Feminists Evicted from Women’s Library

10 Mar



Contact: Jo Joyce – 07804 852 291


At 3.30pm on 9 March feminist protestors were evicted from their two-day occupation of The Women’s Library [1]. Defiant to the end, women had to be dragged from the soon-to-be-closed building by High Court Bailiffs and Police. Outside they were met with cheers from a one hundred-strong crowd of supporters.


The world-renowned library had been occupied the previous day, International Women’s Day, by a coalition of activists from feminist groups, UK Uncut, Occupy and Disabled People Against the Cuts. This daring and audacious action highlighted the disastrous impact of government spending cuts on women [2].


The occupation succeeded in extending the opening of ‘Treasures of The Women’s Library: The Long March to Equality’ which ironically was scheduled to close on International Women’s Day. During Friday and Saturday, people of all ages flocked to the library to visit the exhibition, and take part in a programme of feminist discussion and workshops.


Occupier Josie Foreman, a University History Lecturer said: ‘Holding onto the history of women’s struggle for equality becomes even more important in a moment like this, when the government is closing women’s refuges and shutting down children’s centres. The Women’s Library reminds us that these are hard-won gains for which women have fought for centuries. We will not allow them to be taken away from us so easily. Acting in the tradition of the suffragettes, we are willing to take direct action for what we believe in. In this time of savage austerity, we do indeed need ‘Deeds, not Words’.




Notes to Editors


Women affected by the library’s closure and austerity cuts more widely are available for interview.


[1] The Women’s Library is due to close on 22 March 2013. On 1 January London Metropolitan University divested custodianship of the world-renowned UNESCO awarded archive collection, which passed to London School of Economics. The collection will be moved out of its purpose built, heritage lottery funded building in London’s East End, to the fourth floor of LSE’s academic library.


[2] For more on the gendered impact of the cuts, see:




What’s happening at the occupation today?

9 Mar

Saturday 9th:

9:00 – 10:00  Breakfast

10:00 – 11:00  Morning Meeting

12:00 MWR March

12:00 – 13:00:  What do we mean by a feminist occupation?

14.00-15.00: Feminist Sex and Relationship Education

15:00 – 16:00:    Roundtable:  Precarity & Gender – what options for future organizing

16.00-17.00: Theatre of the Oppressed

17:00 – 18:00:  Mental Health Activism, Creating Accessible Spaces

18:00-19:30:  Meeting

19:30 – 20:30  Dinner

21:00  Music & entertainment evening

A selection of media coverage

9 Mar




BBC Radio London: The Breakfast Show http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0151rvl (at 01:44:30)

BBC Radio London: Drive Time http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0151rvv (at 1:36:56)

BBC London News Roundup http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01r28cg/BBC_London_News_08_03_2013 (at 11:02)

8 Mar


photo (1)

Contact: Jo Joyce – 07804 852 291


Seventy activists from feminist groups, Occupy, UK Uncut, Solidarity Federation and Disabled People Against Cuts have today occupied London’s historic Women’s Library in a daring bid to save it from closure.


In a secret action, a small group of women from the specially-formed Reclaim It! group led the take-over of the library in central London at 1.30pm. Within minutes they were joined by a larger crowd of protestors who had been led to the location by the organisers from two meeting points.


The occupation is part of a growing wave of feminist anger against the government’s austerity regime. Banners hung from the occupied building highlight the effect the cuts are having on women, such as the nearly 30,000 women turned away from refuges last year due to lack of space.


University history lecturer and library user Josie Foreman said: ‘The Women’s Library houses a world-renowned collection of women’s history. Much of its archive documents women’s struggles for equality. At a time when women are bearing the brunt of this government’s savage cuts, cuts which compound the gender inequality of our society, this history is more important than ever. We are here to fight for our right to access that history, which is our history.’


The occupation was planned to mark International Women’s Day, ironically the day The Women’s Library exhibition ‘The Long March to Equality’ was due to end pending the building’s closure.


Local resident and mother Jane Summers said: ‘Women have suffered the brutal blows of this government’s attacks on vulnerable people. Cuts have ripped vital services from the heart of our communities and endangered lives through the reckless closure of women’s refuges and domestic violence services. In occupying The Women’s Library, a treasure trove of women’s history, we stand in the tradition of the suffragettes and Greenham Common protestors in our realisation that at certain moments in history it is ‘deeds, not words’ that matter.’



Notes to Editors


Women affected by the library’s closure and austerity cuts more widely are available for interview.


The Women’s Library is at 25 Old Castle St, London E1 7NT photo (2) photo (3) photo

The Occupation Has Begun!

8 Mar

We have successfully occupied the Women’s Library – the atmosphere is jolly and lively.  We have music, food and a programme of events.  Come join us and spread the word!

The Women’s Library is based at 25 Old Castle Street, E1 7NT (Aldgate)