Strikes, readings and feminised pedestrian lights – all for Women’s Day
There are music and comedy events, a march and a strike in Ireland on International Women’s Day
A pedestrian crossing signal in Melbourne, Australia. Ten such lights are being installed to address unconscious gender bias. Photograph: Stefan Postles/Getty Images
Wednesday is International Women’s Day, which has a long and storied militant history that includes lighting the spark for Russia’s February Revolution in 1917.
In the era of Trump the radicalism remains. This year in the US, there is a general strike, “A Day without Women”, in which women around the States will desist from both paid and unpaid labour, wear red and call for reproductive justice, labour rights and an end to gender violence (the Huffington Post is reporting that the strike is already leading to the closure of schools across the US for the day).
In Ireland there’s the Strike 4 Repeal in which black clad women will down tools and meet on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin at 12.30pm (after picketing various government buildings) in the hope of encouraging the government to call a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment. There’s also a March 4 Repeal assembling at The Garden of Remembrance at 5.30pm.
Then there are some more celebratory interventions.
Comedian and author Tara Flynn is compering No Assembly Required, a variety show in celebration of International Women’s Day in aid of the Abortion Rights Campaign, at the Sugar Club in Dublin, featuring an array of comedians and musicians and burlesque performers. https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/no-assembly-required-a-show-of-solidarity-and-performance-tickets-31430749217
Smock Alley hosts Herstory Hootenanny, an evening of comedy, poetry, theatre and music championing the stories of women through history. http://smockalley.com/herstory-hootenanny/
There’s a Celebration of the Arts at 10.30am at the National Concert Hall, with an address from Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, music from the Crash Ensemble, Saint Sister and Anu, and a panel discussion hosted by arts journalist Sinead Gleeson.
Women Aloud NI are arranging for 150 women writers to read at bookshops and libraries across the region. http://artscouncil-ni.org/news/150-female-writers-join-forces-for-international-womens-day
And Glasnevin Cemetery is offering a tour celebrating the rebels, suffragettes and heroines interred therein. http://shop.glasnevintrust.ie/collections/tickets/products/international-womens-day-tour-2017
Internationally there are also a few interesting gestures.
Eight decades after the disappearance of the pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, Air India claims to have completed the first round-the-world flight by a plane entirely crewed by women.
Melbourne is changing ten of its pedestrian lights so that they feature stick women as opposed to stick men, though this is not for International Women’s Day only and has already led to a sticky debate about what constitutes men and women in the realm of graphic symbolism.
Italy is letting women into its museums free of charge (we’re lucky enough to live somewhere where most museums and galleries are free anyway).
And there are also some more idiosyncratic offerings.
Irish comedian Aisling Bea has declared on Twitter that, in honour of International Women’s Day, she will launching a morning-after pill that tastes of Nutella. Although, depending on your feelings on Nutella, this may be because she hates women. Also, she may be joking.
And Richard Herring, @herring1967, will provide a now annual public service. He will spend the day tweeting the date of International Men’s Day to angry men who ask: “So when is International Men’s Day?” “I am hoping that this year my work will be over,” he tweeted at the time of writing. “Surely everyone knows by now? Don’t they?”