This is a record of the meetings organised by Woman’s Place UK since our inception in September 2017, together with some details of the difficulties we have faced from people opposed to these meetings taking place.
We have also linked to any statements we made in relation to the meetings and any related news coverage of our meetings from reputable sources. We have not linked to articles which we believe to be scurrilous or written with malign intent.
For a more comprehensive overview of all the meetings being organised by women in the UK to discuss their rights see Maria MacLachlan’s website: My Peak Trans.
Read our statement on organising meetings.
Read our guidance on organising your own meeting
1. A Woman’s Place is on the Platform
Thursday, 23 November 2017
Venue: Friends Meeting House
Speakers: Linda Bellos, Helen Steel, Anne Ruzylo, Heather Brunskell-Evans, Judith Green (Chair)
Our first meeting was in response to women’s right to speak being threatened. We platformed Linda Bellos (who had been disinvited by a student society of a Cambridge College); Helen Steel (physically threatened and surrounded at London Anarchist Bookfair for defending women distributing leaflets); Anne Ruzylo (subject to harassment in her role as Women’s Officer of her Labour Party); and Heather Brunskell-Evans (sacked from her Women’s Equality Party spokeswoman role, for expressing her views on Radio 4).
There was no protest although we had had to inform the police about this message sent to us on Facebook, “If Isis only blow up one event this Christmas…”.
A recurrent accusation that is made against us is that Anne Ruzylo made offensive and abusive comments about trans women at this meeting. This accusation is entirely false.
See our statement Correcting misinformation about Cambridge meeting.
Other statements and coverage relating to this meeting:
A Woman’s Place is on the platform: an account of the difficulties organising the meeting by Judith Green
Linda Bellos barred in university row The Times
If Linda Bellos is seen as a risk then progressive politics has lost its way Claire Heuchan The Guardian
Are women born or made? The Economist
Labour Officials quit in transgender row The Times
Labour Executive committee resigns over harassment claims Bexhill Observer
2. A Woman’s Place is Under Threat
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Venue: Friends Meeting House
Speakers: Bea Campbell, Kristina Jayne Harrison, Ruth Serwotka, Beth Aze (Chair).
The venue received calls calling us a hate group and asking them to cancel. There was a very small protest outside, but no trouble.
Secret location for women’s rights debate amid fears activists will disrupt it Manchester Evening News
3. A Woman’s Place is Speaking Out
Thursday, 8 February 2018
Venue: conference venue
Speakers: Jo Bartosch, Lynne Harne, Stephanie Davies-Arai, Judith Green, Raquel Rosario Sanchez (Chair).
There was mobilisation for a masked protest advertised on Facebook and an open letter circulated against the meeting, naming our Chair. The local organiser informed the police as a courtesy about the possible protest and our arrangements with the venue. Police then visited, following which the Church steward felt it was no longer a routine booking and had to inform more senior people. They deliberated and cancelled our booking the day before.
An alternative venue was successfully found and the meeting went ahead.
The threats and intimidation by a student against our student Chair became the subject of a university disciplinary case, still unresolved and recently reported on by The Times.
Read the organisers’ account of organising the Bristol meeting
Our statement on the slurs made against WPUK in relation to the Bristol meeting
Open Letter: Freedom of speech at the University of Bristol Feminist Current
What’s wrong with closed-minded snowflakes Julie Bindel Unherd
4. A Woman’s Place Loves Women’s Rights
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Venue: Out of the Blue Drill Hall
Speakers: Jackie Mearns, Emma Wiles, and a mother of a detransitioned teen (speaking anonymously).
There was an intimidating protest outside with protestors banging pots and pans throughout the meeting – audible in the video of Jackie Mearns’ talk. After the meeting, the venue was relentlessly targeted on social media with negative reviews and accusations of transphobia.
Vonny Le Clerc wrote about this meeting for the National
5. A Woman’s Place is Making a Stand
Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Venue: Bloomsbury Baptist Church.
Speakers: Steph Pike, Lucy Masoud, Pilgrim Tucker, Megan Dobney (Chair).
There was a small protest by Sisters Uncut outside the venue, interfering with Church facilities for the homeless. One woman had her glasses knocked off by a protestor.
Paula Lamont was subsequently bullied off BECTU picket line at the Picturehouse on International Women’s Day on account of being recognised as having been at the 27th February meeting.
Transgender activists and the real war on women by Judith Green for The Spectator
Why do we need a new women’s movement The Morning Star
6. A Woman’s Place is a Sanctuary
Thursday, 15 March 2018
Venue: Priory Rooms (FMH)
Speakers: Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, Debbie Hayton, Aysha Iqbal and Karen Ingala Smith (Chair).
No threats against the meeting received by WPUK, but threats of disruption were made by transactivists before the meeting.
