International Women’s Day is a global celebration which recognises the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world, while calling to advance the movement for gender equality.
Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day unites countless women’s groups, charities and organisations around the world who are pushing for positive change. This year, the campaign theme is #BalanceForBetter, which encourages people to work together to build a fairer, gender-balanced society.
This year, there’s a host of inspiring events taking place across the capital. From inclusive dance workshops to women’s history walks, feminist panel discussions to keynote speeches from legendary activists, find inspiration in our roundup of the best #IWD2019 events in London.
WOW – Women of the World Festival (8 – 9 March 2019)
The annual WOW Festival at the Southbank Centre is always a highlight in the feminist calendar. The two-day festival celebrates the power and potential of girls and women and confronts the causes of inequality, with a packed programme of discussions, debates, performances and activism from high-profile speakers.
Now in its ninth year, WOW have curated another kickass line-up over the course of the two-day festival, with standout keynote speeches from legendary activist Angela Davis, author and filmmaker Naomi Klein and comedian Jo Brand.
Women in Focus Festival (8 – 10 March)
Taking place over the 8, 9, and 10 March, Poplar Union’s weekend-long Women In Focus Festival is dedicated to opening up discussion surrounding women’s rights, gender and what it means to be a woman in 2019.
Following the theme is ‘perception’, this year’s line-up is filled with a diverse mix of cabaret, music, dance, film workshops and talks from the likes of intergenerational arts pioneers Magic Me, LGBTQ+ support organisation East London Out Project, British-Bengali women’s group Nari Chetona, and many more.
Votes for Women at the Museum of London (until 10 March)
Marking the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, the Museum of London is approaching the end of a year-long exhibition commemorating the women who campaigned tirelessly for over 50 years to achieve votes for women.
The exhibition features iconic objects from the Museum’s vast Suffragette collection, including Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal. There’s also a newly commissioned documentary that focuses the spotlight on the lives of some of the lesser-known suffragettes, such as Janie Terrero, who was force-fed at Holloway after going on hunger-strike, and Kitty Marshall, who was skilled in jui-jitsu.
GLAMOUR Beauty Festival March 8-10 at the Saatchi Gallery
We may be biased but the GLAMOUR Beauty Festival is the perfect place to celebrate females. Come along with your best gal pals or your mother and treat yourself to some inspiring beauty treatments and listen to our empowering panel talks, including the Beauty, Feminism and Empowerment talk on Friday night starring Tina Daheley, Scarlett Curtis and Gina Martin. Get your tickets here.
Spirit Forward London at Southbank (4 March)
Spirit Forward is a one-day event centred on the theme: You Don’t Need to be in Charge to Lead, recognising that the first step in being a change-maker is to acknowledge that you already are one.
The speaker line-up includes the likes of Laura Haynes, Gina Martin, Patrick Harrison, June Sarpong, Fatima Bhutto, Andrea Riseborough among many others, who will be discussing the most relevant gender and diversity issues of our time.
All ticket sales proceeds will go to charity partner, Dress for Success Greater London, a registered charity that empowers women into the workplace with free professional clothing and styling, interview coaching and ongoing support. Attendees are encouraged to bring any interview appropriate handbags, shoes and accessories for donation on the day.
Stories of Women 2019 (23 March)
As part of Women’s History Month, Southwark Cathedral are holding a day of talks about women, looking at their stories, old and new. From true story of The Jamestown Brides, young Englishwomen traded for tobacco in early Virginia, to the controversial hanging of Eliza Fenning, these are the history lessons you wish you had at school.
Black Power Women of Brixton Walk (10 March)
The history of black people’s fight for civil rights in Britain has been largely overlooked in the history books, and the role of women in this struggle has been even more marginalised. The Black History Walks aim to redress with their guided walking tours take you through hundreds of years of the African presence and contribution to London’s way of life.
This International Women’s Day, there’s a special guided Black Power walk that will illuminate walk will show the life, times, and activities of numerous African/Caribbean women in Brixton, such as housing activist Olive Morris, newspaper publisher and campaigner Claudia Jones, the Black Panther Women of Brixton and many more.