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UK Politicians, Inspired by V-Day, Perform "The Vagina Monologues" at Labour Party Conference in Blackpool, England

10/24/2002

February 2003 V-Day event in the works, to be held in front of British Parliament.

Four female labour party politicians performed "The Vagina Monologues" with V-Day Founder/Playwright Eve Ensler on September 29th bringing the issues of violence against women to the center of UK policymaking

On Sunday September 29, 2002, four female Labour Party MP’s performed The Vagina Monologues at the Labour Party Conference, Blackpool. While Prime Minster Tony Blair spent the day in debates regarding Great Britain’s involvement in the attack on Iraq, over 200 politicians, trade unionists, civil servants, and fellow supporters of women’s rights watched the female MP's: Margaret Moran MP for Luton South, Oona King MP- Bethnal Green and Bow, Linda Gilroy MP- Don Valley and Caroline Flint MP – Doncaste, and celebrity performers comedian Nina Wadia and the play’s award-winning author and V-Day Founder Eve Ensler, present another view of the world - a view of a world without violence against women and girls. The performance launched the V-Day's 2003 campaign in the UK and was sponsored by UNISON, the public service trade union, as part of its campaign against violence against women.

V-Day is a global movement working towards a day when violence against women ceases and it is this vision that inspired the Labour MP's to bring the play into the heart of policy making. In the UK, V-Day is targeting politicians nationally, and in addition to the Labour Party Conference, the Scottish National Party Conference also hosted a production of the play by a group of local women. Immediately following the performance in Blackpool, plans were set forth for a full-scale V-Day 2003 benefit (V-Day Parliament 2003) in front of Parliament in February.

At the Labour party Conference, the unusual but inspired cast performed to a rapt audience and the performance succeeded in raising over £1000 to be donated to eight appointed V-Day charities: Refuge, Women’s Aid Federation of England, FORWARD, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Greater London Domestic Violence Project, London Rape Crisis Centre, Southall Black Sisters and Newham Asian Women’s Project. Immediately following the Labour Party performance of "The Vagina Monologues", attendees, from civil servants, to nurses, to a male elementary school teacher, to a member of the Anti-Nazi League committed to staging V-Day benefits in 2003 to raise awareness and funds to end violence against women and girls. These were all women and men determined to support V-Day and take the campaign to end violence against women to the heart of their workplaces, staging the play at conferences and Annual General Meetings and beginning a V-Day revolution.

V-Day campaigns internationally to raise awareness and funds for grassroots groups and charities that work to end violence against women through co-ordinating local V-Day benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues by groups of women across the world.

Earlier this year around 1000 women and men across the United Kingdom staged 54 performances of The Vagina Monologues bringing the message of V-Day to their local communities and raising £128,050 for local charities. This determination of spirit was honoured in a reception hosted by Margaret Moran MP as well as Patricia Hewitt and Barbara Roche, Ministers for Women, on 23rd July 2002. A sell-out gala, V-Day London 2002, held at the Royal Albert Hall in April boasted over 30 celebrity performers - including Isabella Rossellini, Beverly Knight, Donna Air, Maureen Lipman, Caprice, Danni Minogue Josie Lawrence, Jenni Éclair and Lysette Antony dedicating their time and commitment to preventing violence against women.

In five years, V-Day has grown throughout the world from one benefit event in 1998 to over 800 V-Day benefits in 2002 where celebrations were held in an Anglican Church in Nova Scotia, a Maasai village in Kenya, a Lakota reservation in South Dakota, a stadium in Manila, a synagogue in Great Britain. There were sold out performances at Caesar's Palace in South Africa, The National Theater in Guatemala, The Royal Albert Hall in London, the Folies Bergeres in Paris, and the Apollo Theater in Harlem. At nearly 550 schools from Harvard to the HELP Institute in Selangor, Malaysia, from the University of the Philippines in Manila to the London School of Economics, over 7.5 million people were exposed to V-Day through its 2002 College Campaign. Roma women in Macedonia vowed to reverse ancient and heinous marriage practices that abuse women, girls were saved from female genital mutilation and allowed to be educated in Kenya, San Francisco was pronounced a Rape Free Zone by the City Council, Harlem was declared Vagina Friendly by the State Senator.

V-Day itself stages large-scale benefits and promotes innovative gatherings and programs (The Afghan Women's Summit, V-Day Safe House (Narok, Kenya is operational; house in Kabul, Afghanistan and Pine Ridge Reservaton, South Dakota, U.S.. are in the planning stages), The Stop Rape Contest, Indian Country Project, and more) to change social attitudes towards violence against women. In 2003, V-Day projects over 2003 V-Day benefit events will be staged during February-March 2003 to raise funds for local groups and awareness about the rampant issues of violence against women and girls throughout the world.

About V-Day

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a palpable energy, a fierce catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop worldwide violence against women and girls including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sexual slavery.

V-Day provides funding to create and nurture innovative programs to stop the violence.
Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of "The Vagina Monologues" to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities.

V-Day itself stages large-scale benefits and promotes innovative gatherings and programs (The Afghan Women's Summit, The Stop Rape Contest, Indian Country Outreach, and more) to change social attitudes towards violence against women. In 2002, more than 800 V-Day benefit events were presented by local volunteer activists around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls.

The V-Day movement is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world. V-Day, a non-profit corporation, distributes funds to grassroots, national, and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities" in 2001. In its first five years, the V-Day movement has raised over $14 million, with over $7 million raised in 2002 alone.

The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

Contact: Susan Celia Swan, (212) 445-3288, press@vday.org