international women's day 2011

Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

An evening march through Galashiels last Friday was a fitting climax to 16 days of action, organised by the Scottish Borders Violence Against Women Partnership.

The so-called Reclaim the Night march through the town centre, which was co-ordinated by the region’s Rape Crisis Centre, attracted a large crowd of women, men and children.

“The idea was to reclaim the night as a safe place with a demand that we end the silence and end the violence,” said Andrea Beavon, Scottish Borders Council’s Violence Against Women (VAW) co-ordinator.

Last month, Ms Beavon reported to councillors that the cost of addressing domestic abuse and violence could be as much as £50million a year in the Borders alone, when criminal justice, police, health, social services, loss of economic output and legal costs are taken into account.

And she won approval for a new project involving a more co-ordinated community approach to produce better outcomes for women, children and the perpetrators of violence. The new service, which is applying for lottery funding, will be a first point of contact for victims and their children.

The 16 days of action initiative was timed to coincide with this month’s International Women’s Day.

Highlights included the 104 Shows exhibition in Melrose on March 12.

“This protrayed the reality of domestic abuse for many women and demonstrated the need to raise awareness,” said Ms Beavon.

“Shoes from Annie Lennox and J. K. Rowling and many other celebrities told of the symbolic importance of shoes being ‘the way out’, but also portrayed the struggles many women can identify with of being constrained by shoes which don’t fit.”

Meanwhile Vagina Monologues in the Heart of Hawick was a sell-out.

“Feedback from the entire programme, especially the march which attracted much attention and was safely marshalled by the police, has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Ms Beavon.

“It is the first time the Borders has taken part in the 16 days of action and we hope in can be repeated with more people playing a part in ending violence against women.”


for International Women’s Day the usual luvvies implore us to fight for oppressed womanhood all over the world.

They include Annie Lennox, activist, feminist and multi-millionaire; Emma Thompson, award-winning actress; Monica Ali, best-selling author, and Mariella Frostrup, glamorous telly and radio presenter, who told a recent interviewer: ‘I’m always tempted by money.’

They’re regularly off to Malawi or Liberia, Rwanda or Mozambique, photographed with groups of grateful villagers while looking suitably concerned in their eco-friendly bushwear.

Happy International Women’s Day! George Osborne has rapidly raised womens’ retirement age and Lord Sugar says bosses should be allowed to quiz employees about their plans for babies

Of course, the plight of millions of women in the third world is appalling — Aids, female circumcision, rape and poverty blight their existence. But would any of these high-profile female campaigners consider fighting for desperate women here in Blighty?

Many of us lead comfortable lives, but hundreds of thousands do not. Equality and opportunity are meaningless as far as they’re concerned. These celebrity feminists could try scheduling a visit to an NHS ward where every single day, thousands of ignored female pensioners lie quietly dying of starvation because there’s nobody to feed them. And with the NHS about to shed 50,000 jobs, the situation is unlikely to improve.

A recent report revealed the shocking statistic that two-thirds of elderly patients admitted to NHS hospitals do not receive adequate care, and many die completely unnecessarily after surgery.

These female campaigners could pass up a trip to South Africa and try a tour of care homes right here in England, where thousands of women with dementia sit for hour after hour in their own urine, many tied to their chairs in rooms with only the telly for company.

And what about the growing band of young women who left school with decent exam results in the past year and cannot get a job, forced to rely on benefits even though they’re desperate to work? Would any of these middle-class feminists consider employing one as an assistant?

The think-tank Demos calculates the number of jobless young people will grow to 1.2 million over the next five years, even if the economy recovers — double the rate of the Nineties. What kind of future is that? Is that equal opportunity for all?

Women at both ends of the spectrum — the very old and the young — are having a rough time in the UK right now. We have a Cabinet packed with millionaires, and in spite of David Cameron’s weasel words, they’re not very female-friendly.

George Osborne speeded up the rate at which a women’s pension age will rise from 60 to 66. Labour planned to do this gradually, but the Chancellor has decreed that by 2020 everyone will have to be 66 to get a pension, which means a huge number of women will have to stay at work for far longer than they had planned.

