“Inspiring” International Women’s Day Derby – why we do it

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 Just some of the feedback on our annual festival to celebrate International Women’s Day in Derby each March, organised entirely by volunteers – by the community for the community:

“Inspiring and motivational”

“This event had a brilliant effect on my mental health – I left feeling happier and more energetic than I had in a long time. It brought to my awareness just how many creative, inspiring, supportive women there are in my area and it was important for us all to come together to build our community”

“This event was SO important in not only celebrating inspiring women, but to highlight how important it is to make a noise about issues women are STILL facing”

“Buzzing, diverse, important”

“My daughter who is 3 found the confidence to sing on the stage by herself. I want her to keep hold of that confidence by celebrating women’s achievements”

“I used to look up to pop stars but now I think my mum is actually really inspiring”

“It inspired my daughters about their careers, choices and gave them a chance to see what other women of the world experience”

“It was great to see the variety of info and activities available, especially the boxing and football where female participation is not really covered as much in the media as their male counterparts. I come every year and always go away feeling positive about the future, but also aware of the ongoing challenges that women and girls face”

“Giving us an opportunity to showcase our work and life”

“Informative, empowering, entertaining”

“Inspired by the No More Page 3 speaker. I had my 7 year old daughter with me and it really made me think”

“This event opened new opportunities for collaborative business and gave me confidence to take the next steps”

“Celebrating solidarity of women and organisations doing impactful work in Derbyshire”

“I would now think more about what images of women we use in the media industry”

“Inspiring women to join together and try new things”

“Really empowering to be a part of”

“The buzzing atmosphere, performers and seeing people from different cultures”

“The fact that women are celebrated”

“It’s made me re-evaluate my role models”

“The event showed the diverse contribution made by women in society outside the usual boxes”

“It’s been very eye-opening, especially the gender statistics”

“IWD has inspired me to stand for what is right and send out the message that sexism is NOT okay!”

“It can make a difference to so many women eg the support and information for so many women who are victims of abuse. It was an uplifting fun day with a mix of things going on. The day made me feel proud to be involved”

“I felt uplifted by the day. It was an incredible celebration and reminder of the women who fought for the rights we enjoy today. I feel inspired to do more to support campaigns for women and girls worldwide”

“This event helped me to kick-start a project, painting female heroes and role models”

“Absolutely amazing for all genders and ages!”

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Why we need International Women’s Day

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We are busy fundraising and submitting funding bids for our festival on Saturday 5th March 2016 in Derby. Applying for grants requires evidence of need and this always reminds us of why we do what we do… Trigger note: Upsetting statistics about the treatment of women including violence.

Evidence of need for an event that brings together various local causes for women and girls with inspiring talks, workshops and role models plus career and study opportunities and campaigns for a brighter, safer, healthier, fairer future for sisters worldwide comes from the following statistics:

• Women and girls account for about 80% of trafficking victims. Every year, at least two million women and girls are trafficked into prostitution, forced slavery, and servitude.

• 60% of women worldwide experience some form of physical or sexual abuse during their lifetime, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and rape as a weapon of war.

• 1 in 3 women worldwide reports that her first sexual experience was forced upon her.

• Globally women aged 15-44yrs are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined.

In the UK there is complacency that ‘all the battles for gender equality have been won’ however the data shows that –
1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and 2 women in the UK are killed each week by a current or former male partner.

Violence in relationships is so normalised in popular culture that 1 in 3 teenage girls are under the impression that it is sometimes acceptable to be hit by a boyfriend and over half of teenage girls report being pressured into sex.

• 95% of women want to change something about their physical appearance, mostly body size, and most cite media images as a top three reason for this poor self-image. A third of three-year-old girls worry about being ‘too fat’; by the age of nine, half of girls have been on a diet and among girls aged 15-17yrs their most common one wish for life is to be thinner.

• In a survey of 14-15yr olds exploring the influence of ‘celebrity culture’, asked for their top three words to describe the traits required for success for their gender most girls said ‘being pretty or attractive’ and most boys said ‘talent’.

• Only a third of teenage girls are taking enough regular exercise and only 1 in 8 women regularly play sport compared with 1 in 5 men; only 4 per cent of sports coverage in national and local press focuses on women’s sport.

• Employment inequality: 30,000 working women lose their jobs each year due to becoming pregnant. Women’s pay, career progression and representation in the board room remains below that of men’s, with particularly low representation in sports, science, engineering, technology, the built environment and politics.

• Women are outnumbered in Parliament; at the current pace of change a baby girl born today will celebrate her 70th birthday before she sees equal representation of her gender in Parliament.

Many of the trends above are exacerbated for women from minority ethnic communities, from the least wealthy backgrounds, disabled women, lesbian, bisexual and trans women and we make specific efforts to engage these groups, and reduce their isolation, in our IWD activities.