Friday Feminist Five from Engender

Welcome to this edition of Friday Feminist Five! We hope you like receiving these weekly information blasts on some of the things that are going on in Scotland, and further afield, that are of interest to feminists.

One: How has lockdown impacted women's health services in Scotland?

Health and social care services, and decisions over how they are run, have a major impact on women. This is not only as service users with particular needs and experiences, but as the majority of both older people and unpaid carers in Scotland. Women are less likely to receive treatment generally, as women’s pain and diagnosis is treated differently to that of men. Responding to Covid-19 has necessarily resulted in a significant reorganisation of the NHS. Screening, including breast and cervical screening programmes, has been paused indefinitely.

This cancellation and limitation of routine care may have particular consequences for older women and some BME groups who have higher risk of particular cancer diagnosis. Reduced routine appointments due to lower service provision may impact upon rural women who may have considerable distances to travel to access appointments. You can read more about our concerns around women's health and Covid-19 in our submission to the UK Parliament Women and Equalities Committee here.

The Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Women's Health are conducting a survey on how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted women’s health services in Scotland. The survey is open until 7th August, and all results and comments will be anonymised. If you'd like to share your views, you can take the survey here.

Two: Let's talk about sex

Today is national orgasm day, so we’re celebrating by…highlighting what needs to improve in the way we talk about sex.

First up, we have a new blog as part of our ‘F-words’ series. This piece has been written for us by performer and writer Jenny Lester, and zones in on the patriarchal nature of the language we use to discuss sex. Accurate representations of sex in our language and culture can help challenge rape culture and enable women and girls to feel comfortable and confident with their sexuality, and Jenny explores how the terms ‘virgin’ and ‘foreplay’ can contribute to damaging ideas about sex. Check out the blog here, and have a look at the other blogs on feminist language we've published as part of our F-words series here.

We’re also supporting the Clit Test with their mission to improve the portrayal of female sexuality on screen, and celebrate popular culture which shows and talks about sex that recognises women’s pleasure. If you come across films, tv shows, music videos, or anything else which reflects the fact that the clitoris is a central part of sexual pleasure for most women, you can submit it to Clit Test on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #ClitTestPass or #ClitTestFail with a screenshot or picture of the content in question. The more detail you can provide (e.g. page number, how many minutes in, what makes it a pass or fail) the faster they’ll be able to verify it and add it their list. You can also email your wins and fails to

Three: Making the law work for women

This week, we hosted Engender's first virtual 'brown bag lunch', one of our regular internal information and expertise sharing sessions for Engender staff. We were extremely pleased to host a session by our University of Edinburgh Law School intern Jess Robinson, on the work so far on her project exploring what value strategic litigation could have in creating better legal outcomes for women. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we unfortunately have not been able to host Jess in the office as the Engender team are all currently working from home, but we have been delighted to have her join us digitally and share her work so far with us.

In her presentation Jess explored why we're talking about strategic litigation, in particular 3rd party interventions, as a vehicle for pursuing policy change, and how feminist interventions could work. Her research so far has looked at the barriers to 3rd party interventions in the Scottish legal system, as well as the potential risks and positive impacts of using interventions as a tool for advocacy, highlighting how ultimately, litigation is an imperfect but indispensable strategy of social change that cannot effectively work in isolation from other work towards equality. You can read Jess' blog about her project and making the law work for women here.

Four: Events and Opportunities for Feminists

As social distancing and isolation measures continue, we will be sharing virtual and online events instead of physical ones, as well as opportunities including online trainings, courses and vacancies. We're keen to know what sort of web-based events you'd like to see Engender running - please take our survey and let us know. If you have any events or resources you'd like us to share, please get in touch.

North Ayrshire Women's Aid Vacancies
  • With: North Ayrshire Women's Aid
  • Deadline: Midnight 16th August

North Ayrshire Women's Aid is in it's 40th year of operations, and they are currently recruiting for a Women's Aid Project Worker, a Volunteer Co-ordinator, and an Admin and Accounts Worker. Full vacancy details for all three positions and application packs are available here.

Gender Based Violence Survey for Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women
Our colleagues at Zero Tolerance are undertaking survey research to better understand the experiences of violence against Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women. The survey is anonymous and there is no need to respond to any question that makes you feel uncomfortable. You can find out more and take the survey here.


Research into the Impact of Covid-19 on Learning Disabled People

The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability is supporting research into how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the lives of disabled people in England and Scotland. They would like to speak to people with learning/intellectual disabilities as part of this work to ensure these voices are also heard. If you would like to take part, you can find out more in this easy-read document.

Funding for LGBTI led community groups and organisations

Following an announcement of funding from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund, the Equality Network have will be distributing funding support for LGBTI led community groups and organisations to support their COVID response. You can find out more including funding criteria and how to express interest in the fund online here.

Five: What we've been reading

[CN = A content note on this article, e.g. 'CN: sexual assault' where it is not obvious from the title of the piece]

Adele Merson: Need to protect women from online hate undermined by 'dearth' of official information on abuse (The Courier) // Alistair Grant: Campaigners call on Scottish Government to ban LGBT 'conversion therapy' (Herald Scotland) // Richard Adams: Women 'put careers on hold' to home school during UK Covid-19 lockdown (Guardian) // [CN: sexual harassment, violence against women, domestic abuse, rape, suicidal ideation] Anonymous: Me, I have a voice (SWRC) // Dundee International Women's Centre (Rosa) // Dr Lynne Tammi: F-words: Gypsy/Traveller women in Scotland (On The Engender) // Alexandra Topping: UK working mothers are 'sacrificial lambs' in coronavirus childcare crisis (Guardian) // Sophie Gallagher: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being subjected to sexism at work is no surprise to any female employee (Independent) // Rebecca Traister: The poison of male incivility (The Cut) // Amrit Wilson: Why feminists should support the struggle for prison and police abolition (Open Democracy) // Kalwat Bhopal: UK's white female academics are being privileged above women - and men - of colour (Guardian) // Ashni Lakhani: Coronavirus: Life inside a 'homeless hotel' (BBC Three) // Rose Stokes: Ask me to wear make-up to work - I dare you (Metro)

And finally... one man and a baby (via Guardian)


Friday Feminist Five is an Engender publication. If you're reading this because someone has forwarded this message to you, then you can receive your own copy to your inbox every Friday by joining Engender today.