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Row erupts at Women's Liberation Conference 50th anniversary

Historian Selina Todd was dropped from the agenda because of her association with Woman’s Place UK but was later reinvited after a show-of-hands

A HISTORIAN dropped from the agenda of a feminist conference because of her association with Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) was reinvited into the hall yesterday after a show-of-hands vote.

Oxford University scholar Selina Todd was booked to give a short “thank you” speech during the event at the university’s Exeter College on Saturday that commemorated the 50th anniversary of Ruskin’s inaugural Women’s Liberation Conference.

Ms Todd said that she was “shocked” to be told by organisers that the evening prior that she could attend, but not speak.

She added: “The organisers say that this is because of pressure from trans activists and Feminist Fightback.”

Ms Todd said that she refutes allegations that she is transphobic.

Panel member Lola Olufemi said that she pulled out of speaking because she felt that organisers had not done enough to investigate Ms Todd’s associations with WPUK, which she accused of transphobia.

WPUK is pushing for ministers to consult more widely about changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which would allow people to legally self-identify as the opposite sex without a gender dysphoria diagnosis. It rejects accusations that it is transphobic.

Ms Olufemi tweeted: “TERF [trans-exclusionary feminist] links cut across universities, women’s services + public institutions. They have no place in my vision or understanding of the political possibilities that feminism offers us.”

Footage shows audience members at the event demanding to know why Ms Todd was “silenced.” She was invited back after a show-of-hands vote by a majority of those present, including veterans from the original 1970 Women’s Liberation conference such as Sheila Rowbotham, Sue O’Sullivan and Sally Alexander.

National Education Union general secretary Kevin Courtney wrote on Twitter: “This week I spoke at an event about threats to freedom of speech — it focussed on the police’s listing of progressive organisations on a sheet labelled ‘counter terrorism policing’.”

“But that isn’t the only threat to free speech #IStandWithSelina”.

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