Successful Reclaim the Night protest in Coventry
By Nicky Downes, Coventry NUT (personal capacity)
(In the 1980s Nicky was a student at Coventry Polytechnic now Coventry University and was also the Polytechnic’s first Sabbatical Women’s Officer)
On the 1st of March on a cold Saturday night the Reclaim the Night March organised by groups such as Warwick Anti-Sexism Society, students at Coventry University, Coventry Women’s Voices and others and supported by trade unions such as Unite, Coventry TUC and including the NUT, finished on the steps of the cathedral. It was quite easy looking across at the student’s union to draw parallels with what had happened in the 1980s and today.
It was heartening that approximately 100 women had come together to march to reclaim the streets of Coventry; to rally against sexual harassment and violence and to demand safer streets. In the 1980s under Thatcher we had similar calls. Demands for better street lighting; for choice to do what we want with our bodies and for better childcare on campus.
Today there are women, who have been the most hardest hit with the cuts to public services in this city, fighting for the most basic things: a living wage, access to children’s centres, an end to the bedroom tax and for benefits that will ensure they can feed their children. We need to take up these demands and fight against austerity cuts.
The Socialist Party is organising an evening to celebrate International Women’s Day. See below
Revolutionary Women and the Fight against Austerity
Tuesday 4th March
Esquires Café, Coventry Transport Museum, CV1 1JD
See Facebook event here
2 thoughts on “Successful Reclaim the Night protest in Coventry”
It’s great that you’ve reported on the RTN march, I hope you found it as empowering as I did!
As an organiser of the march I just wanted to clarify what you’ve said about who organised it and ask you if you would mind editing your post to reflect this?
The march was organised by a collection of individuals as well as feminist and women’s organisations. CWV was involved, though the bulk of the work was done by student women from Warwick and Coventry Universities. As someone who organised for student women yourself, I am sure you recognise the importance of backing and recognising the work of young women and making sure not to overshadow it or ascribe it to older women.
We were also supported, financially and logistically, by unions but unfortunately you have misnamed those unions. Unite the Union kindly provided us with Public Liability Insurance, allowing the march to take place at all and Pat Seaman brought placards for women to carry. The TUC generously donated money towards our publicity. On the night the high-vis vests which stewards were wearing did have NUT on the back however they were brought to us by the wonderful Jane Nellist and as far as I am aware NUT as a union had no actual involvement.
It would be great if you could correct these factual elements.
Rosa (RTNCov Organiser and VP of Warwick Anti-Sexism Society)
(If you would like any more info our website is reclaimthenightcoventry.wordpress.com)
Thank you for the comment and we always welcome feedback so thanks for taking the time. We have made some minor changes to the text in terms of who organised it and supported it. Worth pointing out that it was not an exhaustive list of the unions who supported it – for example Judy Griffiths of the CWU publicised it around her union and Unison did the same to build support and no doubt others as well. Great event, well done to all involved! In Solidarity, Coventry Socialist Party