7. A Woman’s Place is Speaking Up in Wales
Thursday, 12 April 2018
Venue: local hall
Speakers: Jeni Harvey, Raquel Rosario Sanchez, Helen Mary Jones AM and Ruth Serwotka
This meeting had to be moved at the last minute when the advertised venue cancelled our booking after pressure from transactivists who made defamatory claims about WPUK
A new meeting venue was hastily arranged, and the individual involved in arranging the new venue was then harassed about this.
Feminists hit back after Cardiff hotel cancels WPUK meeting The Morning Star
Conviction of trans activist for assault at Hyde Park (with comment on Cardiff meeting) April 2018
8. A Woman’s Place is Ours to Define
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Venue: Friends Meeting House
Speakers: Stephanie Davies-Arai, Nic Williams, Raquel Rosario Sanchez and Philipa Harvey.
This was the second attempt by Oxford women to organise a meeting. A meeting to be held at the University in January 2018 was cancelled under pressure from activists. A large protest was held outside the venue, disrupting a survivors group meeting (who had nothing to do with our meeting) and distressing staff of the venue.
Our statement on attempts to stop the Oxford meeting
Gaby Hinsliff wrote about this meeting for the Guardian.
A Woman’s Place is ours to define Oxford Prospect
9. A Woman’s Place is to be Inquiring
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Venue: local community centre
Speakers: Catia Frietas, Hannah Clarke, Debbie Hayton, Sarah Johnson
We held this meeting in Maria Miller’s constituency as she was the Chair of the Women & Equalities Select Committee whose recommendations were, at the time, the subject of the GRA government consultation. Maria Miller was invited but was unable to attend and sent an apology. This is the only meeting where the local authority actively supported the holding of the meeting on premises they funded. A local government official attended the meeting.
No protests or negative comments about the meeting were received by WPUK or published in the press.
10. A Woman’s Place is Standing Her Ground
Newcastle upon Tyne
Thursday, 24 May 2018
Venue: Northumbria University
Speakers: Dawn Furness, Heather Brunskell-Evans, Judith Green, Bea Campbell (Chair).
The venue had to be rearranged after original venue cancelled. Following a risk assessment, the University agreed to host us in accordance with their free speech policy with the stipulation that all speakers had to confirm in writing they would comply with the university’s equality and diversity policy, and that we should pay an extra £300 towards extra security staff.
There was a small protest outside.
11. A Woman’s Place is to Encourage Debate
Thursday, 7 June 2018
Venue: local hall
Speakers: Gill Smith, Ruth Serwotka, Kristina Jayne Harrison.
There was no protest against this meeting; the only one of our meetings to have open local advertising before the event.
Public Meeting: Transgender Law Changes Hebden Bridge News
12. A Woman’s Place is on the Frontline
Wednesday, 20 June 2018
Venue: local community centre
Speakers: Phillipa Harvey, Jeni Harvey, Kristina Jayne Harrison, Megan Dobney (Chair).
There was difficulty in securing a venue and a forced change of venue after a local campaign of vilification and disinformation about WPUK. A bomb threat against meeting was considered viable and investigated by local police. Police cars drove by the venue throughout the event to ensure safety of attendees.
Read an account by local organisers
Police investigating bomb threat against Hastings meeting Hastings Observer
The great gender debate Hastings Online Times
WPUK: debate or hate? Hastings Online Times
Why are women who discuss gender getting bomb threats? The Spectator
13. A Woman’s Place is Turning the Tide
Monday, 16 July 2018
Venue: The Jury’s Inn
Speakers: Kathleen Stock, Helen Saxby, Gill Smith, Ruth Serwotka, Philipa Harvey (Chair)
A booking was made with Friends Meeting House Brighton. Local organisers met staff at the venue and discussed in detail the nature of the meeting and that previous meetings had been protested. The venue was happy to go ahead and they suggested an evening when potential disruption could be minimised.
After lobbying by individuals, FMH Brighton cancelled our booking with only 5 days’ notice giving us no opportunity to address concerns that had been raised or to meet with them, despite asking for a meeting.
We secured two other venues, both of which were fully briefed about the nature of the meeting. One of the organisers went in to the Jury’s Inn and met with staff and gave them a full briefing on our campaign and that previous meetings had been protested. They were happy to go ahead.
On the evening of the meeting, large noisy protests were set up at both entrances to the hotel. Police were in attendance. After the meeting had started, the hotel management approached us and said they wanted to cancel the meeting. They also said the hotel was being inundated with abusive phone calls which were upsetting the staff.
We were very concerned for the safety of our attendees if they had to leave and we felt aggrieved that a booking made in honesty and good faith was now under threat because of a protest. We persuaded them that the best option was to let the meeting continue. We agreed to finish early and discussed how to enable attendees at the meeting to exit the building safely through a range of different exits.
