So yesterday was International women’s day across the globe as I hope you guys and gals already know.. It’s a day to celebrate women whilst also highlighting the problems we still face on a daily. A quote I love and think will start this post off perfectly is ‘I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different to my own’. By Audre Lorde, which is a subtle reminder of why we are still fighting for women’s rights everywhere across the world no matter the background we all come from.
A lil bit of background information
So, the name of the march is March4women which is hosted by CARE International every year in Central London on the 8th of March (International Women’s day) which includes many activities for any gender who want to see a more equal world. The rally itself started in the Southbank Centre through to Central London and then finished at Parliament Square.
This year’s theme was Climate justice = Gender justice in order to raise awareness on the importance of climate change and the effects it’s having on women specifically. Women and girls are hit the hardest by the impacts of the climate emergency, so the march is partly to call on governments to make climate justice and gender justice happen and quickly.
Joined at the rally were influential women such as Helen Pankhurst, Raye and Emeli Sandé and many, many more beautiful feminists. There were speech’s, empowering music, and scene acting of real problems that are happening to women all over the world because of the climate crisis. The March4women truly was the place to be this International Women’s day.
The Rally – Southbank Centre – 12pm
When my mum and I first entered the rally we had no idea what to expect. We thought we had already bought our tickets online beforehand but after speaking with the lady on the counter – apparently not. Luckily there were still loads of seats left and since there was only the two of us, we even got seated quite close to the front. Tickets were only £5, and we had the most amazing time watching all the influential women up on stage, it really kick started the rage in us all to want equal rights for everyone and be treated like humans who get paid equally, get equal opportunities and be seen as equals all over the globe, protesting not just for the UK but everywhere.
So, there’s no point asking at this point if you’re a feminist. Of course you are. If you’re a female or if you’re friends with a female or even if you know a female, then problems that females have to face on a daily are also your problems, and you don’t want problems right? It’s exhausting.
What is Feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy and smug they might be. Are you a Feminist? Of Course you are – Caitlin Moran
The rally was amazing! The whole atmosphere in the room full of strong, independent women was just in itself hugely inspiring to be in. The narrator Emma Barnett was absolutely amazing informing us all on the issues we have all come together to try to conquer for a more equal future, also letting us know the positive things that women have overcome such as the Times Up movement and how Harvey Weinstein is finally on trail (which got a huge round of applause from the audience may I add). After a hugely empowering introduction, the Urban Voices Collective sang ‘This is me’ from The Greatest Showman which literally gave me chills – it was so incredible.
Then Helen Pankhurst (the great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst) and the WOW Founder Jude Kelly, spoke a little about how we can all help change the future for a more equal living. Then there was a group discussion between 4 amazing women who spoke about how women are effected by the climate crisis and what needs to be done, also involved was a women who had to fleet her country because of danger and she bravely shared her story highlighting the importance of accepting other women from different backgrounds.
Then there was Raye – WOW. She performed an unreleased song that she wrote about true experiences with a record producer she once met up with. Her performance was unreal with powerful lyrics such as:
“I’m a very, very brave strong women.
And I’ll be damned if,
I let a man ruin
How I walk, how I talk, how I do it,
Why, I’ve been broken for a moment
I’ve been through it.
God thank you for the woman”
It really was the most empowering performance I’ve ever witnessed. After that, Bianca Jagger said a speech about the impact of the climate crisis on women, there was another talented poet empowering women through her poetic words, then Emeli Sandé sang beautifully her award winning song ‘Read all about it’ and ‘You’re not alone’. After that, a group of famous voices acted scenes from real life people’s stories across the world of how climate change is effecting their families. Celebrities included Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan and Yesterday’s Himesh Patel. Another Climate protester shared her family’s struggle and to finish once again the Urban Voice Collectives came together to sing Grace’s ‘You don’t own me’ which DAMN was powerful. It was overall such an amazing experience which got us pumped up for the march and taught us a lot about the background of the movement.
The March4Women – 1.45pm
Once out of the rally, almost all of us were attending the march too and because of the ushers, it wasn’t hard or far to find where we had to go for the starting point of the march. When we got there we picked up a March4Women banner and made our way to join the crowd. I saw some amazing banners which said some incredible things, it really made me proud to be there surrounded by all the amazing women who all want the same thing as each other – to be equal. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the front, middle or back of the march, the atmosphere is guaranteed to be brilliant.
A few of my favourite handmade signs included the quotes:
- A Women’s Place is in the Revolution
- Our Rights are not up for grabs and neither are our Bodies
- Demand Parity in Politics so that girls don’t only run the world but Women have a seat at the table too.
- Sisters not strangers
We walked from Whitehall Place up to Parliament Square which isn’t that far but the excitement you experience knowing that you’re standing up for not only yourself but ALL women everywhere, is truly incomparable. Whilst marching past Downing Street we walked past another protest for the government to demand peace with other countries and we all chanted “Boris Johnson please demand peace, we demand peace, no more weapons” and so on.. It was incredible.
The Grand Finale – 2:30
To end, we had more speeches and performances by some incredibly influential people. Helen Pankhurst was back, as well as Emeli Sandé. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan did a speech and started it along the lines of ‘Unlike the president of the United States I am a proud Feminist’ which I admire him calling people out for so defiantly.
George Mackay (lead in Oscar-winning 1917) shared his story about the effects the climate emergency will have on women and how we can save our planet together. He also informed us about how Heathrow Airport have actually got rid of one of their terminals!! Which is a huge achievement already! Sandi Tosvig was also such a great narrator making light of the situation by reading banners out, chanting ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ and then thanking all the men who also came along saying ‘We need you boys on our side just not in charge’ hahaha I love her.
To finish, the amazing 15 year old activist Scarlett Westbrook did an amazingly empowering speech saying ‘Climate change is also a sexist issue. Just like society, it discriminates and just like inequality, the legislation currently in place to combat it is inadequate’ … ‘However, it’s women who are disproportionately effected more so than men. 80% of Women make up the total figure of people displaced by climate change and Women are 14 times more likely to die during a natural disaster.’ – She was AMAZING.
Finishing with ‘Next year I hope you all bring your friends and family – unless of course we tackle the problem ;)’ by Sandi Tosvig, we danced to ‘You got the Love’ by Florence & the Machine until everyone departed separate ways. It really was a day to remember.
The bravery and courage shown by everyone who spoke, everyone who marched and everyone who showed their face to support women was amazing and I’m so proud of every single one of us.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it. If you would still like to get involved with International Women’s day I will leave a few links below where you can donate and sign petitions to do and say your part. Thank you guys for reading, I hope you all have an amazing week, and let me know in the comments how you celebrated this weekend?!
P.S This is my 1st blog post as an 18 year old!! And I’m so happy it’s about this topic! It was also with my amazing Mum which I am so proud of!
Each time a Women stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all Women – Maya Angelou
Ways to get Involved:
- Donate To Period & Hygiene Poverty Charities
Here – PLAN International
- Join A Big Sister Program
Girls Out Loud – Big Sister Program to support other girls.
- Sign Petitions