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Disabled Women’s Panel at FIL: sunday 25th 12.30-2pm Hilton Metropole Hotel, London

Disabled Women’s Panel at FIL: sunday 25th 12.30-2pm Hilton Metropole Hotel, London

sun 25 oct  12.30 – 2pm   Feminism in London:  Sisters of Frida’s Disabled Women’s Panel  Multiple Identities: ordinary lives:  The challenges of being disabled and feminist  Disabled women’s rights are human rights! Disability can be physical, mental, neurological, hidden or visible. This panel will look at activism through the prism of disability and feminism and seek to explore further the intersection and challenges of being between the two and the capacity of the two movements to work for change.

Too often are disabled women absent from the mainstream feminist discourse. We are often invisible. Here we will be speaking on a range of topics from the views of young disabled women from Becky, on politics and advisory roles from Kirsten, on violence against women and girls (Asha will be speaking from an international level and Rebecca on a UK/European level), the impact of austerity from FrancesRyan.  And all of them will also speak from a personal level too.

venue – Hilton Metropole Hotel, 225 Edgware Rd, London W2 1JU

Asha Hans ( Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre by video link)
Kirsten Hearn (Chair)
Becky Olaniyi (Sisters of Frida)
Nidhi Goyal (CREA: disability and sexuality by video link)
Rebecca Bunce (ICChange)
Frances Ryan (Guardian journalist)

We will also have a Sisters of Frida stall for information and merchandise.

soffil flyer MS word doc

soffil flyer PDF file

Feminism in London FIL website

Check out on accessible Tube at Transport of All

nearest tube to Hilton Metrople is Egdeware Rd station.

nearest accessible tube is at Green Park Underground station

train stations Paddington and Marylebone

The Hilton London Metropole is located to the North on the corner of Edgware Road and Harrow Road. The hotel is approximately half a mile north of Marble Arch, Oxford Street and Hyde Park and next to the A40(M), with easy access to M40, M1 and M25.

The car parking is located in Harbet Road, just at the back of the hotel. From the hotel entrance in Edgware Road continue north and turn left at the first corner into Harrow Road. Once in Harrow Road please turn left at the first corner again into Harbet Road. (parking £5/hr)

Against the legalisation of Assisted Suicide: a right to independent living before a right to suicide

Against the legalisation of Assisted Suicide: a right to independent living before a right to suicide

Sisters of Frida is a member of ROFA (Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance). In times of austerity, we see disabled and older women are likely to be coerced into assisted suicide from different pressures.

If the Assisted Dying Bill is passed, some Disabled and terminally ill people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes, subtle pressure and abuse.  No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome – an outcome which can never be undone.

Read the story of Maud in the Guardian

If we structure society in such a way that many people have desperate, miserable lives, what sort of choice is it when people choose to kill themselves?
Maud lives round the corner from me in south London. She is 90 and on her own. She remembers a time when everyone knew everyone else, and when there was genuine community solidarity. Nowadays people come and go, she says, and young people can’t be bothered with the elderly. She is often lonely. “Even the doctor came round to see me and asked me if I wanted to commit suicide,” she says.


(photo of a NotDead Yet protest by Eleanor )

From Inclusion London

With two Assisted Dying bills currently before parliament, it is really important that Deaf and Disabled people and our organisations speak out loudly against the legalisation of assisted suicide and raise awareness of the threat this poses to disability equality.

Our message is that we want support to live not die. At a time when essential support is being taken away from us, when the challenges we face are exponentially growing as a direct result of adverse government policy, it is more dangerous than ever to introduce legislation which encourages suicide as a solution to the barriers Disabled people face.

We say: give Disabled people a right to independent living before a right to suicide.

Below are different ways that Disabled campaigners and our supporters can take action and get involved. We realise that not everyone has the time to do everything but anything you are able to contribute to the campaign would be valued.

1) Sign up the Reclaiming Our Futures statement. It’s quick and easy to do: just email your name to with ‘AS statement’ in the subject line. We are asking organisations, campaigns and individuals to sign up before the end of August. It’s really important we can show there is wide support for the case against legalisation.

Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance Statement

We are opposed to legalisation of assisted suicide. It will remove equality and choice from disabled people and further contribute to our oppression. If the Assisted Dying Bill is passed, some Disabled and terminally ill people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes, subtle pressure and abuse.  No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome – an outcome which can never be undone.

[Reclaiming Our Futures or ROFA is a network of grassroots Disabled people led campaigns and organisations across England. For more information see:]

2) Write to or arrange to meet your local MP (even over the Summer they will be receiving and responding to mail). You can download a template letter here.  Some MPs are organising public meetings to canvass the views of their constituents – check their websites to see if your MP is one of these. Please send us copies of any responses you receive.
3) Help publicise the facts about assisted suicide, for example send a letter to your local paper. Download the Assisted Suicide Open Template Letter for Media here.
4) If you have a personal story about this subject which informs your view on it and which you are willing to share please let us know. We are also looking for Disabled people who are happy to speak to the media about why we oppose legalisation of assisted suicide.
5) Join us at the Not Dead Yet UK/DPAC Protest on 11th September. Gather outside Parliament to show our opposition to Marris’ bill while it is being debated inside. Meet Old Palace Yard (opposite the House of Lord’s) from 9am. Further details to be confirmed.
6) Check if your MP is one of the named supporters of Marris’ bill? DPAC is encouraging campaign groups to organise protests outside the constituency offices of those MPs who have put their name to Marris’ Assisted Dying bill. If you would like support to organise a local protest or for more information contact to check if your MP is named)

Here is a good Assisted Dying Bill Information_Easy Read version explaining the Assisted Dying Bill for everybody from ROFA (MS Word document)

empty wheelchairs and shoes with notes on them

photo from Not Dead Yet campaign

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

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

Eleanor, Rebecca and Zara

Sisters of Frida were at the Woman Up event August bank holiday weekend. 29th/30th August
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
WC1R 4RL London
United Kingdom


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

(see transcript below)

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

Full progamme at From Woman Up eventbrite

transcript of video clip


….seen as innocent vessels (?) that are then corrupted by the world.. And yes, there are some horrific stats about disabled womens’ experience.

We are 4 times more likely to be the victims of domestic abuse and violence. The sexual exploitation of disabled children is massive.

But for me I can’t help but question whether those stats in part, are partly because we de-sexualise disabled women.

Because if by de-sexualising them it means that if they do go to the police and say that they’ve had an experience they can be disbelieved because disabled people don’t have sex.

What is really strange to me is that, despite the de-sexualisation of disabled people and disabled women, it is seen as perfectly acceptable for a stranger to approach me and ask how I have sex, or do I have sex. And they are questions that non-disabled women don’t get asked very often.

And I think that to me is where disabled women need to be represented in discussions in Feminism, about sexuality, about porn because a lot of disabled women have hidden impairments and actually a lot of the women that are being exploited and are experiencing sexual violence are probably disabled women. They might not realise it, you might not realise it, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t experiencing those kinds of barriers. So it’s really important that we’re being open and honest about disabled women and how they fit into this kind of environment.

Now I’ve been a Disability rights activist for quite a long time, probably longer than some of the panel members have been alive! – in that I started being involved in Disability rights at the age of 10.

I didn’t get involved in the Feminist movement until my mid-20s. The reason for that was that I didn’t feel like I belonged in the feminist movement. I have spent a large proportion of my life trying to be seen as a sexual entity, as a sexual being, whereas a lot of the messages that I’ve received from the Feminist movement over that same period of time have been telling me that I don’t want to be ‘objectified. Actually, as a disabled woman who is told that I don’t have a sexuality, repeatedly by society, the idea of being sexualised and objectified – sounds pretty good to me!

Anyway, on that note I’ll hand over…

END 3:07

Screening AccSex in Leeds: Disabled Women Activism & Sexuality event

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.

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: 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

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

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