“An equal world is an enabled world.”
Consider this a call to arms to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day. The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. This year’s theme, #EachforEqual, challenges us to “actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.” In other words, unity and collective action is the only way to create a gender equal world.
This concept of equality and balance is crucial in the fight for gender parity: cynics are quick to overlook that feminism requires co-operation from all genders, and that levelling the playing field may have to come as a result of men taking responsibility for their actions, past and present. 2020’s theme comes from an economic perspective, with IWD contending that a gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
According to UNESCO among the world’s 123 million illiterate youth, 76 million are female. These gender disparities remain persistent, with little change over time. IWD believe “The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth ….” So let’s make it happen.
There are a host of events running across the country to commemorate IWD 2020: in Glasgow, Operation Play Outdoors will be celebrating International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March from 12-3pm at Lang Craig’s Woodland. They have been working closely with 6 women’s groups throughout Glasgow and further afield to put together a range of female lead activities, with environmental organisations taking part to highlight some of the important work going on in and around Lang Craig’s to support biodiversity. Join them on Sunday 8th March for an outdoor celebration and feel free to bring your own picnic and make it a full day outdoors.
Edinburgh, however, hosts an even bigger variety of events this year. There is an extensive range of presentations and seminars in collaboration with Not9to5, “Woman 2020: Stories and Facts” covering important topics from “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” with Martin Hayward from the Equality & Human Rights Commission to “Women’s Leadership, Climate Change and Courage” with Lorna Slater from Homeward Bound, Orbital Marine Power Ltd and the Scottish Greens. Visit not9to5.co.uk for full details and more topics and speakers taking part.
And in line with this year’s focus on promoting equality in the workplace and professional achievement, the Scottish Chamber Choir wanted to mark this day by celebrating the achievements of women composers through the ages. Its impressive programme will include the mystic Medieval plainchant of Hildegard von Bingen, florid Renaissance polyphony of Leonora d’Este, lush French Romanticism of Lili Boulanger, and sacred works by contemporary British composers. This takes place on Sunday 8 March 2020, 6pm at St Giles Cathedral.
Starting 8th March in Edinburgh Printmakers, “Women Print” displays a collection of original prints by over 50 women artists from its print collection, including work by Sam Ainslie, Victoria Crowe, Kate Davis and many more. This unique exhibition showcases contemporary printmaking produced in their studio, as well as a diverse range of styles, subjects, and printmaking techniques spanning a period of three decades created by women. And sci-fi fans are in for a treat on Thu 12th March from 19.30 as Shoreline of Infinity hosts an IWD event that sees the likes of authors Laura Lam and Cat Hellisen, poet Jeda Pearl and many more showcasing their work and celebrating women’s voices in science fiction. This takes place in the Pleasance Cabaret Bar.
But as always, there is scope to create your own event or celebrate International Women’s Day in your own way. Given this year’s focus, perhaps there is a way you can promote equality in your work place. And you can at least support one of the many organisations fighting to support women throughout Scotland: the likes of Scottish Women’s Aid, Shelter Scotland, Glasgow Women’s Aid and LGBT+ Youth Scotland work tirelessly within their remit to protect the lives of girls and women across the country. So consider how you can make this year’s IWD really count and offer your much needed support where you can.