Women born before April 6, 1953, will be able to retire at 62, but those born after will end up paying an extra £13 billion in income tax and national insurance — an average of £8,400 each.

As the Saga group said: ‘Women are bearing the brunt of the changes. Pension policy always seems to be made by men, for men.’

When it comes to government, paradoxically, in some African countries, there are more women in power than in the UK. In Rwanda, in 2009, women won 56 per cent of the seats in the lower chamber and 35 per cent in the Upper House. In both Mozambique and Angola, women won 39 per cent of the seats in the lower house.

Many African states have women in high office. Here, just 22 per cent of seats in the Commons are held by women, and the Home Secretary has to combine her demanding job with that of Minister for Women and Equalities. That’s how seriously David Cameron takes women’s rights.

Finally, let’s celebrate International Women’s Day by reflecting on the wisdom of Lord (Alan) Sugar, who told the House of Lords last week he thought bosses should be able to grill female candidates about their plans for babies.

This is the bloke who said the best way to get round the laws protecting women in the workplace was by not employing them. Let’s all write to Lord Sugar and tell him when we plan to reproduce, when we’re going to take the Pill, and when we might have a spot of PMT.

Come to that, why don’t we email or Twitter him the dates of our menstrual cycle, if he’s that interested in gynaecology?

Edited from a longer article at

This is a post to mark International Women’s Day. Join the International Women’s Week and Mothering Sunday Mothers’ March this Sunday:

8th March is International Women’s Day. For one hundred years, women and men all over the world, from Germany to Ghana, from Uganda to the UK, have used the 8th of March to celebrate the achievements of women past, present, and future. Historically this day has also been a time for feminists and all those who believe in gender equality to consider the challenges and struggles we still face. This year certainly gives us pause for thought.

The history of the struggle for gender equality in the UK, and the rise of the welfare state are bound together. Just as campaigners for gender equality helped bring about the creation and expansion of the welfare state, the position of women in our society has improved because of it. The government’s unprecedented and unjustified attacks on the state inevitably therefore have a disproportionate impact on women.

The government insist that ‘we’re all in it together’ and that the distribution of the cuts will be ‘fair’. This is simply not true. They choose to focus the cuts on people who are already the most vulnerable in our society, on those who already face structural and historical disadvantages. The government may have neglected their duty to investigate the impact of legislation on gender inequality, but other people have not, and the results show that women will face a disproportionate burden.

Highlighting the impact of the cuts on women is not divisive and does not disregard the needs of everybody else in society. This was well demonstrated and articulated by the people who organised UK Uncut’s feminist bail-in, and by the protesters who attended, half of whom were men. Feminism, and the struggle for gender equality, are inclusive and can be understood as involving everybody, regardless of gender, in a joint struggle for equality. Drawing attention to the impact on women is a reflection of statistical evidence. It is a fact that women, in general, will be worse affected than men. It is important to know this if we are to understand what the cuts really mean and relate that to the people who will be affected.

Women will, in general, be hit harder than men for a number of reasons. As the Fawcett Society points out, they make up 65% of the public sector workforce and will therefore be hit hardest by job cuts. They rely more heavily on public services such as the NHS, for reasons such as pregnancy and longer life expectancy. We can also expect cuts to many women specific services such as refuges from domestic violence and support services for rape victims. To rub salt into the wound, women will also be expected to bridge the gap where childcare and services for the elderly are removed, directly affecting their ability to work. They are also due to lose out heavily from changes to the benefit system – single mothers will lose 18.5 per cent of their net income; female single pensioners will lose 11.7 per cent. The repercussions of these cuts can be seen already. By the end of last year the number of unemployed women topped the one million mark. Recent figures show that the number of women aged 25-49 on jobseeker’s allowance is now at its highest since records began in 1997. The evidence goes on and on and on.

Still think we’re all in it together? These cuts are not an economic necessity, they are a political choice. UK Uncut has helped to show that there are many alternatives to the government’s shock and awe austerity programme. Closing the tax loopholes which allow the super-rich to dodge their responsibilities is one alternative. Making the banks pay for the crisis they caused is another.

