International Women’s Day falls on 8 March 2020 and this year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge because ‘from challenge comes change’. But how to celebrate the sisterhood in lockdown? The Resident picks 15 of the best online events, as well as a London bike ride
Lead image: Fatoumata Diawara will perform at WOW festival 2021 (photo: Aida Muluneh)
1 WOW Festival UK
For the first time ever, The WOW Foundation’s flagship UK festival, which is usually live at the Southbank Centre, London, will present events online daily. Recognising recent global events, 2021’s WOW UK programme will take a frank look at new obstacles women, girls and non-binary people now face, discuss creative solutions for change and celebrate amazing stories of resistance and progress. Highlights include intersectionality pioneer Kimberlé Crenshaw on the Black Lives Matter movement and her #SayHerName campaign; Ruby Wax on mental health and how recent developments in technology, education, business are turning our world into a better place; Lucy-Anne Holmes hosting an honest and positive conversation about sex and social distancing; and WOW’s Virtual Big Sing. Tickets start from £1. Season passes £25.
2 Funny Women Around the World
The inaugural Funny Women Around The World, launched by female comedy community Funny Women, is an exciting and hilarious virtual event showcasing entertainment from every corner of the globe. Familiar Funny Women faces, including Sarah Keyworth and Sooz Kempner, will keep audiences laughing alongside brand new regional talent during a continuous 12-hour stream on Twitch. The not-for-profit Community Interest Company, founded in 2002 by Lynne Parker, has launched many female comedy careers including those of Zoe Lyons, Sarah Millican, Andi Osho, Katherine Ryan, Sara Pascoe and Desiree Burch. Events kick off from 10am with a welcome from Sooz Kempner before a Comedy Debate from Melbourne at 10.15am and a solo stand-up from Singapore at 11.15am. Events continue throughout the afternoon and evening, wrapping up with Doon For a Laugh, a cabaret from bonnie Scotland, at 9.30pm. 10am-10pm. Free but you need to register here beforehand (stream via twitch.tv).
3 School of Strutology’s Divanomics Dance Class
Every day is International Women’s Day at the School of Strutology. The super sassy dance classes, which harnesses the power of the strut (heels at the ready) are run by brilliant Headmistress Zoe McNulty, who will teach you to not only walk tall (in heels), she will teach you how to release your inner goddess and feel ‘strutterly fabulous’, regardless of shape, size or confidence levels. The Divanomics class – while not actually an IWD event because it runs every Monday, but hey – is an easy-to-follow dance class with a playlist of super-sassy songs and simple choreo that will help you unleash your inner diva. Learn in trainers, then, if you fancy, pop those stilettos on for the final run through. Barefoot warriors are also welcome, of course, since you’ll be dancing in your living room… Single classes £10.
4 Cheers to IWD with Katy Hessel & Bombay Sapphire
Celebrate International Women’s Day with Bombay Sapphire and Katy Hessel, founder of The Great Women Artists, at a virtual event that brings together female trailblazers from the arts and drinks worlds. Not only is Bombay Sapphire a brand with a long standing affiliation with creativity, from the iconic blue bottle designed in 1987 the Thomas Heatherwick designed home at Laverstoke Mill – but it’s a brand with women at the helm of its creativity and success, including Dr Anne Brock, the Master Distiller at Bombay Sapphire. Katy Hessel, art curator and the mind behind The Great Woman Artists network, will be hosting a line-up of inspiring women from the arts and drinks world, including Bombay Sapphire Master Distiller Anne Brock, contemporary artists Faye Wei Wei and Charlotte Edey, and cocktail connoisseurs Sandrae Lawrence and Anna Sebastian. 7pm-8.30pm. Tickets on a ‘pay what you feel’ basis via Eventbrite, with all proceeds going to charity.
