Guest blog by Nicky Amos, Westbury-sub-Mendip WI, and Public Affairs Chair in Somerset Federation
You could ask yourself what benefit could possibly be derived from 10,000 women marching along London’s busy Oxford Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon, waving placards and shouting at the tops of their voices “Whatever I wear, wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no”.
And why add a group of WI ladies to this noisy mix?
‘Together we can end violence against women’ is the founding slogan for Million Women Rise, an umbrella organisation for hundreds of women’s groups from around the UK, who come together once a year to take part in this important march, and to raise awareness of violence against women in all it’s terrible forms.
Since 2008 the WI has had its own campaign, ‘No more Violence against Women’, and has helped lift the lid on dreadful issues long hidden behind the cloak of ‘not quite nice to talk about’. Domestic violence; use of porn in schools; trafficking of women to work in the UK sex industry, to name just a few.
Newspaper reporters and TV crews turned up in force to publicise the 2017 march, but for me what was just as important as ‘official publicity’ was to see thousands of tourists, many from countries where violence against women is veiled in secrecy, reading the leaflets and filming the march on their phones.
I am sure I speak for all the WI ladies who joined me last Saturday, when I say how proud I am to have taken part in this important event.
Maybe your WI could take part in 2018?