If we want to stop the government, and if we want a fairer society, we have to stand up for ourselves. We can draw on a rich history of ordinary people who have organised, struggled and fought for their rights and their ideals. Like the women who did whatever it took to win the right to vote. Like the brave female Ford workers who took industrial action to win the right to equal pay. Like the UK Uncut protesters who transformed a high street bank into a crèche, highlighting cuts to childrens’ services.

This International Women’s Day let us honour and remember all of those women who have fought and continue to fight for gender equality and let’s promise to protect and build on their victories.

See you on the high streets.

This survey of UK adults, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of EQUALS – a coalition of agencies including ActionAid, Amnesty International, the Fawcett Society and Women’s Aid – reveals significant levels of inequality that still exist between men and women in the UK. The survey results are released on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

The survey sought to establish attitudes towards men and women in the public and private arena; determining whether gender stereotypes are still present today in the workplace and the home. It also sought to establish the biggest challenges facing women in Britain today, find out whether women are thought to be treated equally in our society and measure personal experiences of sexist remarks or behaviour.
Results show that gender stereotypes remain a strong force for both men and women in the workplace and in the home. Women are found to be shouldering a good deal of responsibility for managing the home and looking after the family but encouragingly, findings also reveal that a majority of UK adults – both men and women – aspire to greater equality by stating that many household tasks should be shared equally between men and women.

When asked what are the two biggest challenges facing women in Britain today, ‘balancing family and work’ was cited by almost six in ten people (58%). This was the most frequent answer given by men and women. From a female perspective, the second biggest challenge facing women is thought to be ‘the gap in pay between men and women’ (cited by 23% of females). From a male perspective, the second biggest challenge facing women is thought to be ‘being judged on their appearance rather than what they do’ (cited by 22% of males).

Almost half (47%) of women in in the UK do not believe they are treated equally to men with only around a third (34%) believing they are treated equally. On this measure, men and women have almost reversed views. Only around a third (35%) of men do not believe that women are treated equally with just over half (52%) believing women are treated equally.

The survey also measured personal experiences of sexist remarks or sexist behaviour. Sixty per cent of young women (aged 15-30) surveyed have experienced sexist remarks and other forms of sexist behaviour whilst going about their daily lives, including being whistled at, having sexist comments directed at them, being touched inappropriately or being discriminated against because of their gender. The survey revealed that British women experienced this across a variety of places with the most likely being at work, in a pub, bar or club, at school, college or university and in the street. Fewer young men have experienced such comments or behaviour (20%) and their reaction to it is quite different. Whilst these young men are more likely to have felt amused the last time this happened to them, the young women are more likely to have felt angry.

* Download the topline results (PDF)
* Download the data tables representing the full sample (PDF)
* Download the data tabls presenting the results for females in the sample (PDF)
* Download the data tables presenting the results for males in the sample (PDF)

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,028 adults aged 15+ across the UK. Interviews were conducted face-to-face over the period 11-17 February 2011. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

11th March 2011 from 11:00am – 3:00pm
The Teacher Building, 14 St. Enoch Square, Glasgow G1 4DB

The European Parliament Information Office in Edinburgh and Engender, a partner in the EU-funded Women Into Public Life project, invite you to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day along with Catherine Stihler MEP.

With female representation at Holyrood set to drop significantly following the Scottish election in May, it is a timely moment to consider the role that Scottish women have played and can play in future in Scottish political life at all levels.

Catherine Stihler has been a Labour Member of the European Parliament representing Scotland since 1999. Drawing on topical examples such as the current proposed revision of EU legislation on parental leave, she will cover:
• what drew her into politics in general and European politics in particular;
• examples of how the EU impacts on women in Scotland;
• how Scottish women can use of their MEPs to make their voice heard.

Catherine will also hold a conversation with Kath Davies of Engender’s International Group before widening that conversation to include all those at the event in informal discussion groups over lunch.

The seminar is free to attend and is designed to be interactive. For this reason, spaces will be limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis.

To register, please email or call 0131 557 7866.


