CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

How can the Women’s Equality Party campaign to close strip clubs?

21 February, 2019

The Griffin in Clerkenwell Road, Holborn, has secured a new licence, against opposition from the Women’s Equality Party

• HOW can the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) justify campaigning to close strip clubs without saying how women, deprived of this source of income, should support themselves and their families? (Campaigners fight on against lap-dancing clubs but The Griffin secures new licence, February 15).

The WEP says about stripping that: “Degradation of women is the business model” but our recently published research – What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Job Like This? – found that endemic low pay and exploitative conditions are rife in other jobs commonly done by women. In fact sex workers earned more per hour than even nurses and midwives.

Discrimination, sexual harassment, and workplace injury, were common across all the jobs in the study. The cost of childcare was prohibitively high which may account for why the majority of sex workers are mothers.

One of the strippers in our network has an autistic daughter. Her income is about to be cut because she is being moved over to Universal Credit.

She is trying to pick up more shifts at the club to cover the shortfall but is terrified of being found out and social services coming to take her children. Under what circumstance would campaigning to close strip clubs be a reasonable response to her situation?

When will the Women’s Equality Party drop its elitist “we know best what is good for you” attitude towards other women and support campaigns for a living wage across the board so no one is driven into prostitution by poverty, and for decriminalisation so sex workers have rights like other workers?

CARI MITCHELL
English Collective of Prostitutes

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