Did you learn about women artists, politicians and scientists at school? Do you think women are generally respected and remembered as much as men?
What is it? Why is it celebrated?
International Women’s Day (IWD) is on the 8th March. It is a global celebration of women – their importance now in our lives now as well as their past achievements – through special events, talks, festivals and more. It is also about questioning stereotypes and creating equality. See the web page https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ and the twitter page #EachforEqual for more information. The theme for 2020 is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.
Women have faced (and still) face prejudice and difficulties in many countries, but have been strong to overcome these. Many are ordinary women like mothers or students standing up for equality within their communities. Here are some examples of famous women who have achieved great things within many fields like education – Malala Yousafzai* and Oprah Winfrey; politics – Queen Elizabeth I & II, Queen Victoria, Indira Gandhi; human rights – Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou; climate change – Greta Thunberg, Wangari Maathai*; exploration – Amelia Earhart, Amy Johnson, Ellen MacArthur; charity – Mother Theresa*, Florence Nightingale; scientific and mathematical discovery – Marie Curie*, Ada Lovelace; and the arts – Anne Frank, Frida Khalo, JK Rowling and Adele. You can read more about these and other amazing women here: https://www.historyextra.com/100-women/100-women-results/
How is it celebrated?
Many countries celebrate in different ways around the world. For example, in China (women only), Russia and Cuba it’s a national holiday. In others, like Romania and Chile, men usually give flowers or small presents to the women in their lives. In France, it is widely celebrated and in Italy, yellow flowers called mimosas are given to women. For the last 10 years, more international events have been organised like this free festival and walk in Manchester. Why not join in? Everyone is welcome. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Activity/14648/ManchesterIWD-WalkForWomen-Festival
What is the connection between IWD and Manchester?
Although the UK was one of the world’s first modern democracies, women could not vote in elections. So, in 1903, a woman from Manchester called Emeline Pankhurst started a group called The Suffragettes. This group of women protested against the government that women’s voices were as equally important as men’s and that they also had the right to vote. Many were arrested and sent to prison for demonstrating. Eventually, in 1928, everyone over 21 could vote as a result of the Suffragettes’ actions.
The Pankhurst Centre and statue
If you want to find out more about the Pankhursts and the Suffragettes, you can visit The Pankhurst Centre or read more on their website https://www.pankhursttrust.org/pankhurst-centre. Manchester library also has more information about this. There is also a statue of Emeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square opposite the library. It shows her standing on a chair giving a speech to her audience saying “deeds not words ”, which means to take action not just talk about it. <<<Picture of the statue >>>>
Gratitude for women past and present
Think of 3+ important women in your life now and from the past. Shouldn’t we be appreciating them and what they have done for us more? You can read more IWD history here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women’s_Day
*Nobel Prize winners