Women’s Rights

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 26:  Protesters raise their hands during a demonstration against the verdict of the 'La Manada' (Wolf Pack) gang case outside the Minister of Justice on April 26, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. The High Court of Navarra has given a sentence of 9 years in prison to five men for 'continued sexual abuse' instead of 'rape', which would have seen them recieve around 22 years in prison. The gang assaulted an 18-year-old woman in Pamplona, during the San Fermin Festival in 2016. Feminists and women's rights groups have called for demonstrations across Spain.  (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Capitalism: The root of sexism and oppression

In Spain, “I Believe Her” became “Yo Te Creo”, with thousands protesting the acquittal of five men accused of gang-raping a young woman. Less than two months earlier, 5.1 million workers had spilled onto the streets of Spain to strike against sexism on International Women’s Day. In Latin America the Ni Una Menos movement has refused to tolerate endemic murders of and violence against women. Millions globally have used the #MeToo hashtag and have broken a collective silence, sharing their experiences of sexual assault and harassment.

Spain’s #ibelieveher protests

Spain’s #ibelieveher protests

The scandalous verdict given by Pamplona court in the case against the ‘Manada’ (the wolf-pack) rapist gang, has enraged millions of women, young people and a majority of men, as was seen in the massive demonstrations which took place around the country only hours after the sentence was pronounced on 26 April.

Misogyny, sexism & capitalism in the dock

Misogyny, sexism & capitalism in the dock

The trial has brought to the fore the prevalence of sexist and misogynistic attitudes that exist in the legal system and society in general. In Northern Ireland, over 94% of all rape trials have resulted in no conviction for the accused. The conviction rates for sexual violence are far lower than for any other crime. In the South only 19% result in convictions and 7% when the case is contested. As Suzanne Breen, one of the few journalists who have covered this trial in a fair manner, put it: “This was a case where it wasn’t always clear who exactly was on trial. Each defendant is rightly allowed their own legal representation. But a 21-year-old woman being cross-examined by four defence barristers over eight days pulls at your heart-strings…The young woman failed to secure the verdict she desired. She did not win, yet she has certainly not lost.”

#IBelieveHer – ROSA statement on Ulster Rugby trial

#IBelieveHer – ROSA statement on Ulster Rugby trial

The sexist attitudes that have dominated this trial show there is a need for special measures in order to ensure that victims of sexual violence receive justice. The example of specialised courts should be considered, as in South Africa and other countries, which provide judge and juries with training and have achieved a higher level of conviction and a less traumatic experience in court for victims of sexual violence.

100 years after suffrage:  Lessons for women’s struggles today

100 years after suffrage: Lessons for women’s struggles today

This year marks the centenary of the first women in Britain and Ireland winning the right to vote in parliamentary elections. The political establishment and right-wing propaganda have been celebrating the introduction of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. But it cannot be forgotten that this Act was a deeply classist compromise, and aimed only to enfranchise a small number of property-owning women from the privileged elite in society, whilst simultaneously ignoring millions of ordinary working-class women.