“We embrace all our sisters, not just our cisters”
This safer spaces policy is pretty much about respecting each other as humam beings.
WomenBeing aims to create a respectful, understanding and kind space where people feel able to express themselves and ask questions without fear of reprisal or humiliation.
This safer spaces policy is a guideline, it draws on the policies of others, including Sisters Uncut, Lighthouse Bookshop, and the Edinburgh Autonomous Centre, and WomenBeing reserves the right to update it as we learn and grow. It tells you what you can expect from WomenBeing, but also what WomenBeing expects from everyone attending our events and contributing to our magazine.
As a magazine and events organiser, we want to be a safe, empowering, welcoming space of discovery for all delegates, community members, and readers, especially those of us traditionally on the margins. The contributors and volunteers at the WomenBeing form a diverse group. Some of us experience different kinds of oppression & violence at the same time, including racism, disableism, poverty, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, islamophobia and antisemitism, as well as others. These oppressions are not separate from each other which can be exhausting & painful. We want to create a community that recognises and challenges the oppression & exploitation that some of us are harmed by and some of us benefit from.
WomenBeing has high expectations of how we behave towards each other. We will not wait for issues of harm to happen but will proactively challenge oppression & hierarchy in everything we do.
We do curate our events. Although we do not know or necessarily agree with all the opinions of all our speakers – by offering WomenBeing as a platform we are at the very least showing a degree of trust and respect, inevitably giving speakers and contributors certain credibility. We do not take that responsibility lightly and will never knowingly give an unchallenged platform to individuals whose ideas we view as problematic.
Our events are inclusive and supportive spaces for all women (trans, intersex and cis) and all nonbinary, agender and gender variant people. Self-definition is at the sole discretion of that individual. We do not police gender in our spaces. If you join us it is because you feel that you are included by our gender inclusion policy, and therefore you are welcome. If you have any queries regarding our gender inclusion policy, please don’t hesitate to ask questions.
We define the following as abusive behaviours which are not tolerated at our events:
- Personal insults – Insults or aggression towards an individual.
- Oppressive language –This includes (but is not limited to) any racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or disablist language, including misgendering. The reason for this is not “political correctness” or fear of criticising people’s values. The real problem with such language is that it normalises prejudices and recreates the very hierarchies that we aim to oppose, as well as creating a space that is unwelcoming to anybody outside of a narrow demographic.
- Verbal Harassment, sexual or otherwise- repeated uninvited personal comments or requests.
- Verbal abuse in writing – all of the above in written form.
- Violence and threat of violence – unless in self-defence.
- Use of force and threat of force – unless minimal to protect delegates at our events.
- Rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
We ask the following of all readers, delegates/events attendees, and contributors:
- Consent; before you touch anyone or discuss sensitive topics ask if they are comfortable with that. Don’t assume your physical & emotional boundaries are the same as other people’s.
- Be aware of your privileges; including less obvious or invisible hierarchies. Think about how your words, opinions and feelings are influenced and who they might exclude or harm.
- Calling out; if you have acted or spoken harmfully, even if unintentionally, someone will bring this up with you. If this happens, listen and reflect on what they are saying even if you think they may be wrong. Don’t try to absolve yourself of responsibility.
- Learning; if you don’t understand something, just ask. You may be directed to a book, website or skillshare to learn more. We are each responsible for our own learning and if we feel able, for sharing it with others.
- Security; please don’t use the names/details of people who have been involved in organising or attending events without their permission.
When we work together in this radical and transformative way, we are creating the change we wish to see in the world.