My name is Raquel. I’m 28 years old. I’m a writer and campaigner from the Dominican Republic.
I’ve been involved in women’s rights campaigning for a while and I am horrified by the state of discourse in the United Kingdom. As an immigrant, I thought England would be a free and democratic society where women could express political opinions without ever having to fear violence while discussing their hard-won legal rights. I was disappointed to discover that when it comes to conversations of sex and gender, abusing women has, sadly, become the norm. I’m concerned about the top-down, anti-democratic way that changes to legislations and policies regarding sex and gender have been taking place, not only in the UK but worldwide, and I’m keen to do whatever I can to change that.
I firmly believe that women have a right to participate in political conversations freely, without censorship, threats or any form of intimidation. This is particularly important when it comes to legislation that have a direct impact on the lives of women and girls.
Women’s suffrage is not “just” about the right to cast a ballot on election day. It is also about the right to participate in political affairs, without restrictions. It is shameful that women’s voices were ignored and dismissed by previous Women and Equality ministers. Regardless of where you stand on the GRA proposed reforms, we all have a duty to raise the level of this conversation so that everyone can speak freely and be heard. There is no place for threats and intimidation in politics. If we want this democratic society to function properly, then it is imperative that we all do our best to end the climate of fear, hostility and violence that has, unfortunately, become the norm for women’s rights campaigners in the UK.