Councillors celebrating IWD 2019 in person
Councillors celebrating IWD 2019 in person

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year around the world. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights, a day dedicated to celebrating women and girls and all they have accomplished. The day also acts as a call to action to reach gender equality. Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, half of its potential.

However despite many changes for the better, there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality of rights and opportunities for women and girls, within Lewisham, Britain and throughout the world.

From action to end the many forms of gender violence to securing appropriate childcare support, to fair access to education, health, training and employment to full participation in political life and to reaching positions of leadership and decision-making, the agenda is large and challenging.

The international IWD 2021 campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge

The theme highlights that:

  • We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.
  • We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s and girls’ achievements.
  • And together, we can all help create an inclusive world.

Here in Lewisham Covid-19 restrictions prevented the usual public event on March 8th.  Instead, this year’s programme of activities – prepared by a cross-sector working group – took place online. However, this did not stop an amazing and diverse range of contributions to inform, entertain, educate and inspire.

Contributions included:

  • A short film of female Lewisham Council leaders, including the Lewisham Mayoresses, sharing experiences and challenges.
  • Young Mayor Advisors’ selection of 5 women who changed the world.
  • A 10 minute history of IWD and today’s challenges.
  • Recordings of inspirational local business women and community activists.
  • The premier of a lockdown film produced by the Broadway Blazers, Broadway Theatre’s very own pensioners drama group.

As well as lots of information, webinars, readings, demonstrations and a quiz on women who chose to challenge. The virtual programme has also been shared with Lewisham schools as an online learning resource.

The programme of events and International Women’s Day features remains available to view on I Am Lewisham – https://www.iamlewisham.uk/international-womens-day-2021.

As Labour Party members, whilst moving forward we must not forget that women remain disproportionately affected by employment issues, caring responsibilities and domestic violence. The situation has been made worse in the past year by the pandemic. It is essential that tackling inequality is integral to Covid 19 recovery and that Labour – the Party of equality – recommit ourselves to the ongoing fight for gender equality.

Joan Millbank, Labour Councillor for Telegraph Hill Ward

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