Women's Assembly Against Austerity

When: Saturday 22 February, doors open at 10AM 

Where: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL




Dear Sister, 

Welcome to the Women’s Assembly Against Austerity!

Attached is your programme for the day. Today is a chance for us to hear about how women are resisting austerity, talk about our own campaigns and link up with others. Some practicalities are outlined below.


The Women’s Assembly is being held over two venues, both of which are wheelchair accessible:

  • Conway Hall is where the opening and closing sessions are taking place (main hall), where a hot lunch will be served, and where two of the workshop sessions will take place (Bertrand Russell Room)
  • Unite the Union is where the other workshop sessions are. Unite is at 128 Theobald’s Road. The back entrance to Conway Hall comes out onto Theobald’s Road – turn left and cross the road to reach Unite


Lunch is served at Conway Hall, 12-1pm. It is a choice of chicken or lentil and vegetable Chilean stews, both with side salads and sauces. It costs £5 a plate, and 50p for a drink. Pay at registration and they will give you a ticket.


There is a hearing loop in the main hall. All parts of Conway Hall and Unite that we are using today are wheelchair accessible, and there is space for wheelchairs at the front of each of the meeting rooms. An exception to this may be the area for queuing for food, where there is limited space. If you can’t queue please ask one of the stewards and they will collect your order.


Please join us after the Assembly at Penderel’s Oak on High Holborn, a few minutes from Conway Hall. We have booked the family area at the back of the pub, which is wheelchair accessible. 

If you have any questions during the day, there are stewards in green vests who can help.


10.00 - 10.45am

Registration and refreshments


10.45 - 11.45am

The impacts of austerity on women and setting out our alternatives



Opening plenary


Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party

Dawn Butler, Former Labour minister for youth and prospective MP for Brent Central

Kate Hudson, General Secretary, CND

Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian

Sarah Veale, Head of Equality and Employment Rights Department, TUC

Chair: Dona Feltham, President, National

Assembly of Women


12.00 – 1.00pm

Lunch – Chilean hot meal (£5)



1.15 – 2.30pm

Challenging the myths about austerity





Speakers: Carys Afoko, Head of Communications, New Economics Foundation

Doreen Massey, Professor of Geography

Carolyn Simpson, SERTUC Women’s Committee

Chair: Clare Solomon, People’s Assembly


1.15 – 2.30pm

No racist scapegoating




Speakers: Sabby Dahlu, Unite Against Fascism

Cllr Rania Khan, Tower Hamlets

Zita Holbourne, Chair, BARAC

Chair: Barbara Ntumy, NUS Black Students


1.15 – 2.30pm

Women’s Health




Speakers: Kerry Abel, Abortion Rights,

Rosalind Bragg, Maternity Action

Chair: Cllr Emma Corlett, Mental Health worker, Unison member and Norfolk County Councillor


1.15 – 2.30pm

Fighting Inequality in Education



Speakers: Mya Pope-Weidemann, Student’s Assembly Kiri Tunks, NUT activist

Charlotte Bennett, Women’s Officer, MidKent College SU Meera Sabaratnam, UCU activist

Chair: Feyzi Ismail, People’s Assembly









2.45 – 4.00pm

Building a national movement through community campaigning





Speakers: Donna Guthrie, union activist and BARAC

Pilgrim Tucker, Unite Communities

Activist from Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign

Chair: Rachel Newton, People’s Charter


2.45 – 4.00pm

Women and War



Speakers: Haifa Zangana, Iraqi writer and campaigner

Rafeef Ziadah, poet and Palestinian activist

Chair: Fran Legg, Stop the War Coalition


2.45 – 4.00pm

Transport is an equality issue



Speakers: Paula Peters, DPAC

Caroline Russell, Local transport spokesperson, Green Party

Striking tube worker

Chair: Sharon Allen, Charter for Women


2.45 – 4.00pm

All Work and No Equal Pay




Speakers: Diana Holland, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union

Faduma Hassan, NUT striker

Chair: Sharon Harding, GMB union


4.00 – 4.20pm

Refreshment break



4.20 – 5.20pm

Women and the fightback against austerity




Closing plenary


Christine Blower, General Secretary, NUT

Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition

Ann Henderson, Assistant Secretary, Scottish TUC

Louise Irvine, Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign

Gloria Mills, Head of Equalities, Unison

Chair: Anita Wright, Secretary, National Assembly of Women



Penderel’s Oak, High Holborn. All welcome.




The People’s Assembly is pleased to announce the Women’s Assembly conference date as announced in the Guardian, to take place on Saturday 22nd February 2014 at Conway Hall, London.

Book your place at the conference here. First come, first served. Or leave your contact details at the bottom of this post for further details.