The meeting went ahead and was concluded early at 9.15 as promised to the hotel management. Many women were afraid to leave through the main exits and we had to escort several of them out through the car park and side exits. Some women went to the bar hoping the protest would disperse and they could leave later without fear.
Despite the meeting ending at 9.15pm, the protests continued until at least 10.30pm causing great, and unnecessary, inconvenience to hotel guests. Several came down to complain about the noise.
For more detail on these events see our statement after the Brighton meeting
Someone created a fake Facebook account posing as an attendee, using someone else’s photograph, and posted lies about the meeting. Our statement on that here.
Our statement after the Brighton meeting
Two Views: Woman’s Place meeting in Brighton Brighton & Hove Independent
14. A Woman’s Place Takes Nerves of Steel
Thursday, 20 September 2018
Venue: a city centre pub
Speakers: Michele Moore, Helen Steel, Sian Griffiths, Zlakha Ahmed
A threat was made by ticket holder on Twitter to publicise venue. The landlady of the pub came under intense pressure by transactivists and councillors to repudiate the meeting. She wrote this response to criticisms of her and WPUK. She also made an official complaint to Leeds council about allegedly libellous comments made by two councillors.
Torrential rain, flooding and road closures hampered the arrival of speakers and attendees but the meeting went ahead.
The speech Michele Moore gave that night has had over 28,000 views. She has since come under attack for speaking out, with attempts to have her removed as editor of Disability & Society which she has managed to resist.
15. A Woman’s Place is a Safe Port
Labour Party Conference Fringe Event (Unofficial)
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Venue: city conference centre
Speakers: Lucy Masoud, Helen Watts, Ann Sinnott, Debbie Hayton, Ruth Serwotka, Megan Dobney (Chair)
There was no protest at this meeting, but there was condemnation of it on social media and a counter meeting was organised.
This meeting was reported on by BBC Politics Live. Watch the report here.
16. A Woman’s Place is Speaking the Truth
Friday, 28 September 2018
Tickets: 200 (all refunded)
Venue: a city pub
Speakers: @STILLTish, Karen Ingala Smith, Nic Williams, Stephanie Davies Arai
This meeting was cancelled by Leeds Council at around noon on the day of the meeting. Initially they cited a health and safety issue with the room booked but later conceded it was because of pressure from transactivists. A statement made by Judith Blake was challenged by WPUK and we later held a meeting with her to challenge the decision. We were supported in this by some local councillors and the event created a lot of press coverage and local debate.
The WPUK meeting went ahead at a local pub for those who were able to get there.
A Woman’s Place is in Leeds Initial statement by WPUK October 2018
Dear Leeds Council Our letter to Cllr Judith Blake rebutting Leeds Council’s claims November 2018
Meeting with Leeds Council WPUK report on meeting with Judith Blake February 2019
Leeds feminist event cancelled at the 11th hour by council after transphobic claims Yorkshire Evening Post
Freedom of speech in Leeds Lauren Hamstead Yorkshire Evening Post October 2018
Leeds City Council censor strikes again? The Culture Vulture
Welcome to Leeds women now shut up Jonny Best
17. A Woman’s Place Is to Be Heard
Thursday, 1 November 2018
Venue: arts centre
Speakers: Sarah Ditum, Clara Greed, Raquel Rosario Sanchez, Sarah Johnson, Bo Novak (Chair)
There was a small protest.
Read an account by local organisers.
18. A Woman’s Place is at the Bar
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Venue: a city bar
Speakers: Rosa Freedman, Julian Norman, Ruth Serwotka, Sarah Johnson (Chair)
There was a small protest outside. Rosa Freedman cited a pattern of harassment by students.
19. A Woman’s Place is Resolute
Monday, 21 January 2019
Venue: Marx Memorial Library
Speakers: Ruth Serwotka, Lucy Masoud, Karen Ingala Smith, Kiri Tunks, Philipa Harvey
This meeting was to launch the WPUK New Year Resolutions for 2019
There was no protest at this meeting.
Feminists call for rational debate on gender and the law The Morning Star
20. A Woman’s Place is Breaking Ground
Monday, 25 February 2019
Venue: Friends Meeting House
Speakers: Hibo Wardere, Linda Bellos, Kiri Tunks
The meeting was protested by a small group of people who stood right by the entrance with a banner and rejected attempts at dialogue. They took photos of attendees. After the meeting had started, they set off a fire alarm.
21. A Woman’s Place is Made to Last
Monday, 15 April 2019
Venue: a local theatre
Speakers: Jo Phoenix, Nicola Williams, Judith Green, Viv Pointon (Chair)
There was no protest.
22. A Woman’s Place is Back in Town
Monday, 20 May 2019
Venue: Bloomsbury Baptist Church
Speakers: Meghan Murphy, Julie Bindel, Selina Todd, Maya Forstater. Ruth Serwotka (Chair)
There was no protest.
