is puzzled by the current reported prevalence of the practice, the official response and associated activism. And is worried that they might cause more harm than good.
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