5 IBikeLondon IWD 2021 Ride
While riding together, alongside your sisters, isn’t possible this International Women’s Day, the IBikeLondon team have shared a route map and a playlist so that you can show your solidarity through pedal power at a time that suits you. So saddle up solo or enlist the one other person outside your household that you’re allowed to exercise with and bike your way around London from the National Portrait Gallery and up to Camden via Bloomsbury, skirting around the edge of Regent’s Park and on to Little Venice, before looping back to your start point via Hyde Park and Westminster. The playlist features bangers by the likes of the Spice Girls, Diana Ross and Miley Cyrus to keep you motivated (but please do pay attention to the traffic!). To show your support and solidarity, snap a selfie and post to your social media of choice using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge photo.
For further details see facebook.com/IBikeLondon
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6 Women’s History Month at Museum of London
Museum of London is celebrating women’s histories past and present with online exhibitions, events, articles, videos and more. The Votes for Women online exhibition, originally open from February 2018 to March 2019, is now available online for the very first time. The exhibition marked the centenary of votes for women and revealed the extraordinary struggle to achieve female representation in parliament (watch a short introductory film here). You can also join a live-streamed discussion exploring women’s presence and influence in heritage at 6.30pm on 31 March in Digital Herstories: Women’s voices in our heritage (tickets £8, click here to book). The museum’s dedicated Women’s History Month page also offers fascinating insights into life for women in Roman London, the stories of five women who wore the same vintage wedding dress, fact’s about the Suffragette hunger strikes, and women’s stories from London history.
7 The Old Vic’s IWD Monologues
1-4 & 8 March
The Old Vic’s week-long celebration of IWD will begin with the re-releasing monologues from the One Hand Tied Behind Us One Voice series. Originally curated by Maxine Peake in 2018, the series marked 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act gave the first women in Britain the right to vote. The monologues will premier on YouTube at 10am daily from 1-4 March. Plus, two brand-new One Voice monologues will be broadcast on YouTube from 10am on International Women’s Day itself (8 March). Tune into Putting A Face On – a funny, dark and ultimately empowering monologue about gaslighting and domestic abuse (written and directed by Kiri Pritchard-McLean) – and Aisha (the black album), which traces the history of Black women’s political power, from disenfranchisement to mobilisation against the backdrop of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 US election that saw Kamala Harris’ historic inauguration (written by Regina Taylor and directed by Tinuke Craig).
8 Marylebone Village’s International Women’s Day Campaign
Marylebone Village, home to an abundance of exceptional businesses, many founded and run by women, is offering up advice and insights in a week-long celebration of International Women’s Day. Tune in for free virtual talks, activities, workshops and interviews from a host of Marylebone’s inspirational women, covering a variety of topics from equality and work-life balance to career advice and trading through a pandemic. The line-up includes British Jewellery designer Dinny Hall, KOIBIRD founder Belma Gaudio, agnès b founder Agnes B, Designer’s Guild founder Tricia Guild, Margaret Dabbs, who founded her eponymous clinics and brand in the 1990s, Owner and Head of Design at the Doyle Collection Hotels, Bernie Gallagher, and more. Plus, Amy Taylor from AMP gym will offer guided meditation and yoga sessions throughout the week, and brands will be hosting an array of activations across their own channels.
9 Mnemosyne, an Online Exhibition by Purslane
8 March-8 April
New socially conscious digital art gallery Purslane launches online exhibition Mnemosyne on International Women’s Day. Taking its name from the Greek goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, which features the work of female and non-binary artists, is an exploration of the fundamental aspects of human condition. Inspired by Purslane founder Charlie Siddick’s studies of Jungian theory, myths and archetypes, the exhibition was curated to draw attention to the pressing issue of domestic abuse, which has been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic. Participating artists include Daisy Parris, Cecilia Reeve, Eimear Roibeard, Salome Wu, Liorah Tchiprout, Ariane Hughes, Nour Saleh and Alma Berrow, with 25% of the proceeds going directly to domestic abuse charity Refuge.
