Amnesty International UK is organising a mass lobby of parliament on 4 November 2009 to lobby MPs at Westminster on the No Recourse to Public Funds Rule.

Many women come to the UK, often legally, in the hope of improving their lives. They may come on temporary work permits, student visas or spousal visas. Some women come to the UK to marry. The ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule says that a woman in this position – even if she’s married to a British citizen – is not entitled to certain state benefits, including housing benefit and income support.

But these are the benefits a woman must be able to claim to get a place in a refuge if she needs to escape violence. As a result, many newly-married women in the UK are trapped in violent marriages and even if they do muster the courage to seek help from the authorities, they are simply turned away.

The UK government has taken significant steps to address violence against women – particularly domestic violence. In its paper on domestic violence ‘Safety and Justice’, the Home Office recognised that support and accommodation to victims of domestic violence was ‘life saving and critical’. So the UK government knows it is in the wrong when it fails to protect women arriving in the UK

We believe that the government position puts the UK in breach of international human rights standards to which it has signed up. The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) says clearly that states must respect, protect and fulfil all women’s human rights, regardless of immigration status or any other factor.

What are we doing about this?

Amnesty International UK has joined its voice with the voices of these women, the refuge workers and the many black and minority ethnic women’s groups who have been campaigning and lobbying for years on this subject. We are all calling on the UK government to:

  • Allow refuges the funds they need to protection from violence to all
    women suffering abuse.
  • Provide for an exemption to the ‘no recourse’ rule to ensure women
    are not forced to remain with a violent partner.
  • Develop an integrated strategy for violence against women so as to
    minimise the chance of policy contradictions undermining women’s

See the Women’s Resource Centres extensive list of possible actions.

Date: Wednesday 21 October 2009
Location: Brixton Library, London

After many months of research and interviewing those who knew Olive, the Remembering Olive Collective and Lambeth Archives are proud to be launching a public archive dedicated to Olive Morris and the different groups and campaigns she was part of. The collection includes Olive’s personal papers deposited by Liz Obi and over 20 oral history interviews. It will be permanently hosted at Lambeth Archives.

The event speakers include Jon Newman (Lambeth Archives), Yana Morris (Olive’s sister), Mike McColgan (Olive’s partner), a presentation about Olive’s life and the materials included in the Olive Morris Collection by Dr. Kimberly Springer (ROC member), and a performance by award-winning poet Dorothea Smartt.

The oral history and cataloguing project and the production of a publication that will be launched early in 2010, has been generously funded by an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project has been supported by Lambeth Archives and Gasworks. The project’s advisers and partners also include the Black Cultural Archives, Brixton Library, Lambeth Women’s Project and the British Library.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: For information or to book tickets please contact Sonia McKenzie on 020 7926 1075 or email

Date: Tuesday 13th October
Time: 9.30 – 1pm
Location: The Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB
Influencing Local Decisions is a workshop for women – and in particular
Black and Minority Ethnic women. The aim is the look at how you can
influence the decisions that affect your community and neighbourhood. We
will be finding out about local governance is changing in Birmingham;
learning what works. and developing tactics for gaining influence in local

The workshop will be led by Hannah Worth and Paul Slatter from Chamberlain Forum and is part of the WAITS (Women Acting in Today’s Society) Women Making Change programme which is supported by the Big Lottery Fund. It is also part of Local Democracy Week in Birmingham which is supported by BeBirmingham and Birmingham City Council.

Places are free, but numbers are limited. To book a place at the workshop
please call Rani Johal at WAITS on 0121 440 1443 or email

The BBC has launched an open-source project to produce a 4-part documentary series about the web, to mark its upcoming 20th birthday.

To really help shape the production as well as show a female audience that women are contributing to the web (technologically, economically and socially), women need to get involved. Otherwise our contributions over the last 20 years of the web are at risk of being over-looked and going uncredited. Go to: to join the debate, or if you’d like to follow them on Twitter, the BBC Digital Revolution team are here: @bbcdigrev

H/T Women in Technology

Date: Friday 30th October 2009
Time: 10am to 4.30pm
Address: womenintechnology offices, 114 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7JH
Cost: £213 + VAT (This price includes a copy of the book ‘Beyond the Boys Club’).

In this evening workshop, Beyond the Boys’ Club author and executive coach, Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris will take a interactive approach to look at how career progression, especially in male dominated fields, is a blend of aptitude and attitude, manoeuvrability, understanding office politics, coupled with self awareness and confidence. Women who get ahead are those who make key decision makers aware of their wins. When you work with men you have to learn how to play the game and get comfortable raising your profile the way they do.  We need to learn how to play with the boys in order to move beyond the boys club.  We should take the best of what they can teach us whilst maintaining a sense of our own integrity, individuality and independence.

This course will help you:
• Develop self-promotion skills to increase professional visibility.
• Identify strategies for career enhancement according to your values and current options.
• Improve ability to influence others and develop effective relationships.
• Increase visibility for achievements in ways that are individually authentic

If you would like more information please go to: where you can also download the booking form.

If you are interested in attending this course or have any questions, please contact Sarah Lilley at or on 020 7422 9213 – many thanks!

Date: Saturday, 17 October 2009
: 18:00
Location: Meet at Five Ways Island, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Cost: Free entry to all events but donations very much appreciated both before October 17th and on the night.

Reclaim The Night marches started in the UK in the 1970s as a take on the US and Canadian ‘Take Back the Night’ marches. The Reclaim the Night march gives women a chance to take back the dark hours from the ‘stranger danger’ and the messages of safety that are unhelpfully directed at potential victims instead of at the aggressors.

Messages for women to stay at home, to lock themselves away, as publicised during the times of the Yorkshire ripper, and again in 2006 when five women were killed in Ipswich, do not prevent violence from occurring. Especially when you consider that the majority of women are harmed by someone they know, who is likely to be at home with them. These messages place the blame on victims who did not stay at home, who went out with friends and drank alcohol, who flirted with the man at the bar.

The Reclaim the Night march highlights that women should be able to walk the streets free from the fear of harm, and free from the fear of blame should they be harmed. That only those who commit these crimes should be blamed, and should be prosecuted and punished accordingly. Reclaim the Night Birmingham will be the time for those of us who have survived violence, or have been lucky enough to be that one in two women who won’t experience the violence, to take to the streets en masse to say no ‘No you cannot do this to us, and no we will not be silenced’.

Meet at 6pm Meeting at for a (self-defining) women only march through Edgbaston.
Rally (mixed gender) afterwards at Ladywood Community Centre with speeches from Joy Doal (Anawim), Jacky Mulveen (the Allens Croft Project), Jenny Lumsdon (Sandwell Rape Support), Shahida Choudhry (Stepping Stones, The Freedom Programme, West Midlands Women’s Networking Hub, Birmingham Feminists!).
Afterparty (mixed gender) upstairs at O’Neills on Broad Street.

Email: for more info.