This year’s International Women’s Day debate was overshadowed by the sad circumstances surrounding it. In a week that is supposed to be all about elevating women, we had to spend most of our energy confronting the realities of harassment, abuse and violence, calling out selective allyship and even justifying our right to raise our voices about these injustices. Change cannot come soon enough.
In my debate speech, I condemned some of the craven victim-shaming that came in the wake of Sarah Everard’s abduction and called for an intersectional feminism that recognises the extra hurdles faced by Black women, rather than discounting the racism we experience.
I also shared my own experiences of racialisation in maternity care and praised the efforts of campaign group Five X More, who seek to raise awareness around Black maternal mortality in the UK. I’m glad Parliament will be debating their petition on Black maternal mortality next month: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/301079