Helen Lewis wrote about this meeting for the New Statesman.
Ros Sitwell wrote about this meeting for the Morning Star.
Inspired, motivated and ready to speak out – an account from a ticket holder
23. A Woman’s Place is on the Podium
Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Venue: QE II Centre
Speakers: Emma Hilton, Sharron Davies, Victoria Hood, Nicola Williams, Judith Green, Kiri Tunks (Chair)
A protest was organised and publicised on social media. It was later called off and there was no protest at this event.
A Woman’s Place is on the podium – an account from a ticketholder
I never learnt to swim – text of an email from a supporter which was read out at the meeting
Self-ID will stop women completing on an equal playing field The Morning Star
24. A Woman’s Place is at Conference
Monday 23rd September
Venue: Local community centre
Speakers: Dani Ahrens, Onjali Rauf, Kay Green, Kiri Tunks (Chair)
This meeting was subject to a co-ordinated slur campaign which led to a last minute change of venue.
The meeting was also subject to an aggressive and intimidating protest by over 100 activists. Despite a police presence, the protestors were allowed to congregate in close promixmity to the entrance, blocking the pavement, access to and exit from the venue. A splinter group of protestors went to the back of the building where they were permitted by the police to kick and bang on the windows of the meeting room for two hours.
The protest was publicised and supported by delegates to Labour Party conference and Labour Party staff members, one of whom tweeted about the protestors failure to adhere to Labour Party principles or rule.
Over 75% of the attendees were members or delegates to the Conference. Also in attendance were Labour staff members.
Woman’s Place UK has submitted a formal complaint to both the Labour Party and Sussex Police.
Women’s Meeting besieged by raging Crowd, Morning Star
Hundreds of protestors picket women’s rights meeting for hours, Brighton Argus
Activist says protest was not peaceful at WPUK meeting Brighton Argus
Our rebuttal of P*nk News report, P*nk ‘News’ allegedly in Brighton
25. A Woman’s Place is at the lectern
Friday 25th October
Venue: Oxford Examination Halls
Speakers: Allison Bailey (Chair), Selina Todd, Susan Matthews, Raquel Rosario Sanchez
The meeting went ahead without obstruction. A protest was organised by Trans Action Oxford but this was held away from the venue.
Trans Action Oxford published a statement about WPUK and our meeting. You can read our rebuttal here.
Demonstration in Oxford to support transgender people Oxford Mail 22nd Octobber 2019
Woman’s Place UK insists it is not transphobic Oxford Mail 22nd October 2019
The Oxford Mail has more recently reported on the cancellation of a workshop by Rachel Ara at Oxford Brookes and reported comments about Woman’s Place UK and Selina Todd which we consider to be defamatory. We have been offered a right of reply and are awaiting publication of this.
Free speech at Oxford: do women have the right to defend their sex? Michael Biggs Oxford Magazine, Hilary Term 2020
26. A Woman’s Place is marching on together
Friday 22nd November
Venue: Leeds Civic Hall
Speakers: Louise Moody, Thomasin Pick, Karen Ingala Smith, Ruth Serwotka
The meeting was held in Leeds Civic Hall, the venue which cancelled on us at very short notice 28th November 2018. Following that meeting we were in communication with Judith Blake and members of Leeds council. We are delighted that our booking was honoured this time.
There was a demonstration outside Leeds Civic Hall of around 25 people. They dispersed around 20 minutes after the meeting had started.
You can read our statement on the cancellation of the first meeting here.
You can read our open letter to Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds Council here.
You can read a report of our meeting with Judith Blake here.
Women’s Liberation 2020
Saturday 1st February
Venue: Institute of Education, University College London
Speakers: Pragna Patel, Joanna Cherry QC MP, Maya Forstater, Joan McAlpine MSP, Julie Bindel, Kiri Tunks, Sophie Scott, Holly Smith and over 80 other contributors
Hosted and co-organised by UCL Women’s Liberation Special Interest Group, this conference brought together nearly 1000 people to reflect on the gains made for women’s rights since the first Women’s Liberation Conference held in 1970 and to discuss what more needs to be done to achieve equality and justice for women and girls.
You can see a record of all the sessions and contributors here.
The conference was attended by several press and media representatives including the Morning Star which published several articles about the day and BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour which ran a report on the event on Friday 6th February.
A Woman’s Place is in the House of Lords
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
Venue: House of Lords Committee Room
Speakers: Kathleen Stock, Julian Norman and Raquel Rosario Sanchez, Baroness Winterbourne (Chair)
In addition to our public meetings, we were invited to organise a panel discussion in the House of Lords hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne.
Around 70 people attended this invitation-only event.
There was no protest.
We will update this record with reports from meetings as they happen.
Films of speakers from our meetings can be found on our YouTube channel.
29fth August 2019