Friday Five: International Women’s Day

iwd_squareThis Sunday is International Women’s Day. It has been celebrated on March 8th since 1975 but Women’s Day has existed in various forms since the early 1900s, often in connection with the labour movement. It’s a day for celebrating the achievements of women and also for recognising the inequalities faced by the women and the work that still has to be done. Here’s a list of events and articles about women in the arts and culture.

1. The Women of the World Festival at the South Bank is now is it’s fifth year and it just seems to get bigger every year. The line-up is always incredible and yet I’ve never actually managed to get over to London for it. Luckily they are very good at putting all the talks online. Everything from the past three years is up on their YouTube channel and no doubt this year’s talks will join them.

2. Previous WOW speaker Emer O’Toole will be on the RTE Book Show on Saturday evening at 7pm, celebrating IWD with Lisa Hannigan, Norah Casey, Viv Groskop and presenter Sinead Gleeson. The Irish Times have been celebrating Irish women writers all week and all those articles are collected here. (Watch out for the paywall.) This weekend the paper will include an all female version of the famous Irish Writers poster that you see all over the place. Fintan O’Toole called it a joke with a serious point.

3. I read a couple of great articles on women’s “madness” this week. Mad in inverted commas because generally the behaviour being dismissed as madness is just simply behaviour that deviates from the norm, ie it’s not how men behave. Or it is a logical reaction to how the women in question have been mistreated. B. N. Harrison writes about The Unified Theory of Ophelia: On Women, Writing, and Mental Illness for the Toast and Julie Holland writes about Medicating women’s Feelings for the New York Times.

4. Another area where women face discrimination and struggle to tell women’s stories is on the screen. You only had to look at the recent Oscars to see the lack of women in the writing and directing categories, and the lack of women in general in the Best Picture nominees. This matters because popular culture matters. It shapes how we see the world and it needs to include women, in front of and behind the camera. A group working to improve this is Women in Film and TV International. The Irish branch is currently making a come-back and you can find them on Facebook.

5. If you want to hear more about the many and varied issues that affect women’s equality, the National Women’s Council are holding a Soapbox event today, outside the Central Bank in Temple Bar from 12 – 4pm. Last year over 35 women shared their thoughts and experiences from the Soapbox. This year’s speakers will include a wide range of women from Ireland’s artistic, political, musical and journalistic community.

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