Join us for a celebration of international women on Saturday 5th March!
This FREE event is taking place in the games hall at Dunfermline High School from 10am – 1pm.

Come along and try:
* Henna Hand Painting
* Glass Painting
* Cookery Demo
* Book Bugs for Kids
* Face Painting for Kids
* Smoking Cessation
* Baby Memory Books
* Chinese Calligraphy
* Counterweight
* Confidence Building Workshops
* Jewellery Making
* Diet & Exercise
* Well Woman
* Beautician

… plus information stands and lots, lots more!

As well as the wide range of stalls we will also have a performance space with the following activities taking place:
10.00 Zumba with Lee (join in)
10.30 Shoogle Boobs Women’s Brass Ensemble (listen)
11.00 Self Defence (demo)
11.30 Shoogle Boobs (listen)
12.00 Belly Dancing (demo)
12.30 Zumba with Lee (join in)

Come along and enjoy a free brunch and pick up a balloon for the kids too!

Contact for more info via

International Women’s Day 2011 – Event open to all
Saturday 5th March (1pm – 4pm)
Free Workshops, stalls, refreshments, food and live music

An event not to be missed. Community Learning & Development in Leith working in partnership with Women onto Work.

This is shaping up to be a great fun filled event and an appropriate way to celebrate a number of anniversaries:- 100th International Women’s Day, 90 years of education at Duncan Place Resource Centre, 21 years of Women onto Work and 40 years of Stevenson College.

Contact for further details:
* Rohan, Anne or Susie at the Duncan Place Office 0131 554 1509 / e-mail:
* Regine, Ingrid or Kara at Women on to Work e-mail:

To download posters for the event go to Duncan Place Facebook page


Duncan Place Resource Centre
4 Duncan Place, Edinburgh, EH6 8HW

We’re aiming to get 100 women to join together to celebrate the 100th birthday of International Women’s Day with a street performance.

Players from Scotland’s women’s samba bands will come together with singers to celebrate with a street performance. (Participants: to register interest email and music will be sent out in advance. There will be a workshop on the Saturday morning to rehearse.)

5 March 2011 from 9.00 to 17.00
morning: from 9am-2.30pm
workshop in Glasgow School of Art’s Assembly Building, Renfrew St
afternoon: from 3pm-4.30pm
perform on steps of Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, Buchanan Street, Glasgow cycling newly commissioned work, Glasgow, G1


The STUC Women’s Committee will be holding an event to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8th March, at the STUC, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3 6NG between 5pm – 7.30pm.

This year is the centenary of International Women’s Day, and we will be marking it by asking you to bring along a small memento, such as a badge, a photo, a poem, a drawing, or other item that has a special memory. We would like you to add your story – or the story of another woman or event – to our International Women’s day display. (We will take photographs of any items that you bring along, so they will be returned to you). A publication is being prepared by the STUC Women’s Committee as ‘a book of inspiration’, which will allow us all to mark and to celebrate the achievements of women, with a particular focus on the labour movement and trade union women in Scotland.

If you would like to come along to the STUC on Tuesday 8th March, please contact Helen Carson at the STUC –

Refreshments will be provided, and displays of archive material, recent films and photographs will also be available.

If you are not able to come along, but would like to contribute to our International Women’s Day project, please contact me at the STUC, and we can make another arrangement (

Helen Carson
Admin Assistant
333 Woodlands Road
Glasgow G3 6NG
Tel: 0141 337 8109 (direct line)
Fax: 0141 337 8101

Tuesday 8th March 2011 from 11am to 2pm
International Women’s Day Centenary

Midlothian Women’s Aid has organised an event to celebrate International Women’s Day Centenary. This involves learning a simple dance routine (no dance experience necessary) which will be performed flash mob style in Dalkeith centre (Midlothian, Scotland).

Rehearsals are taking place now (you only need to take part in one). Contact Midlothian Women’s Aid for details.

Minimum age is 16.

Contact Julie or Jillian on 0131 561 5805

Download leaflet to find out more and register

red women's symbold with continents superimposed repeatd 5 times

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