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Sisters of Frida at : Woman Up! London, in association with Conway Hall Ethical Society (Saturday 29th Auguest)


Woman Up logoFrom Woman Up eventbrite

Zara Todd and Becky Olaniyi from Sisters of Frida will be speaking at

Conway Hall (click for directions)
25 Red Lion Square
WC1R 4RL London
United Kingdom

 (Holburn Underground Station is not wheelchair accessible)

Let’s talk about what it means to be a woman in the UK today.

In our media, women’s sport gets the same coverage as men’s darts. Out of 2,300 works of art in the National Gallery in 2010, only 10 were by women. And there are more men in the House of Commons today than the total number of women who have ever been elected into parliament…

Women make up 51% of the UK’s population. We are workers, daughters, creatives, poets, partners, inventors, artists, musicians, scientists, mathematicians, playwrights, mothers, office-job workers and friends. We are all this and more – we all have stories to share, so let’s come together and share them.

Woman Up! aims to start a discussion – we exist to promote equality, talk about taboo topics and help tackle violence against women and girls. There will be discussions and performances. We want to ask questions:

– Why are 84% of front page news stories about men?

– Why are the cuts hitting women the hardest?

– Why are we afraid to talk about women’s sexual pleasure?

– Why are we afraid to talk about periods?

– What’s it like to be a girl in school at the moment?

– How can we prevent the sexual assault that happens to 400,000 women every year?

– How can we support the 85,000 women who are raped each year?

– And critically, how can we create a society that is more equal and more fair? How do we make change?

Whatever your gender, join us for a weekend of dicussions about the issues affecting women today, and how we can tackle them.

Trans-inclusive and wheelchair accessible*

We are hoping to have a creche on the day. Children are welcome.

There will be wi-fi!



June Eric-Udorie – writer and anti-FGM campaigner

Panel: women in society and culture
Sarah Maple – artist
Reni Eddo-Lodge – writer and journalist
Karla Crome – Misfits actress and writer
Becky Olaniyi – Sisters of Frida
Siana Bangura – Founder and Editor-in-Chief of No Fly on the Wall

Sabrina Mahfouz – spoken word poet

Young women speak – BANG Edutainment, young people’s charity

Panel: Personal to political
Claire Cain – Women in Prisons
Alice Copping – The Emily Tree
Katie Russell – Rape Crisis
Jannat Hossain – New Economics Foundation

Hibo Wardere – anti-FGM activist

Panel: The politics of women’s bodies: sexuality, porn and nudity
Collette Nolan – Doodle Your Down There
Jane Fae – Journalist and campaigner
Zara Todd – Sisters of Frida
Rebecca Ryce – Sexpression
Chella Quint – Period Positive
Pandora Blake – feminist porn maker

Evening performance: #EmilyMatters: Step up. Vote. Lead.


Larissa Kennedy and Ashvini Rae – GirlGuiding

Panel – Girls growing up
Arifa Nasim – Educate2Eradicate
June Eric-Udorie – writer and anti-FGM campaigner
Lili Evans – founder of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army
Niamh Griffin – Girl Guiding
Imogen Kelly – Gendered Intelligence
Young person from Bang Edutainment!

Tolu Agbelusi – poet and writer

Pavan Amara – My Body Back

Raga Gibreel – Green Kordofan

Panel – Preventing violence against women and girls, and supporting survivors
Rebecca Bunce – ICchange
Chris Green – White Ribbon campaign
Tamara-Jade Kaz – feminist campaigner

Panel – How can we make change?
Bibi Van Der Zee – author of The Protestor’s Handbook
Ashvini Rae – Girl Guiding
Seyi Newell – This Is my Tribe
Alysha Bodman – UK Youth Parliament and Amnesty International
Anna Hill – Powered By Girl

*If you’re thinking about coming and you’re worried about access, please email us and we’ll work with you to see what we can do:

Woman Up! lasts the whole weekend. For tickets to our Sunday event, click here:

Screening AccSex in Leeds: Disabled Women Activism & Sexuality event


accsex film flyer

accsex film flyer
Disabled Women: Activism and Sexuality

The Centre for Disability Studies (University of Leeds) and Sisters of Frida (North) invite you to

Disabled Women: Activism and Sexuality

Friday 15 May 2015: 12.30-4.30

Liberty Building, University of Leeds, Room G.32

The first part of this event will include presentations from Sarah Woodin (CDS) on disabled women, violence and access to support; and Freyja Haraldsdottir (Tabu) on feminist disability activism in Iceland and the founding of ‘Tabu’ (

The second part (after a short lunch-break will include: A screening by Sisters of Frida of  the film, ‘ACCSEX’ – which explores notions of ‘ideal bodies’ (; and discussion led by Kirsty Liddiard (University of Sheffield) and Q&A with Shweta Ghosh (director of the film).

