WoMan-chester: Your guide to International Women’s Day events across city

Thousands of women across Manchester will celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) this Sunday by taking part in a range of events from theatre, comedy and film.

Manchester City Council have fittingly given 2015 the theme of ‘Breaking Through’ which celebrates women who have succeeded against the odds.

In the 103 years since the first day was held, there has been an innumerable amount of progress — the equal pay gap has been lessened, attitudes to domestic violence and rape have rapidly improved.

There have also been great efforts to bolster women in typically underrepresented sectors, such as technology and science.Despite this, IWD feels more relevant than ever.

In 2014, women were disproportionately affected by austerity measures, feminist activists were forced off social media as trolls flooded them with unfettered abuse and it was estimated that there were 66,000 victims of FGM, despite it being illegal since 2003.

The statistics don’t lie, feminist activism is more important than ever.

Social campaigns are changing the world at a breakneck speed and IWD offers the opportunity for serious debate, inspired plans and motions to create different future – a more inclusive, tolerant future.

With so many events on offer, MM has chosen the ten best ways to celebrate women’s achievements across the city.

 The Hard Way Up – A Suffragette’s Story 

Date/Time:  Sunday March  8 , 1:15pm – 2pm

Description: What’s better in the birthplace of suffrage than to sit back and watch how women achieved the vote?

Northern socialist, suffragette, and working-class campaigner, Hannah Mitchell fought fiercely and without repent for women and the poor. Her story is rightly celebrated on IWD in this performance. A donation of £3 is suggested.

Location: People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER

Book here

 Feminist Takeover Thursday Late: In Emergency Break Glass

Date/Time: Thursday March 5, 5-8pm

Description: Manchester has never had a shortage of women afraid to challenge unequal societal norms. As long as there has been dissent, there’s been a Mancunian woman in the background with a megaphone. This exhibition is no exception and includes an evening of live performances, discussion and issue of challenge to the male-dominated art world.

The Feminist Takeover team includes For Book’s Sake, Mighty Heart Theatre and Stirred Poetry.

Location: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL

Manchester Girl Geeks: Making IT Happen for Women

Date/Time: Sunday March 8, 10.30am-15.30pm

Description: This non-for-profit organisation looks to recruit more women in careers related to science, technology, engineering and networking.

This event focuses on the tech industry – why do women only make up less than 20% of the IT workforce? What can be done about the lack of female senior leaders? How can we encourage women to join the IT industry?

When the robots get too clever, women will be needed to help fight the great tech battle of 2134. This event is only £5 and includes lunch.

Location: Number One First Street, Manchester, M15 4FN

Book here

Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) – the rise of religious fundamentalism and implications for women

Date/Time: Sunday March 7, 2-5pm

Description: There hasn’t been a day in recent history where there hasn’t been a debate over women, religious fundamentalism and racism. A screening of a short film ‘Struggle or Submission’ will be followed by an examination of gender rights and equality within religious frameworks. The event is aimed at 18+.

Location: Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Resource Centre,
Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square, M2 5DP

Book here

Beaver Club Night

Date/Time:Saturday March 7, 7.30pm

Description: A club night focused on LGBT persons and their feminist comrades.

The night begins with an Inspiring Women celebration, followed by a IWD quiz and all-female lineup of DJs— there is also a bar.

Location: Tribeca, 50 Sackville Street, M1 3WF

Book here

Women Breaking Through – biking through!

Date/Time: Saturday March 7, 1-5pm

Description: Manchester is home to several female sports champions, including Laura Trott, the cyclist with a double Olympic win.

This event celebrates women’s cycling achievements and includes a screening of ‘Half The Road’ – a documentary film all about the inequalities women face in a male-dominated sport.

Team Glow (a Manchester-based women’s cycling network) will host the event.

Location: People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER

Book here for the film screening

Women As Peacemakers City Centre Trail

Date/Time: Saturday March 7, 2-4pm

Description: This walking tour is an opportunity to hear about modern and historical Manchester women who have contributed to campaigns of peace.

The city centre tour will highlight everyday spots where the triumphs of women should be celebrated.

Location: People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER

Booking required via Eventbrite

Still We Rise – Road show performance

Date/Time: Saturday March 13, 12pm-2pm

Description: This performance piece by WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together – Manchester) and MISOL (Manchester Migrant Solidarity) focuses on their campaign to shut down Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre – an immigration centre at the centre of controversy over alleged abuse.

The immersive event communicates the harsh journey asylum seekers are undergoing into this country in order to survive.

Suitable for all ages.

Location: People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER

Booking required via Eventbrite

Sunday Salon: Patron Saint of Prostitutes, Josephine Butler and a Victorian Scandal

Date/Time: Sunday 15 March, 13.30-15.30

Description: Author Helen Mathers and historian of sexuality Jana Funke will discuss her book about Justine Butler, a fearless Victorian campaigner who overturned the Contagious Diseases Act.

Under it, any woman accused of being a ‘common prostitute’ was forced to undergo mandatory genital examinations. Josephine Butler overturned the act, helped raise the age of consent to 16 and attacked the double standard of sexual morality. 

The event is part of Wonder Women Radical Manchester and supported by The Wellcome Trust Sexology Season.

Suitable for adults and young people.

Booking required via Eventbrite

Why It’s Important To Vote

Date/Time: Saturday March 8, 4.30-5pm

Description: This panel of female MPs is still to be confirmed but the argument is persuasive – one million less women voted than men in the last election, yet have been disproportionately affected by austerity measures. In the run up to May 7, this should serve as an important reminder as why voting is so important.

Location: People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER

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