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International Women’s Day in Manchester 2018

International Women’s Day is coming up on 8 March, and paired with the centenary of some women getting the right to vote

International Women’s Day is coming up on 8 March, and paired with the centenary of some women getting the right to vote, it looks to be a day of celebrating the power of women. Manchester, birthplace of the suffragette movement and home to the annual Wonder Women Festival, has got plenty of events lined up to celebrate, to discuss the history of the suffrage movement, and to continue the fight for gender parity across the world. he Go See This team have searched through the various IWD events on offer in the city and we’ve handpicked some of our favourites for you to enjoy…

“it’s our differences that make us Manchester!”


Where it all began… Leader of the suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Manchester, and the house where she held the first WSPU meeting has been turned into a museum in her honour. The Pankhurst Centre is free, and allows visitors to look around the home of a revolutionary. The Pankhurst Centre is a great way to learn more about her, her family and to discover more about the movement and the woman that led so much of it.

Manchester City Council have organised Walk for Women on the 3 March, a procession which not only celebrates the centenary of the vote but ties in to International Women’s Day too. You’ll need to register who you’ll be representing, whether it be your office or your dance class, but they encourage dressing up, banners, posters, and showing how much you care in the most expressive and artistic way possible. As it says on their website, “it’s our differences that make us Manchester!” The walk is to celebrate not only how great the women of Manchester are, but also the city itself. The walk will culminate in Castlefield Bowl where the stage will be home to talks from some of Manchester’s most impressive women.

Films for Feminism? Whitworth art gallery is holding a charity screening of 2015 film Suffragette on International Women’s Day, with all proceeds going to The Pankhurst Trust. Before the film, there will be a wine tasting event, also for charity, so you can get two rounds of philanthropic culture in one go. The Whitworth is just around the corner from the previously mentioned Pankhurst Centre, so you’ll be watching the film only a few hundred metres from where those historic events began. If film screenings are your thing, you might also check out the free screening of documentary She Draws: She Builds at Manchester Met University. The film documents the experience of being a female architect and aims to inspire other young women to follow in their footsteps. Organised by feminist architectural research collective Praxxis, there will also be 100 great readings of architectural feminist texts in badge form given away on the night, in the hope that wearing the badge will start conversations – just like it did for the suffragettes.

Throughout the city, posters have begun to spring up depicting portraits of Manchester’s strong women, commissioned by M-Four Design Studio. Included in the posters are women such as Jay Cahill who founded the Fighting Fit Foundation and musician Jaheda Choudhury-Potter, with more to go up in the coming weeks. They can be seen on bus stops and billboards, and are breathtakingly powerful. You can find the portraits and read more about them here.

The People’s History Museum has a whole host of events programmed to celebrate IWD, including a Wonder Women Guided Tour, where you can learn more about the women throughout Manchester’s history who have campaigned and fought for better working conditions and gender equality. It’s an ode to the unsung heroes who have improved the lives of countless women around the world today, and includes a stop at Savage Ink: The Cartoon & Caricature, an exhibition which features work from many biting satirical female cartoonists. As well as this, The Ongoing Nakba is an afternoon event where you can listen to stories of Palestinian refugee women who were forced to leave their homes after the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948, accompanied by a visual installation. The event will draw attention to the plight of female refugees around the world, then and now.

If you don’t want the International Women’s Day celebrations to ever end, 14 Dec 2018 will see a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst unveiled in the city, in an attempt to slightly redress the gender imbalance of statues in the city (16 out of 17 are currently of men). The date of the unveiling marks 100 years since some women first exercised their hard-won right to vote. The statue is titled Rise Up Women and is designed by Hazel Reeves, as part of the WoManchester Statue Project.