Email women@thepeoplesassembly.org.uk.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Editor,
We believe that women remain at the sharp end of the government’s economic and social austerity policies. As women’s unemployment rises, wages fall, the pay gap widens, benefits are cut and household and living costs rise, women face a daily struggle to keep themselves and their families from slipping deeper into poverty.

It is a travesty that 45 years after the Dagenham women workers fought for equal pay, we see increasing parts of our economy fuelled on cheap labour, with more than one in five earning less than a living wage and two-thirds of these women.

In the workplace and in the day-to-day battles against poverty, discrimination, racism, attacks on disabled people, the blight of war and the destruction of the environment, women are fighting back. Women are playing a leading role in the movement against austerity, evidenced by the huge number of women on the 50,000-strong NHS demonstration outside the Tory party conference Manchester in October.

Political leaders should be using the nation’s resources in the interests of the majority of the people and prioritise the abolition of poverty, insecurity and the threat of war. Our society is moving in a dangerous direction and now is the time for us to decide how our wealth is used and what values underpin our society.

In recognition of the leading role of women in the campaign against austerity and in articulating a new vision for our society, the signatories of this letter support the call for a Women’s Assembly Against Austerity to take place on Saturday 22nd February 2014 at Conway Hall, London. This event will build on the success of the People’s Assembly launched in June.

Yours faithfully

Diane Abbott MP
Sarah Veale, TUC Head of Equalities & Employment
Vera Baird, QC Labour Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria
Natalie Bennett, Leader, Green Party
Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, NUJ
Carolyn Simpson, SERTUC Women’s Rights Committee
Maxine Peake, actress and dramatist
Francesca Martinez, comedian
Dr. Finn Mackay, Founder, London Feminist Network and revived London Reclaim the Night
Anita Wright/Dona Feltham, National Assembly of Women
Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition
Kate Hudson, CND
Ann Henderson/Kerry Abel, Abortion Rights
Rachel Newton, People’s Charter
Clare Solomon, National People’s Assembly
Feyzi Ismail, East London People’s Assembly
Rafeef Ziadah, poet
Kate Smurthwaite, comedian
Anita Halpin, NUJ NEC and former chair of the TUC Women’s Committee
Anne Scargill/Betty Cook, Women Against Pit Closures
Rachel Yates, Coordinator and Commissioning Editor CLASS: Centre for Labour and Social Studies
Professor Mary Davis/Sharon Allen, Charter for Women
Professor Naila Kabeer, LSE
Professor Nadje Al-Ali, President, SOAS UCU
Nina Power, Senior Lecturer, Roehampton University
Anne Scott, UK Secretary Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Barbara White, Musician’s Union Executive Committee
Professor Susan Michie, UCU Executive Committee
Barbara Switzer, EC Institute of Employment Rights
Carolyn Jones, vice-chair, Morning Star
Alpa Shah, Reader, LSE
Brenna Bhandar, Senior Lecturer, SOAS
Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper
Jude Woodward, Adviser to Mayor of London 2000-08
Liz Payne, vice-chair, Communist Party of Britain
Pilgrim Tucker, Unite Communities Organiser
Julia Charlton, NEC member, Northumbria University UCU

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  • Norma Buddle
    rsvped 2014-02-21 05:08:26 +0000
  • Notts Tuc
    rsvped 2014-02-21 05:08:25 +0000
  • RoseMary Warrington
    commented 2014-02-20 14:43:57 +0000
    Please edit this post so the date at the top is that of the event 22nd Feb – no that of the post (29th Jan).. It is very confusing.

    However I’ll be there and am tweeting sharing etc, looks to be great.
  • posted about this on Facebook 2014-02-20 13:30:33 +0000
    UPDATE. Only 48 hours to go, please let all your friends know tickets are going very fast so book now to ensure a place...
  • Sian Barrett
    rsvped 2014-02-13 05:12:06 +0000
  • posted about this on Facebook 2014-02-12 14:06:46 +0000
  • Linda Hughes
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  • Kate Osamor
    rsvped 2014-02-08 05:11:23 +0000
  • posted about this on Facebook 2014-02-06 16:44:36 +0000
    Calling women, plz do book tickets to the Women's Assembly, don't want anyone to miss out! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-assembly-against-austerity-tickets-9613437049
  • Mary Davis
    rsvped 2014-02-06 10:18:36 +0000
  • Christine Quigley
    rsvped 2014-01-31 05:03:01 +0000
  • Clare Solomon
    rsvped 2014-01-30 05:03:32 +0000
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    rsvped 2014-01-30 05:03:32 +0000
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    rsvped 2014-01-30 05:03:29 +0000

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