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Voices for Change

Everybody believes in social inclusion - or claims to. But there is little agreement on how to achieve it. Economic disadvantage is only half the story. What about systemic inequalities and prejudice, and poor access to health, justice and education? Voices for Change opens a dialogue between policy-makers and the communities and individuals that society shuts out.

Editor: Barbara Gunnell

EFF logoWith thanks to Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for supporting this dialogue.


Justice for asylum seekers: Back to the drawing board, Ms May

The British High Court has found the level of support given to asylum seekers ‘flawed’: a political calculation rather than an assessment of what constitutes an essential living need. We must force reason back into the system, says Sile Reynolds.

Law or compassion? The deportation of teenagers

In the past 5 years, over 500 young people who migrated as lone children have been removed after spending their formative years in the UK. We have a responsibility for their long term safety and flourishing, says Emily Bowerman.

A call to action in memory of the woman I never knew

At least 20 people have died in immigration detention in the UK: how many more must die before the UK changes its detention policy? The public must shout louder, says Eiri Ohtani. 

Death at Yarl’s Wood: Women in mourning, women in fear

On Sunday morning a 40 year old woman died at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire, England. Jennifer Allsopp spoke, via telephone, to a woman in Yarl’s Wood who knew her.

Refugee women in the UK: Pushing a stone into the sea

From personal experience I know that arrival in the UK for asylum seekers does not signal safety, but reform is a ‘chaser game’: refugee women are pressuring the Home Office to improve decision making and end detention, says Beatrice Botomani.

Citizenship deprivation: A new politics of nationalism?

As instances of citizenship deprivation rise in Britain year on year, we face a situation in which rather than the governed choosing their government, governments choose who they wish to govern. Agnes Woolley reports from an event at Middlesex University. 

The right of offenders to get back on track

As prison reformers celebrate changes to UK law on disclosing criminal records, the campaigning organisation Unlock asks whether the reforms go far enough

Lower aspirations for higher education

The British university system was until recently seen as one of the best in the world. Now students pay dearly for the privilege of supporting big business, says Barbara Gunnell 

Sun, sand...and indefinite detention

The UK’s second largest immigration detention centre is about to open in Weymouth. Jennifer Allsopp reports on local responses to the imminent presence of hundreds of foreigners, locked up off the coast of this small and friendly town. 

Refugee women in the UK: fighting back from behind bars

The experience of female asylum seekers is distinct to their gender, particularly when survivors of rape and torture, perpetrated by male state officials, are imprisoned and guarded by men here in the UK. Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi reports on the campaign to set them free.

Violence as a virus: the treatment

Following the riots in 2011, the UK government pledged to treat violence as a health issue. Niki Seth-Smith reports on a project that is doing just that, while millions are wasted in public money on surveillance, enforcement and gang crime.

Being a man: lost for words

Yiannis Baboulias went along to the Being a Man conference, hoping to explore how men who don’t want to partake in the oppressive status-quo of patriarchy, could proudly declare “not in our name", but he came away asking how men may uproot it if they are unable to articulate it.

Eva’s story

Eva arrived in Britain as a two-year old refugee. She was considered unfit for mainstream education and left her special needs school at 16 with no qualifications. Today she has a degree and is on the way to achieving her dream of becoming a fashion designer

"Rehearsing the revolution": theatre in Israel-Palestine

In Israel/Palestine, former combatants are using the Theatre of the Oppressed to move towards an end to the occupation. Recently London theatre group Cardboard Citizens invited a former Israeli officer to share his experience of making theatre for peace.

Government in the dock: destitution and asylum in the UK

In a landmark legal case, Refugee Action is taking the British government to court next week to challenge policies which leave thousands of asylum seekers hungry and destitute.

UK: life in limbo for Sudanese democracy activists

Britain remains blind to the reasons why threatened minorities and activists are forced to flee hostile regimes, treating those who seek asylum with hostility and disdain. We must recognise the bravery of those who want for their country the freedoms we take for granted.

Food bank nation: women in the home, the poor on the streets

The reasons why up to 500,000 people in the UK need emergency food aid are inherently gendered.  Low pay, the rise in food prices, and punitive welfare reforms work in tandem with regressive Tory gender policies to push women and the poor to the brink.

University Challenge: secular neutrality or religious privilege?

UK universities appear to be elevating the right to manifest religion and religious freedom over other rights, including freedom of expression and gender equality.  Students need to resist this tide of religious privilege in the interests of a secular and progressive university education, says Radha Bhatt

UK: will the Lords see through the Transparency of Lobbying Bill?

A Bill supposedly designed to restore trust in Parliament will obstruct the work of those who campaign for the disenfranchised, while allowing powerful corporations and industry lobbyists unscrutinised access to ministers.

The Modern Slavery Bill: does the British government really care?

If we are really serious about abolishing slavery in the west today, Rahila Gupta argues that we have to abolish immigration controls so that people can take action against their abusers without fearing deportation.

Criminalising forced marriage in the UK: why it will not help women

New proposals to criminalise forced marriage are due for their penultimate reading in the House of Lords this month. Amrit Wilson reports on one of the most strongly contested pieces of legislation relating to gender to go through Parliament in recent years

Neoliberal neopatriarchy: the case for gender revolution

We are living in a distinctive moment when neoliberal capitalism and neopatriarchy converge. Male dominance is no mere footnote to this new historic settlement. It is central. And feminism is decisive in the resistance, says Beatrix Campbell in conversation with Cynthia Cockburn

Black, male, care leaver, seeking asylum: access to higher education in Britain

Despite their determination and aspiration, many young asylum seekers are being barred from higher education by multiple discriminations. The current inquiry on Race and Higher Education must recognise this fact.  

Degrees of privilege

We pretend that the university entry system is broadly meritocratic. But in Britain the privately educated child of a professional family is three times more likely to get into a top university than the child of poorer parents. It will take radical reforms to reverse that.

Austerity policies in Europe are fuelling social injustice - and violating human rights

A new report by the Council of Europe provides detailed evidence that austerity measures have corroded civil and political rights and made economic, social and cultural rights less attainable.  Will the governments of Europe recognise the social cost of austerity – and can ‘human rights’ work as a tool of resistance?

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