Did you know that on average 2 women a week are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner in the UK? In light of this chilling fact, modern society can’t avoid discussing feminist issues. Here I try to explain why feminist views are on the rise and how feminism plays a major role in the workplace.

Feminism is becoming more and more mainstream by the day. Everyone around me can give an example of a strong feminist figure or are an adamant feminist themselves. Despite this, many are still finding it hard to get to grips with what feminism actually means.

Emma Watson recently made a speech at a UN summit for the #HeForShe campaign highlighting some of the issues surrounding feminism. She pointed out that, ‘fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating’. In the same speech, Watson defined feminism as: ‘The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes’. She and many others in the spotlight (Angelina Jolie, Louise Mensch and Beyonce, to name but a few) are now clear on what being a feminist actually involves and are ready to fight for this cause.

In light of the current wave of acceptance towards feminism, many people I know are starting to question their views and wonder how what they do relates to feminist issues.

We, the women of today, ask ourselves this very question every single day. Most of my friends have graduated and are now working in their first or second jobs. People spend 80,000 hours of their lives in work on average. So shouldn’t we be asking – how feminist is my job?

My answer is: Very. I am extremely proud of this. My boss is 27 years old and is female. Most of my colleagues are strong women who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, even in intense circumstances. The environment we work in is not easy on women – it can be sexist and judgemental. Some service users are completely unaware of feminist issues, with one of them indicating that he has never really listened to a woman before. Another user asked a colleague and me why such beautiful girls would work in a place like this.

White Ribbon Week is a week in November during which everyone is asked to pledge not to commit violence against women and girls. This year my colleagues ran a cake sale, gave out white ribbons and asked staff and service users to sign the pledge. Most importantly, information and discussion groups were delivered on the topic of domestic violence, which made our users aware of the issue and encouraged them to think about their attitudes towards women.

According to the feminist campaigner, Zoe Margolis: ‘In society as a whole there is a preoccupation with women’s bodies, their clothing – or lack of – and how they present themselves in public, and it is this that we need to battle’. Promoting feminism in the workplace (especially if your workplace is a men’s prison) is a great starting point for winning the battle against misogyny.

My workplace is feminist. My workplace is Pentonville Prison. I work for Phoenix Futures, the drugs and alcohol provider of psychosocial services. The women I work with are role models of prosocial behaviour. They provide support to men who need them to be strong while giving them practical advice and information about drug and alcohol use. The women I work with inspire and motivate as part of their job. I work for Phoenix Futures and I am proud of this.



Feminism http://feminist.com/

White Ribbon Week http://www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/FAQs

Pentonville Prison http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_Prison_Pentonville

Phoenix Futures http://www.phoenix-futures.org.uk/

(Published in retrospect – I stopped working at HMP Pentonville in March 2015.)

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