International Women's Day is celebrated every year on March 8. It's a time to appreciate the contributions of women while also campaigning for their rights. This year a range of quirky events are being held in the U.K. and all over the world.
The 2004 comedy, Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan, is one of the best films of all time that celebrates — while also highlighting the complexity of — "Girl World." Girl Gang Manchester is hosting an immersive screening of the film on Friday, March 11 in celebration of IWD. It will include workshops (with names like "The Rules of Feminism," "My Nail Beds Suck" and "Too Gay to Function") alongside other interactive activities based on the film such as an Anti-Burn Book and a Candy Cane postbox.
On Tuesday, March 8 actress Hannah Silva will provide a solo performance of the play Schlock!, which promises to be both strange and wonderful. It starts with ripping up a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and will then attempt "to put the female body back together." The play has previously received good reviews for its experimental form and accessibility (entire sections are performed in British Sign Language).
Just for IWD, Leeds College of Building is hosting a series of free workshops from March 8 to 11 on DIY tiling, painting, carpentry, plastering and other handy skills. Any woman aged over 16 is welcome to join, either to brush up on the basics or to launch a career in construction.
In 1778 autodidact and all-round awesome woman Fanny Burney published her first novel, Evelina. The title character is described as "the Bridget Jones of her day," a person who always seems to get herself in a mess. Nonetheless she boasts a fabulous social life with outings to places such as The Opera House, Cox's Museum, the Pantheon, Ranelagh, Vauxhall and Marylebone Gardens. On March 8, for IWD, you can take a tour of London as Evelina would have known it while also gaining insights about the gender expectations of Georgian England.
Going abroad, in honour of IWD, the Melbourne suburb of Richmond has announced that it will be the first in the country with female pedestrian traffic light signals. Instead of the traditional male form, the lights have been changed to depict the hat-wearing silhouette of Mary Rogers, the first woman elected to local government in the state of Victoria. The new lights will go up in May and stay for a year.
There's a long history of courageous female pilots who have gone against gender norms to reach the height of flight. For IWD, the Wellington Waterloo Flight Centre is giving girls the opportunity to join a free flight, to meet women working in aviation and find out how to learn to fly, and to take part in some interactive exhibits.
The United Nations has released a series of beautiful photo essays, available online, of women around the world in their daily lives. The pictures showcase the strength and diversity of women, while also noting the challenges they face such as the wage gap, the endemic issues of violence and sexual assault and of poverty.
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