Oldham is celebrating International Women’s Day (Thursday, March 8) by holding several free events in the town centre.
The day is dedicated to raising awareness about gender parity and celebrating the achievements of women.
Starting at Oldham Library at 11am there will be a lively debate on 'Women may have got the vote in 1918, but how far have we really come?’, this features excerpts from a new comedy by local playwright, Joyce Branagh called 'Women in Parliament'.
A performance follows in Parliament Square at 12.30pm, as Oldham Theatre Workshop invite you to stand with Suffragette Annie Kenney and watch her transform from mill worker to inspirational champion for women’s rights.
The activities then conclude back at Oldham Library at 7pm with an evening of storytelling and expertise-sharing with a panel of some of the UK’s most inspirational women in business. Live-streamed from the British Library the event will feature Hilary Devey CBE, Dessi Bell and Foluke Akinlose MBE.
The events chiefly relate to women’s suffrage, as we have recently celebrated the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. This law gave all men over the age of 21 and some women over the age of 30 the right to vote; therefore, fitting in with the theme of the day – gender parity.
Councillor Hannah Roberts, Elected Member Champion for Suffrage to Citizenship Programme, said: “As a way of commemorating and celebrating the centenary of the passing of the Representation of the People Act we are co-ordinating a series of events alongside other organisations.
“There are strong links with the women’s suffrage movement here in Oldham and it’s important that we remember this, as it is part of the heritage of our town.
“International Women’s Day is a great opportunity when planning commemorative suffrage events and we hope residents will come along in support of gender equality and maybe to learn more about Oldham’s suffrage pioneers.”
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, added: “To celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage we appointed Hannah Roberts to oversee a programme of events and it’s great to see so many activities taking place on International Women’s Day.
“It’s really important that we remember what women endured to get the vote, but also how far there is still to go to achieve true equality.”
Further events are being held throughout 2018 across the borough to commemorate women’s suffrage.
For more information on the events listed above, visit http://www.oldham-council.co.uk/ocevents/