According to one organizer, Allison Francis, there were trends within Occupy Boston that were becoming oppressive to women, and a “spur of the moment” decision was made at a General Assembly last week to announce the formation of a Women’s Caucus to create a “space to talk about changing that [oppression].” Some concerns discussed in the Caucus included the safety of women in the encampment, men dominating discussions, and the lack of female leadership and representation. Last Saturday, October 15th, the Occupy Boston’s Women’s Caucus met for the first time to discuss issues specifically pertaining to women within the Occupy Boston movement.
The immediate concern of the second Occupy Boston Women’s Caucus meeting, consisting of around 60 women, was whether to invite men to participate in the discussions. Despite some opposition, the decision was to block the presence of men in the Women’s Caucus but to periodically reevaluate the decision. The Women’s Caucus also defined a welcome woman as anyone who honestly self-identified as female. There was an issue regarding documentation of the meetings, including writing this article, and some members felt that photography, videography and so on were voyeuristic, invasive, or just obnoxious. Members decided that women planning to document the Women’s Caucus needed to “take a temperature check” on their plans at the beginning of discussion.
The Women’s Caucus will meet every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and every Saturday at 3:30 p.m, location to be determined. Future agenda points include female leadership, safety, childcare, the formation of a women’s resource tent, and a public march specifically addressing women’s issues. For more detailed information, you can follow #OBwomen on Twitter, or e-mail OBwomen@gmail.com to get on the listserv. If you have an idea for a teach-in at the Free School University (FSU) on topics of gender or the oppression of women, you can contact Rachel McNeil at rachel@freeschooluniversity.