Teas and coffees will be provided but please bring your own lunch.

Location Details

Room G.32 (ground floor)
School of Law
Liberty Building
University of Leeds

(Please use postcode LS6 1AN for Sat Nav’s)

The Liberty Building is number 16 on the campus map.

Screening AccSex: Disabled Women Sexuality and Solidarity 16 Saturday 1 pm.



Please register at Details are on the eventbrite.

Confirmed BSL for discussion!!


Laki Kaur

We ‘ re also very pleased that Laki Kaur will be joining us and co chairing the discussion with Becky.

Laki is a 25 year old disabled woman , she describes herself as ‘outspoken, positive and love to try new things who loves traveling ‘. She works as a receptionist and loves her job.

Event Details

Sisters of Frida is happy to host AccSex in London. Shweta Ghosh will be there to answer questions co chaired by Lucia Bellini and Becky Olaniyi from Sisters of Frida

View trailer here.

Within stifling dichotomies of normal and abnormal, lie millions of women, negotiating with their identities. Accsex explores notions of beauty, the ‘ideal body’ and sexuality through four storytellers; four women who happen to be persons with disability. Through the lives of Natasha, Sonali, Kanti and Abha, this film brings to fore questions of acceptance, confidence and resistance to the normative. As it turns out, these questions are not too removed from everyday realities of several others, deemed ‘imperfect’ and ‘monstrous’ for not fitting in.Accsex traces the journey of the storytellers as they reclaim agency and the right to unapologetic confidence, sexual expression and happiness.

The experience of minority genders with disability largely reflects double discrimination. In the Indian context, identities and stories are further layered by virtue of diversities in caste, class, ethnic and religious backgrounds. The issues of persons with disabilities are often seen through a welfare approach in laws, programmes and policies. A similar charity-tinted lens is employed by educational books and media texts and a basic reading of these shows how the mildest physical and psycho-social disabilities are viewed as ‘abnormal’.

Accsex has won a number of awards and been part of several festival selections. It has also been used as a strong advocacy and educational material by activists in the field of disability and gender rights. It has been incorporated into the CREA Disability and Sexuality Rights online institute in 2015.

Shweta Ghosh is a documentary filmmaker and researcher. A silver medalist from the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (SMCS, TISS), Mumbai, she has explored her interest in disability, cuisine, travel and music through research and film projects.

Shweta’s debut documentary Accsex, a film exploring notions of beauty, body, sexuality and disability was awarded Special Mention at the 61st Indian National Film Awards 2014 and has been screened across India and abroad. The film has been appreciated for its rights-based approach to disability and sexuality and has been used widely as advocacy and training material by NGOs and academic institutions.

Lucia Bellini works for StaySafe East to tackle violence and abuse against disabled and Deaf people. She spoke for disabled women at Million Women Rise at Trafalgar Square this year.

Becki Olaniyi is a young disabled women. She was on a panel on disability, race and gender at the WOW Festival at the South Bank this year.

We will also be discussing setting up a disabled women group on sexuality, relationships and intimacy.

This event is a women only event intended as a safe space for women to discuss sexuality and disability issues.

Nearest Tube stations

Waterloo Station | Bakerloo, Jubilee, (accessible for wheelchair users)

Lambeth North Station | Bakerloo line

Kennington Station | Northern line

Elephant & Castle | Northern line

Northern, Waterloo & City lines


3, 59, 159, 360

Zara Todd: The problem with privilege

Zara Todd

Zara Todd

As a young, white, heterosexual disabled woman, I have a pretty good idea of how privilege affects different people’s life chances. I have both privileges and experienced oppression and discrimination because of my identities.

I believe that both privilege and oppression should be recognised so that we can challenge discrimination and promote inclusion and equality I would like to hope that I am an ally all my friends, brothers and sisters who are oppressed in ways I am not. For me understanding what my privileges are and how they affect my experience and others experiences is crucial to understanding how I can be a better ally. However I have a problem with how privilege is often acknowledged and addressed.

Far too often, the process by which people identify privilege inadvertently perpetuates negative assumptions and hierarchies about identities. For example, I have seen a number of explorations of individual’s privilege which highlight somebody’s physical or mental health as being a privilege is massive. Now to me, this is problematic for a number of reasons.

Firstly , in the case of identifying not being disabled .Many non-disabled people are yet again emphasising the biological basis of disability downplaying societal construction.

Then there is the issue that the concept of privilege itself is inaccessible and elitist, only really accessible to those who have some kind of privilege.

Acknowledging privilege also tends to continue place a value on certain identities and characteristics above others. When you are repeatedly being told your identity is a disadvantage, it can be demoralising. Frankly, can leave you wondering why you should keep fighting for equality when the world seems against you.

