International Women's Day is this week! What's happening?
Highlights of the day from around Scotland
International Women's Day is on Tuesday 8 March: the day in the year when we are enjoined to celebrate the women of the world in a somewhat more pro-active manner than normal. This year's theme is 'Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality', with the focus on the ongoing struggle for equal opportunity and equal reward. The gender pay gap in Scotland is actually smaller than the UK average (7.3% in 2015, compared to 9.4% for the UK as a whole) but the fact that there is one at all is, let's face it, ridiculous.
There are many events taking place in Scotland, and YWCA Scotland – The Young Women's Movement keeps track of events in the country which are feminist or otherwise led by women. Highlights for this year include:
International Women’s Day #YWCAlive in Aberdeen – Aberdeen on 8 Mar will see a variety of events, including a public conversation exploring education, employment, political participation, media and representation, justice, and women at home.
Pledge for Parity at Strathclyde University – Talat Yaqood, director of Equate Scotland, discusses the organisation's work in gender equality at the Pledge for Parity event, and senior criminal lawyer Frances McMenamin QC talks about her own career journey and some of the issues and challenges around gender equality.
An Invitation to Lunch: Let's Talk About Money – Ailie Rutherford, an artist with a strong focus on community projects and participation, is the founder of the People's Bank of Govanhill, an experimental currency exchange in which you can exchange sterling for 'Govanhill pounds' (that's not actually their name, which has not been arrived at yet.) Here, the People's Bank hosts a discussion and pay-what-you-can punch in Govanhill Baths kitchen, on the subject of gender parity.
Fight for the Night with EUSA – The right to walk the streets at night without fear is still something which law enforcement agencies and the legal system don't take as seriously as they might do, and this rally, starting in the Grassmarket and proceeding to Bristo Square, invites you to wear bright colours and take back the night.
Where Our Minds Are Now – Dundee's Tin Roof Collective curates this exhibition of work submitted by open call, on the themes of Women and Gender Parity. Closes Wed 9 Mar.
Women in Science Festival – Celebrate women in science with (amazingly) the only festival in the world that does so, and maybe you or someone you know could follow in the illustrious steps of Ada Lovelace (computer science), Caroline Herschel (astronomy), Elizabeth Blackwell (medicine), Marie Curie (physics & chemistry – two Nobel prizes, people, come on!), Lise Meitner (nuclear physics), Emmy Noether (mathematics), Dorothy Hodgkin (chemistry) and other smart and illustrious women.
The focus on gender parity is timely, and it's worth remembering that International Women's Day was invented by socialist women. The first one ever, in 1910, was proposed by a conference of women socialists who happened to be in Copenhagen for the Second International, and as the years went by it was actually communist countries that led the way in promoting women's rights: the USSR declared 8 May as a holiday to celebrate the achievements of Soviet women a full 12 years before the UN got around to inviting its members to name 8 March as the UN Day for women's rights (oh, and also world peace. Just throwing that in.) Let's face it, if it had been left to the men, it would have remained as one of those things on the agenda that we'll get around to at the next meeting.