10 AllBright’s 24hr Step Forward Summit
All-female members’ club and career network AllBright is hosting a 24hr international summit to help supercharge the sisterhood. Some 25 globally renowned speakers – including broadcaster and wellbeing advocate Fearne Cotton, American entrepreneur and author Marie Forleo, and Tasmanian sexual assault survivor Grace Tame – will share stories of female resilience and ask women to ‘step forward and challenge the status quo’. AllBright will also host two events in the lead up to the big day, with Nails.INC’s ‘Step Forward Into Happiness’ panel event on Friday 5 March and Keds’ ‘Step Forward Into Purpose’ event on Saturday 6 March. Pre-recorded content, including Grace Tame’s ‘Step Forward for Survivors of Sexual Violence’, will be available from midnight on 8 March, while live content will kick off with Fearne Cotton’s ‘Step Forward for Mental Health Awareness’ at 10am. Join AllBright Digital to tune in.
11 Art on a Postcard’s IWD Charity Auction
Until 11 March
Dr Chila Kumari Burman, who created Tate Britain’s joyous Diwali installation, is one of many female artists to create original artworks for Art on a Postcard’s IWD charity auction. Burman, who describes herself as a ‘Punjabi Liverpudlian’, draws from her British upbringing and Hindu roots to create vibrant works challenging stereotypes of Asian women and the politics of femininity. Other artists to create these affordable, miniature artworks include Claudette Johnson, known for her large-scale paintings of black women; Japanese-born, Brooklyn-based Yui Kugimiya, whose work is unique in its use of traditional painting techniques to create quirky stop-motion animations; and Anita Klein, who celebrates every day living with humour, sensitivity and beauty in her work. Bidding for each postcard starts at £50, with all proceeds going to the Hepatitis C Trust. The auction will take place via Dreweatts from 25 February until 11 March.
12 WOM Inspired 2021
6 March-12 April
WOM Collective, which champions female street artists, is taking over the Courtyard at Brixton Village with WOM Inspired 2021, a five-week artists’ residence showcasing 30 works by 30 female creatives in celebration of International Women’s Day. Each artist will present a different piece inspired by what empowers them as a woman and all works will be for sale, with 100% of the profits going to the artists. The event will kick off with a live paint session on 6 & 7 March, where six artists will create a mural on Somerleyton Road. The show will also be exhibited online.
13 Handmade in Britain’s Webinar & Virtual Craft Fair
8 & 23-29 March
Handmade in Britain is hosting a webinar featuring four inspiring women working in the craft industry to mark International Women’s Day. Panellists Dr Neelam Raina, Katie Dominy, Emefa Cole, and Yen Duong will discuss barriers craftswomen can face when entering the sector, alongside their experiences and success stories on 8 March at 4pm. Later in the month, Handmade in Britain’s virtual craft fair (23-29 March) will focus on female makers, providing a platform for more than 30 makers to interact with customers through workshops, live talks and demonstrations online. A charity auction of unique handcrafted jewellery, glass, ceramics, textiles and more will run throughout the fair, with proceeds helping emerging craftswomen advance their business skills.
14 Fora Presents IWD 21
IWD 21 is premium workspace provider Fora’s programme of International Women’s Day events. This year, the series is designed to celebrate courage, empowerment and embracing challenges. Running from 3-8 March, events include online panel discussions and workshops based on this year’s #ChooseToChallenge theme. Highlights include UK Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah discussing solidarity for women and non-binary voices alongside Jennifer Brown, author and organiser in the women’s liberation movement, and Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates; therapist and mental health consultant Zoe Aston in a panel talk on self-care and self-esteem; and entrepreneur and author Shaa Wasmund MBE in conversation with journalist Daisy McAndrew on the rocky road to becoming one of Britain’s most popular female entrepreneurs.
15 Women’s History Month in East London
Contemporary female artists, activists, writers and performers and community organisations have come together to celebrate women’s achievements in East London for Alternative Arts’ annual Women’s History Month. Events include New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival at the Barbican, exploring of the legacy of science-fiction writer Octavia Butler (5-7 March); Women’s History Month Photo-open, an exhibition by female photographers featuring portraits and documentary images of women at work, home and play, in performances and demonstrations (1-31 March); two YouTube performances, The Sofa Dance and BUMP, by all-female acrobatics theatre company Mimbre; and award-winning comedian Rosie Wilby’s The Breakup Monologues performed at Poplar Union (8 March). Events intensify during International Women’s Week, running from 6-12 March.