International Women’s Day 2017

22nd Feb 2017

The time is fast approaching for us to celebrate a significant part of our annual calendar and one of my favourite events of the year – International Women’s Day. Founded in the early 1900s, IWD is a global celebration of the incredible social, economic, cultural and political achievements women have made but is also a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to create gender parity. Across the world celebrations will take place; in some countries it is seen as an equivalent event to Mother’s Day, and children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. In others, men take the time to honour the women in their lives and in many countries, it is an official holiday. We’re keen to make IWD a major event in Wales too!

I’m really excited about the events we have organised this year. We have such a mixture of amazing and inspirational speakers and performers from Wales taking part. We are excited to be working with Fizzi productions to put on a varied programme of free music, workshops, films, talks and exhibitions on Sunday March 12th at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea from 11am-3pm. Then from 3pm there will be a whole host of exciting free performances at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff culminating in a pop up, Jools Holland Hootenanny style ticketed event in the Weston Studio. Bring your family and friends and join in the festivities. All genders welcome!

On March 6th we will be hosting a fringe event, in partnership with Honno Welsh Women’s Press at Aberystwyth Arts Centre followed by a conference at Aberystwyth University on the 7th – and a series of talks, workshops and a women’s enterprise fair in Bangor University on the 4th of March.

The full programme can be found here: http://www.wenwales.org.uk/what-we-do/international-womens-day/

Our theme at WEN this year is “Creating an Equal Future”, with an emphasis on highlighting the voices of younger women and girls. Recent events such as the Women’s march show that young women are keen to engage with and speak up about gender issues. We need to listen! We have been working with Plan International UK in the past year on a Girl’s Rights report highlighting how it is to be a girl in Wales and across the UK. You can read the findings here: https://plan-uk.org/act-for-girls/girls-rights-in-the-uk

We are also excited to be working soon with Professor Emma Renold from Cardiff University to engage schools and youth groups across Wales with “AGENDA: A Young People’s Guide to Making Healthy Relationships Matter” (http://agenda.wales/).

Whilst we want to celebrate how far women have come, we also want to raise awareness on the barriers that still remain and how we can tackle them together. The gender pay gap and the struggle for workplace equality, lack of representation of women in political and public life and violence against women and girls are still huge issues in Wales. These, as well as ensuring the voices of women and girls are heard by government and decision makers in Wales, nationally and internationally are just some of the areas that WEN is working to influence, but we can’t do it all by ourselves! Join us as a member – www.wenwales.org.uk and add your voice to our fast-growing Wales wide network.

We are developing more information on each of these events and the work that we do year-round on our website. Looking forward to celebrating International Women’s Day 2017 with you.

Melissa Wood (Co-Director, WEN Wales)