Women’s day is leaking. The international day, which has been around for more than 100 years, these days sees events and campaigns starting days before March 8th, and running afterwards too.
We like that the focal point in the movement for women’s rights doesn’t have the same commercial tinge of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and that it is also ever more inclusive, pushing the role of men in achieving equality, and the benefits for humanity of a more balanced world.
This year's International Women's Day theme is Balance for Better, a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world, and asking people how they will make a difference. Internationalwomensday.com proclaims: "From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence."
Today, in spaces large and small, there are events, celebrations and discussions – for charity, elucidation or fun, from activism to abseiling. They push awareness of exclusion, disparity, harassment and abuse, and celebrate achievements. Here’s a small selection.
1. Accenture Breakfast and The Irish Times Women's Podcast
onvention Centre, Dublin, March 8th, from 7.30am, accenture.com; irishtimes.com
Kathy Sheridan hosts a panel on technology, Changing the Game in Tomorrow's World, examining the future for inclusion and equality, and how the technologies we live and work with can set us up for success in tomorrow's world.
The panel includes Brenda Romero, Bafta award-winning game designer; Zahra Bahrololoumi, Accenture's UKI technology lead; and Gavin Kelly, chief executive, Retail Ireland, Bank of Ireland. Plus Róisín Ingle's highlights from an eventful year in the life of the Women's Podcast with Ah, hear! What a Year.
The largest Irish Women’s Day event (and Accenture’s 15th), with more than 1,600 attendees on the morning, is invitation only, but it will be shared with everyone via a live recording of the Irish Times Women’s Podcast, which will be on irishtimes.com on Monday.
Top Irish musicians and artists in female-led music and theatre – from classical to Indie pop, spoken word and live art – celebrating those fighting for a more equal society, in the lovely Pillar Room (appropriately nestled in the Rotunda). Hosted by & Co, which creates unusual social experiences, it features orchestral and vocal artists with soloists including soprano Sylvia O'Brien, Mongoose, singer-songwriter Maria Greenan, artist/activist Grace Dyas and Ailbhe Smyth of Together for Yes, with MC author and political journalist Martina Fitzgerald.
3. Network Ireland International Women's Day Conference
Thomond Park Stadium, Limerick, March 8th, noon, networkireland.ie. Tickets €65 (members), €75, including lunch and drinks, tickets eventbrite.ie
The annual flagship lunch from Network Ireland, which supports the professional and personal development of women, includes former international rugby player, physiotherapist, coach and rugby analyst Fiona Steed; Lorraine Lordan from Oscar-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon; performance psychology consultant and motivational speaker Gerry Hussey; and Network Ireland president Helen Wycherley.
Everyman, Cork, March 6th-8th, 8pm €20/18/9, everymancork.com
"Mara finds herself in an aquarium in the middle of the night, face to face with a pregnant male seahorse, and promptly has an existential crisis." For the day that's in it, the Every(wo)man hosts this sharp and funny play about the anxiety of being a woman in modern Ireland. Created by standup comic Christiane O'Mahony and well reviewed at the Dublin Fringe last year.
5. International Women's Day Rise Up Rally
Belfast, March 9th alliance4choice.com; eventbrite.ie
Alliance For Choice is gearing up for the International Women's Day rally in Belfast on Saturday 9th. To reciprocate Northern support on the Repeal referendum, Abortion Rights Campaign is organising a bus from Dublin at 8am, meeting at Belfast's Writers Square at 11am to arrive at city hall at noon for the Lord Mayor's welcome, and speakers, followed by a Market for Choice with handmade goods, vintage clothes and a book launch.
6. Finding a Voice concert series
South Tipperary Arts Centre, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, March 8th-10th, 1pm, southtippartscentre.ie
A celebration of women composers, curated by Róisín Maher, celebrates anniversaries of three significant composers: celebrated Italian baroque composer, Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677); German romantic composer, Clara Schumann (1819-1896); and the 70th birthday of Alexina Louie (b.1949), who is attending the concerts.
Friday lunchtime sees solo and chamber music rising stars Ellen Jansson (piano), Kelley Lonergan (soprano) and guests perform Falling Through Time: The Music of Alexina Louie. The Irish Baroque Orchestra, directed by Claire Duff with soprano Sarah Power, celebrates the vocal music of Strozzi (Fri at 8pm); Saturday is Clara Schumann Day with soprano Mary Hegarty, and the world premiere of Jane O'Leary's Clara; the Fidelio Trio, including the world premiere of Reflections on a Theme by Clara Schumann commissioned by Finding a Voice and performed by pianist, Mary Dullea.
7. Poetry Ireland and Women's Aid
Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin 1, March 8th, 1pm, free, poetryireland.ie; tickets eventbrite.ie
Join Catherine Ann Cullen, Siobhan Daffy, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Rachael Hegarty and Catherine Phil MacCarthy, with special guest Jo Shapcott to listen to poems and pass the hat for Women's Aid.
8. The Pirate Queen Yoga and Live Music
St Kevin's Community Centre, Dublin 8, March 8th, 7-9pm, eventbrite.ie
Ireland's warrior Granuaile – Gráinne Ní Mháille – is celebrated in a yin yoga, storytelling and live music evening, promising a two-hour yin yoga practise with the heart and soul of an Irish warrior woman, and an incredible story of bravery, to the sound of voice, fiddle and bodhrán.
9. An Cosán lunch
Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, March 8th, 12.30-4pm, ancosan.ie, email firstname.lastname@example.org
An Cosán's annual fundraising lunch supports the organisation which empowers girls through education, with MC Miriam O'Callaghan.
10. Abseiling in Croke Park
March 10th and April 26th, plan.ie, email email@example.com 1800-829829
Abseil 150ft from the Hogan Stand to support Plan International's Because I am a Girl campaign. Abseils – for women and men – run all day Saturday, with adventure.ie guides. (These slots are booked, with a second event on April 26th because of demand.) Because I Am a Girl envisions a world that values girls and young women, promotes their rights, and seeks to end injustice against them. It identifies barriers to girls' empowerment – child marriage, forced labour, sexual violence, early pregnancy and more – and seeks to break them. It's €50 to sign up and participants raise €300 minimum (94c of each euro raised goes to Plan projects).
11. DLR Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Alliance lunch
Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, March 8th, noon-3pm, €54.23 eventbrite.ie
Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Women in Business Alliance lunch, with speakers Fiona Bolger (Spinal Injuries Ireland), Nicola Byrne (Cloud 90), Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, Lorraine Higgins (MKC Communications) and MC Barbara Scully on the theme It's your World – Own it.