In addition, the act of acknowledging privilege on its own continues to place those with privilege in a position of power. There is not enough dialogue about how privilege can be addressed or how people can use their privileges in ways that promotes equality.

The process of identifying privilege does not celebrate what advantages coming from marginalised group gives a person. For me there are many brilliant things about being a young disabled woman that I would not change or trade for the world. Yet there are very few spaces where I am allowed to celebrate what is good about those identities and how they have positively enhanced my experience.

While we need to continue to acknowledge that not everybody is born equal nor does everybody have the same opportunities we need to find a way of doing this that is celebratory and empowering for those identities which are seen as a disadvantage.

– Zara Todd



Sisters of Frida 2015 AGM

Zara, Becky, Eleanor Firman and Obi (livestreamer in photo)

Zara, Becky, Eleanor Firman and Obi (livestreamer in photo)

Emma (speaking with ipad) and Dyi

Emma (speaking with ipad) and Dyi

Tim (PA), Lani, Manjit  Rehal and colleague from Coventry CRASAC

Tim (PA), Lani, Manjit Rehal and colleague from Coventry CRASAC

Sarah (with thumbs up) and Emma

Sarah (with thumbs up) and Emma


Back to us, Armineh and Zara, Pauline, Martine (standing up), Michelle and Becky

Sisters of Frida held the 2015 AGM Saturday 10th January, in Coventry, Kahawa café, 163 New union Street, CV1 2PL.

A panel of speakers discussed the issues for Sisters of Frida to focus on: disability and sexuality, domestic violence and violence against women, social justice and intersectionality. This AGM was livestreamed and we had a remote captioner for one deaf delegate and the other with hearing impairment. ( Michelle: Welcome and Introductions) ( Becky and Zara: Young disabled women and intersectionality) (Michelle: Health Care and Inequality for disabled women) (Eleanor: Feminism and Disability, UN instruments) ( Questions and Answers) (Priorities for SoF video )

2015 01 10 SISTERS OF FRIDA Transcript (transcript captioned in MS Word Doc)

Disability and intersectionality: Multiple identities, cumulative discrimination


Reblogged from Women’s Aid Scotland ‘Today we can stop it‘ with thanks!

American professor, Kimberlé Crenshaw, coined the term ‘intersectionalityin 1989. Reni Eddo-Lodge, had an interview with her earlier this year where she explained why her law studies led her to intersectionality.

 “That work started when I realised that African American Women were… not recognised as having experienced discrimination that reflected both their race and their gender. The courts would say if you don’t experience racism in the same way as a man does, or sexism in the same way as a white woman does, then you haven’t been discriminated against. I saw that as a problem of sameness and difference. There were claims of being seen as too different to be accommodated by law. That led to intersectionality, looking at the ways race and gender intersect to create barriers and obstacles to equality.”

Many people trip over this word but it means that women experience oppression or discrimination at several and varying levels. However there are more barriers to equality than race/ethnicity and gender. There is also disability, sexual orientation and class.

Disabled activists are on the rise and many of them are women engaged in the fight against austerity but disability activism has been mainly gender neutral. Women’s Aid outlines particular ways in which disabled women are vulnerable to physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse – and makes the point that “Getting away from abuse is often harder for disabled women because access to help and support is often controlled by the abuser.” But not many disabled people organisations have focused on this abuse –there are exceptions of specialised organisations such as Stay Safe East in East London

Racism is embedded in the system and people who have never encountered it, can never understand how insidious it can be. And lack of representation of people of colour or BAME communities hold its own message – and that makes them feel excluded.  Ableism is just as embedded in the system where many disabled are left trapped in their own or residential homes because they lack support in the form of care packages to enable to live as citizens in their communities and in society.

Disabled people are fighting for the continuation of the Independent Living Fund and access to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and now, against the changes made to Access to Work.

The Convention of Rights for People of Disabilities (CRPD) recognises intersectionality for disabled women, Article 6 for Women with disabilities

  1. States Parties recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subject tomultiple discrimination, and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

For example, where a blind woman is denied access to information on the website of the Ministry of Health due to outright inaccessibility, this results in discrimination on the basis of disability only and not her gender as the site would be equally inaccessible to blind men; whereas a blind woman being denied access to family planning services is subjected to differential treatment based on both her gender and disability – and if she is actually an adolescent girl living in a remote indigenous community, clearly intersections of multiple aspects of her identity operate to exacerbate the disadvantage she faces in enjoying and exercising her rights.

(example from the IDA, Victoria Lee)

Many of us have multiple identities and we are impacted by discrimination cumulatively as disabled women. We need to recognise the intersectionality and work across strands of identity. As the women at Sisters of Frida’s event, Disabled Women’s Right to Occupy, agreed – we are the sum of identities, we cannot separate the strands but work as a whole difference.

written by Eleanor Lisney