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Women march for women on International Women's Day_2

9 March, 2011

Women march for women on International Women's Day_2

Over 300 women and children (and a few men!) joined to march in London on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day yesterday. Posted 9 March 2011

Over 300 women and children (and a few men!) joined to march in London on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day yesterday.


Women for women march 2011

Organised by the charity Women for Women International and fronted by the likes of singer and campaigner Annie Lennox, ‘Join women on the bridge’ saw the march walk over the Millennium Bridge and back across to the Festival Hall on the Southbank via the Hungerford Bridge.

Speakers from around the world – including the great granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and Afghan women’s rights activist Shinkai Karokhali – rallied the campaigners to fight for women’s rights.

Annie Lennox presented the audience with a few statistics: ‘One in eight women in Africa are dying in childbirth… I read about a young girl being whipped because she was raped… Only 16% of parliamentary representatives are women…’

She called on everyone to come together as one unified voice saying: ‘We’re strong if we’re united.’

She also spoke about reinventing the word ‘feminist’ or even getting rid of it altogether and replacing it.

Blowing a kiss to the ‘gentlemen of the audience’, she said: ‘We love you, we honour you and we thank you, because you are feminists too. We can all be feminists.’

Dr Helen Pankhurst described the efforts of her great grandmother and grandmother with the suffragette movement and how they continue to inspire today, but she warned that ‘the struggle is far from over’. She said: ‘Gender-based violence is regularly used as a weapon of war. Women’s bodies are battlegrounds as sexual intimidation, violence, rape and torture are used as methods of humiliation and control. When the war has petered out… women never have a seat at the negotiating table.

‘Over 25 years, less than one in 40 signatories to peace agreements have been women and no woman has been appointed chief or lead mediator in UN-sponsored peace talks… This needs to change.’ These comments were met with huge applause.

Many in the audience were visibly humbled by the presence of Afghan women’s rights activist Shinkai Karokhali, who called for the support of the international communities and the need for a national empowerment programme for women in Afghanistan.

‘Join me on the bridge’ events took place around the globe, all calling for an end to violence against women.

Starting on Friday for three days, there is a Women of the World festival conference. Radio 4’s Jenni Murray is presenting a live edition of Woman's Hour, with interviews and one-off performances from those taking part in the festival.

Friday evening will also see Annie Lennox joined by Paloma Faith, VV Brown and Kate Nash in an evening to celebrate the strength and unity of women and to mark International Women’s Day. Click here for further details.

For a video of Annie Lennox speaking at yesterday’s event, please visit the RCM Communities.


 
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