Socialist feminism! Everyday sexism! Women's struggles past and present!
This resolution was passed unanimously by RMT Women's Conference 2017.
Janine proposing a motion at RMT Women's Conference calling on the union to reaffirm its commitment to women's right to choose and access abortion, and to mark the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act by ensuring that there is no return to the days of backstreet abortions. The motion was carried unanimously.
Each year, there are over 55,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer in the UK, 3,000 new diagnoses of cervical cancer, over 7,000 of ovarian cancer, over 9,000 of uterine cancer, and over 1,000 of vulval cancer. Nearly 12,000 UK women die each year from breast cancer, over 4,000 from ovarian cancer, over 2,000 from uterine cancer, nearly 500 from vulval cancer, and nearly 900 from cervical cancer.
1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Think of all the women you know: one in eight of them. Think of all the women in your workplace and in your trade union: one in eight of them.
Research has linked 4-5% of breast cancer cases to shift work, due to circadian (body clock) disruption and exposure to artificial light at night. Studies have shown that breast cancer risk is 21% higher in women who have ever experienced circadian disruption, mainly through night work, compared with those who have not. Exposure to certain substances at work also increases the risk of breast and other women's cancers.
Yesterday was my radiotherapy booking-in appointment. So, off I went to the basement of Bart's hospital to be fitted and measured.
Some more forms to fill in and consents to be signed - this time, consenting to have permanent marks made on my body. Until now, I have avoided having tattoos: it just doesn't appeal to me, though I've sometimes thought I might take it up in later life. Never did I consider that the design would be three small dots. But there you go: I'll think of it as abstract art.
Strip to the waist again, and put on this gown. I share the waiting area with a hairless woman and her two kids, a young adult daughter and a teenage-ish son. She's having radiotherapy to her brain. I ponder on how lucky I am.
Then it's off to the radiotherapy room, past a door marked "Mould Room": I think I'll stay out of there.
My team of three radiotherapists - two women and a man - are all friendly and kind. When I mention I'm a poet, they ask for an ode, and the only one that comes to mind is Jeremy Hunt. Really, you can't go wrong having a go at Jeremy Hunt to NHS staff. My joke about sending my tumour to the USA goes down well too. "We've got a comedian here", they advise colleagues.
She's marked her again and the scars will preserve it
She's causing her pain 'cause she thinks she deserves it
She isn't a file on a case worker's shelf
She isn't self-harming, she's harming herself
Hyphen, inversion may make it sound neater
Straight like the burns from the bars on the heater
She's the subject, the object, the hurter, the hurt
The rejecter, the reject, the victim, the perp
"If a man ever raised his hand to me
I'd be gone."
Roars and applause from the studio audience
Put the shame-faced guest in her place
And the waves of clapping
Wash the blame
From him to her
Text of the George Lansbury Memorial Lecture, given on 16 November 2016 at Queen Mary University, London.