By Randy Yagi
With the ever-growing awareness of important women’s issues and causes, such as gender inequality, women’s health and safety, and the growing #MeToo movement, celebrating International Women’s Day this year is more important than ever before. Held since the early 1900s as a way to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is observed on March 8 and several countries including Armenia, China, Georgia, Nepal and Vietnam also recognize it as an official holiday. As Facebook’s single biggest moment of 2017, this global celebration is all but certain to be one of the most hashtagged, most trending and most talked about events of 2018 and stands to eclipse last year’s widespread growth and accomplishments. While more than 100 countries celebrate International Women’s Day, the following is a small sampling of events scheduled to occur from cities that were able to provide the most up-to-date information.
More than 150 events are scheduled in London for International Women’s Day, yet by far the largest will be the #March4Women march and rally on Sunday, March 4th. Hosted by CARE International UK, #March4Women is described as a global movement for gender equality and this year’s event also marks the 100th anniversary since women in the UK were first able to vote, despite the fact that women in the UK and around the world are still subjected to sexism, harassment, abuse or violence. While the exact route was just released this week, the march will begin on Millbank (London SW1) along the River Thames at 12 p.m., proceed across the iconic Tower Bridge, (which will be closed to vehicular traffic) and will culminate with a huge rally in Trafalgar Square, with appearances by influential women’s rights activists like Helen Pankhurst and Bianca Jagger, along with a number of music artists and entertainers, which last year featured Melanie C, Preeya Kalidas, Kate Nash, VV Brown and Annie Lennox, among many others. Although the event is free and is open to all genders, including men, CARE is urging participants to register online. Among the notable events on International Women’s Day in and around London are the IWD Lecture 2018 at the University of Cambridge, an IWD celebration featuring singer Shanaz Dorsett, Women in Hospitality at Hotelympia and a three-course meal with Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Justine Picardie at Hotel Café Royal.
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Los Angeles, California
One of America’s largest and most culturally diverse events will be held in downtown Los Angeles for the International Women’s Day March and Rally on Saturday, March 3. Drawing an estimated 600,000 people for Women’s March LA in January, this upcoming event hosted by AF3IRM Los Angeles may even be larger than ever before and could exceed the earlier event’s attendance. In addition to the #PressforProgress theme, the Los Angeles march will have its own complementary motto – “Uprising: Forward to a Feminist Future” and will be convened and led by “transnational/women of color” although all people are welcome to attend and participate. This massive event will begin at 12 p.m. at the Metropolitan Detention Center at Alameda and Aliso Streets and will end at City Hall on Spring Street. The event will feature a number of special guests including musical acts like MC Klassy and Chingona Fire and several yet to be announced well-known celebrities, with Viola Davis, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria and Whoopi Goldberg among those who appeared at this year’s Women’s March and could attend the city’s March and Rally as well. Participants are also invited to join the pre-march activities, which will feature talking circles, screen printing and sign making. Other recommended events in Los Angeles to consider for International Women’s Day include Ms. JD’s 10th Annual Conference on Women in Law at the UCLA School of Law and the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Conference at the SLS Beverly Hills Hotel.
Several events for International Women’s Day will be held across 25 cities in Australia, and perhaps most importantly, the high profile IWD 2018 Rally and March in Melbourne. Scheduled to begin in front of the State Library of Victoria at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, tens of thousands of people are to peacefully march through the streets of central Melbourne while acting in solidarity with women from all walks of life and ethnicities. The official IWD Melbourne Facebook group has listed several political demands, and includes economic justice, a livable income for all women, the right to unionize, free and accessible healthcare and affordable housing. Preceding the march and rally at 3 p.m. will be a presentation at the State Library of Victoria and led by Justine Hyde, the Director of Library Services and Experiences. Among the other featured events to be held in Australia’s second largest city are the IWD High Forum and High Tea at the Regent Theatre and a Celebration Dinner with keynote speaker Dr. Susan Alberti, the 2017 Melburnian of the Year at the Cabaret Room of the Village Green Hotel. Also coinciding with International Women’s Day is the Virgin America Melbourne Fashion Festival, Australia’s largest fashion event from March 1-18, which will also host an International Women’s Day Forum and an Evening with Women in Media. The Sydney International Women’s Day March and Rally at Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park North on Saturday, March 10 is among the many prominent events scheduled for Australia’s largest city.
New York City
America’s largest city will again expect thousands of women and men who will march in observance of International Women’s Day. Hosted by the International Women’s Strike, who is calling for a day of action for women’s rights, the Rally and March will be held on Thursday, March 8, beginning with a 4 p.m. rally at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Several special guest speakers are scheduled to appear, including journalist Sarah Jaffe and the author of “Necessary Trouble”, Jeanette Vizguerra, named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, human rights attorney Chaumtoli Huq and Farah Tanis, transnational feminist and co-founder and Executive Director of Black Women’s Blueprint. At 5:30 p.m., the march will proceed to Zuccotti Park, located across the street from Four World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, with several previously announced stops along the way, including the Stonewall Inn, City Hall and the African Burial Ground. Other IWD events already scheduled include a Painting Party at New York City Baha’i Center, a dinner party at Vella Wine Bar, an expected Day of Celebration hosted by NYC Parks and an IWD celebration at the United Nations, which last year featured several prominent speakers, such as UN Secretary-General António Guterres and actress and Global Goodwill Ambassador Anne Hathaway. The United Nations will also host CSW62 2018, the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, from March 12- 23. Lastly, two other exceptional events in New York City celebrating Women on Broadway will be held on March 12 with a symposium at the St. James Theatre and on March 14 at the same venue, with a very special Broadway performance of Disney’s “Frozen”.
Less than two months after the enormously successful Women’s March, another large gathering will descend upon the nation’s capital for International Women’s Day. While details were not readily available, a protest march will likely occur along Pennsylvania Avenue from Freedom Plaza to the White House, and a political rally pitting members of opposing views may also occur in front of the Capitol Building. Events already announced in observance of International Women’s day in Washington D.C. include the International Women’s Day Forum, with special guests like Carly Fiorina, Elizabeth Weingarten, Kate Wilson and Theresa Harrison and FINCA’s 2018 International Women’s Day event, with a panel discussion featuring Diana Biggs, Laura Foose and Momina Aijazuddin and moderated by Andrée Simon, the CEO of FINCA Impact Finance. Other scheduled events include ForoMET DC at the AT&T Forum, a Women in the Arts pop up gallery at the L2 Lounge in Georgetown and a Women’s Meditation Retreat at the Science of Spirituality Meditation Center. The following week on March 14, organizers of the Women’s March and its youth subsidiary EMPOWER, are planning a national school walkout for 17 minutes, on the one month anniversary of the Florida school shooting. Another important related event, March for Our Lives, is scheduled for March 24.
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