The centenaries of the Somme and the Easter Rising loom large in this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) commemorations, which includes more than 50 events across Northern Ireland.
This year’s theme is ‘Reclaim the 1916 Agenda’ with a host of key events leading up to the Rally through Belfast City Centre on Saturday, March 5.
This year’s Rally on March 5 promises to be its usual colourful, raucous affair with the crowds gathering in Writer’s Square from 12.30pm for face-painting, drumming, a roller disco, guitar orchestra, singing and a special Feminist Photo Booth before the march to the city hall for speeches and celebrations.
Helen Crickard of Reclaim the Agenda, the organising collective of IWD, urged everyone to come along and join in the annual celebrations.
She added: “This year we are creating a real festival atmosphere at Writer’s Square ahead of the march. This celebration is a family event open to everyone, bring your banners, bring your children, and bring your husbands, wives and girlfriends.
“Come and celebrate International Women’s Day in style, you can dress as a suffragette, or your favourite female role model or come as yourself and enjoy the atmosphere of this great annual rally.”
International Women’s Day and the events of 1916 feature in a series of free lunchtime history talks in the Ulster Hall, including Women and the First World War today, March 2 by Carol Walker, Director of the Somme Association and Women of the Easter Rising on March 3 by Ruth Taillon, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies.
This year also marks the return of ‘Millie Tours’ the Women’s Heritage Bus Tour of Belfast taking in key sites and murals dedicated to some of the city’s most heralded sisters. They will take place on March 4 and 5 (finishing before the rally) from Custom House Square.
Another event making a comeback is the Alternative Ms Ulster event on the evening of Saturday, March 5 – an event with a difference at Parliament Buildings.
Anne Mc Vicker of Reclaim the Agenda said: “Belfast has really embraced International Women’s Day in recent years and we look forward to the unveiling of a stained glass window dedicated to women at Belfast City Hall and the lighting up of Stormont and City Hall on March 8.”
To access the International Women’s Day programme go to www.womensinfoni.com