Celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 in London

Annabel Harrison

5 March 2019

International Women’s Day(IWD) takes place this Friday 8 March 2019.Here are some of the ways you can celebrate women's achievements in London, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality

Among highlights, Scarlett Curtis will host the first ever women's event at Savile Club, the men-only members club in Mayfair 

5 March 2019 | Annabel Harrison

Women of the World Unite, Women's Liberation Demonstration, August 26, 1970 (via Pinterest)

You’ve almost certainly heard of International Women’s Day (IWD) but you might not have realised it has been observed since the early 1900s – the first gathering was in 1911. It’s about celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all around the world, as well as marking a call to action for accelerating gender parity. IWD has gathered momentum in recent years and now events are held worldwide, on the day itself and weeks either side of it.

The campaign theme for IWD 2019 is #BalanceforBetter, because “a balanced world is a better world”. If you’re interested in understanding what you can add to the movement, read on to find out how to get involved in London this week.

The Royal Academy of Arts: Feminist Time (2-11 March)

This programme of events poses a lot of questions, with the aim of reframing art history to include feminist time. What exactly is feminist time? What can challenging and reimagining history do for artists of the future? How can we better collect and curate women’s art? Expect a packed 10-day programme of discussion, musical performances, talks, workshops and tours: women’s art histories will be reimagined through the eyes of postcolonial feminist scholar Griselda Pollock and activist, artist and punk musician Liv Wynter; Rose Wylie RA will discuss the state of the art world for women; and there will be music inspired by women and femme-identifying artists. 

Date: 2-11 March 2019 Location: The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House / 6 Burlington Gardens (two entrances), London, W1S 3ET Closest Station: Green Park Website: royalacademy.org.uk

Various events at the AllBright Members' Club (4-10 March)

The AllBright members' club in Fitzrovia is designed by women, for women, so couldn't really provide a better setting for IWD conversations, and there is a full programme to enjoy there this week. Annie Auerbach will speak about how to make a more flexible life work for you, your career and your family (7 March) and AllBright then welcomes mothers2mothers (m2m), an NGO that unlocks the power of women to eliminate paediatric AIDS and create healthy families, for a panel that includes  m2m patron Samantha Bond to discuss mentoring, empowerment and making things happen (8 March). I Define Me (also 8 March) will be an intimate discussion hosted by TV presenter Laura Jackson, featuring columnist and author Bryony Gordon, Natalie Lee, creator of blog Style Me Sunday, and Lauren Mahon, Founder of GIRLvsCANCER.

Date: 4-10 March 2019 Location: 11 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HR Closest Station: Tottenham Court Road Website: allbrightcollective.com

Various Events in Seven Dials (4-10 March)

Seven Dials, in the heart of Covent Garden, is hosting a number of events well worth heading into the area for. Snap up a free ticket before it's sold out to a live recording of feminist activist Scarlett Curtis' Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies podcast with special guest Chidera Eggerue, aka @TheSlumflower (10 March). An exclusive hub will be open at 33 Monmouth Street, with a variety of free activities throughout the week - make the most of the free book exchange and enjoy talks by the co-founders of Redemption, London’s latest vegan restaurant, and Coco de Mer CEO on the official IWD theme, #BalanceforBetter. Covent Garden Hotel is holding a one-night-only film club, showing Keira Knightley’s Colette (8 March) and Tatty Devine is launching a jewellery collection with The Fawcett Society, a UK charity campaigning for gender equality and women's rights, to celebrate the momentous unveiling of Millicent Fawcett's statue in Parliament Square. 

Date: 4-10 March 2019 Location: 33 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2h 9DD Closest Station: Covent Garden Website: sevendials.co.uk

Audible’s Spoken Worlds: To The Woman at Savile Club (6 March)

Audible is hosting an event at the Savile Club ahead of IWD to mark the launch of Scarlett Curtis’ new Audible Original podcast and it will make history as the first solely female-led event hosted at the men’s only members club. Hosted by “the voice of Gen Z feminism” (Evening Standard, 2018) Scarlett Curtis, attendees will be treated to an exclusive first listen of letters which have been written and narrated for this new podcast, and all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Bloody Good Period. To The Woman celebrates exceptional women of the world through "a series of letters to mothers, life-long friends and the women we are yet to meet". What begins as a simple prompt - "the woman who..." becomes a larger narrative of love, friendship and a celebration of women. Contributors include Dolly Alderton, Juno Dawson, June Sarpong, Gemma Cairney and Suki Waterhouse.

Date: 6 March 2019 Location: The Savile Club, 69 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4ER Closest Station: Bond Street Website: universe.com/events

WOW: Women of the World Festival (8-9 March)

The Women of the World (WOW) festival launched just nine years ago but has gone from strength to strength. Over two days, visitors will see political activist Angela Davis (8 March) and author and filmmaker Naomi Klein (9 March) take to the stage, as well as talks and workshops looking at gender politics and the barriers preventing women and girls from finding true equality. Remarkably, WOW has held 65 festivals in five continents over 30 locations, reaching more than two million girls and women, and men and boys too; this IWD, in London, you can join the people working to build and sustain a movement that believes a gender equal world is possible, and desirable. 

Date: 8-9 March 2019 Location: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX Closest Stations: Waterloo / Embankment Website: southbankcentre.co.uk

Emilia in the West End (8 March - 15 June)

Emilia dramatises the life of Emilia Bassano, a 16th-century writer, teacher, poet and mother who is considered to be a muse and inspiration for Shakespeare himself. Could she have been the 'Dark Lady' of his sonnets? What of her own poems? And why was her story erased from history? In this play, which ran at the Globe Theatre last August and September, "Emilia and her sisters reach out to us across the centuries with passion, fury, laughter and song. Listen to them. Let them inspire and unite us. Celebrate women’s voices through the story of this trailblazing, forgotten woman." Emilia has been heralded as one of literature’s first female voices, with her story told through the production, made up of an all-female cast, who play male and female roles, and an all-female producing team. A perfect outing for IWD, it runs until mid-June so there's plenty of time to see it.

Date: 8 March - 15 June 2019 Location: Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, Covent Garden, London, WC2R 0NH Closest Stations: Charing Cross / Covent Garden Website: nimaxtheatres.com/theatres/vaudeville-theatre