As part of an inspiring community partnership between Birmingham Museum Trust and homelessness charity Shelter, developed alongside National Partners exhibition Women Power Protest, women from Birmingham travelled to London at the end of last year to meet with Birmingham MP Jess Phillips in the Houses of Parliament.
The theme of the day was women’s activism, and in line with the engagement work around the Women Power Protest exhibition, Birmingham Museums Trust’s Learning Officer, Jon Sleigh facilitated a meeting with MP Jess Phillips as a way for women, including those from Shelter Birmingham and The Precious Trust, to take their stories to Westminster.
Jess Phillips opened the meeting talking about what she sees as the real people and problems in Birmingham, primarily homelessness, immigrant housing issues and domestic violence against women and girls. She stated her frustration around the disconnect between the issues on the streets and the bubble of parliament.
“As a parliamentarian the biggest issue I deal with is violence against women in all of its forms. I’m using people’s stories to try and change the law in these buildings”
Sharing from Shelter Birmingham
Taiba Rafakat from Shelter, shared her views and echoed feelings around the issues of domestic violence against women and the lack of support if they stand up for themselves or try to get help. Jess Phillips’ response was heartfelt, she is also frustrated with the lack of support from the state;
“We have to create space for women to come forward and not be put in prison for being abused. Women with no recourse to public funds.”