Women from all over Northern Ireland will gather together to celebrate a centenary of struggle for equality.
The 100th International Women’s Day celebrations will include 36 events that have been organised by more than 30 women’s groups and organisations taking place over more than a week.
International Women’s Day is March 8 and will include a rally at Belfast City Hall where 100 women will form a ‘Ring of Hope’ inside the building.
On March 9, bus and walking tours telling of women’s history will be held. And on the 11th a Suffragist Wall Mural painted by Rita Duffy will be unveiled by leading playwright and actress Marie Jones.
Anne McVicker of WOMEN’STEC, Belfast is chair of the planning committee. She explains, “International Women’s Day is the annual day for the recognition of women’s struggle for economic, social, cultural and political rights. In 100 years, we have achieved a good deal in Northern Ireland, but as well as celebrating our progress, we have also to remind everyone that women in other countries often don’t enjoy the same freedoms as ourselves. It’s a day for remembering what we still have to do, here and abroad.”
“I’m proud of our programme of events, which is really varied and imaginative, and it’s inclusive too – everyone is welcome to our events. One of the biggest and most noticeable will be our march on 8 March to Belfast City Hall, where we will form a human chain of women around the building and then 100 women representing the 100 years will be entertained by the Lord Mayor to lunch in the City Hall.”
As March 8th 2011 marks the International Women’s Day centenary, it is an opportunity for awakening consciousness among women and for the unity of all women on issues affecting their fight for equal rights.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2011 – “From Here to Equality” recognises women’s past struggles for effective suffrage and while there has been significant progress over the last 100 years, there is still a long way to go in claiming Equal Rights.
Anne McVicker concludes, “We have lots to celebrate – girls go to college, women become engineers, politicians and surgeons. But women are still not paid equally to men, there are still not enough women in business or politics, and globally, women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
A full list of events is available on www.womenstec.com.