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Top 12 Events to Dismantle the Patriarchy for IWD 2023

Looking for some fun and interesting ways to smash the patriarchy this March?

Then check out our round-up of the top 12, glass-ceiling smashing events taking place across the capital to celebrate women and explore what we can do to bosh existing gender inequalities into the past.

‘Embrace Equity’ is the theme of International Women’s Day 2023 - on 8 March - which has been chosen to highlight the difference between equity and equality and demonstrate its role in challenging gender stereotypes and ending discrimination.

WOW: Women of the World Festival

The world’s biggest festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people is back with its 13th edition. Taking place at The Southbank Centre the weekends after IWD, the festival invites you to be part of the global movement and see world-class speakers, activists, musicians and comedians in one place. Each day, festival-goers can explore a totally different line-up of talks, workshops, performances, music and more, as well as evening talks, performances, family-friendly events. There’s a gaggle of free stuff to discover too, from the brilliant WOW Marketplace and WOW Pop-Up performances to WOW Speed Mentoring. WOW: Women of the World Festival.The Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. 10-12 March

Kimpton Fitzroy Launches the House of Pankhurst

The luxury, Bloomsbury hotel launches its annual creative residency marking IWD, supporting artists who embody feminist values. Delving into its rich history as the site of Suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst’s former home and its local literary connections, the hotel launches the House of Pankhurst. This residency focuses on poetry and its role in progressing the women’s movement throughout history. Its first creative resident presents rising poetry star, Hayley Frances, who has written a poem titled ‘Fable of the Singing Queens Of England’ which is inspired by the hotel’s history and architecture. There will also be poetry inspired cocktails at Fitz’s bar and a special menu inspired by The Suffragette Cookbook which you can enjoy at Burr & Co. House of Pankhurst, Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel, 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BE

Women: Witches and Wenches

This International Women’s Day, join special guest speakers Maria Beadell, Vanessa King and Dr Alice Tarbuck as they explore the capital's history of accused women, marginalised ‘magic’ and public punishment. In 1542, the first Witchcraft Act in England was enacted, establishing it as a capital offence. From depictions in 17th century literature to protective witch bottles, Londoners’ belief in the occult was visible for centuries, even after multiple laws were repealed. This event is part of a special series inspired by their Executions exhibition. Museum of London Tower Hill Underground Station, Tram Refreshment Cart, London, EC3N 4DJ. £25pp. 8 March

Headstrong: Women and Empowerment

Headstrong celebrates the work of female photographers in Britain, exploring their representation, everyday lives and what it means to embrace diversities that challenge the conservative order of patriarchal society. Their work is playful, thought-provoking and often surprising and is one of the first shows for the shiny, new Centre for British Photography.

Centre for British Photography. 49 Jermyn St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6LX, UK. Until 23 April.

The Doyle Collection IWD Headshot Initiative

London women can head to The Marylebone Hotel for headshots by none other than award-winning photographer Lisa Tse, who previously co-curated the ‘209 Women’ portrait exhibition in Westminster.

To celebrate this year’s IWD, The Doyle Hotels across London, Dublin, Cork and Washington DC will host their annual initiative, supporting women in business with professional headshots for LinkedIn and websites.

All proceeds from each £15 ticket will be donated to UN Refugees, a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.

The Marylebone Hotel, 47 Welbeck St, London W1G 8DN. £15 pp. 1 and 2 March.

The Other Art Fair

Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair returns to The Truman Brewery this March, with an impressive 61% female line-up, championing some of the most exciting emerging female talents working today and continuing its ongoing mission to strive for gender parity in the art world.

The annual event offers Londoners the chance to buy artwork directly from more than 150 emerging talents, and to mark IWD, with rising stars including London oil painter Sarah Lim-Murray and Peruvian artist and muralist Gisella Stapleton.

The Sistxrhood has also created an installation for the fair and female tattoo artist Ally Ink will be offering appointments as part of her music-focused From Song to Skin project.

The Other Art Fair London, 9-12 March, The Truman Brewery, London E1

The Royal Opera House IWD Celebrations

Celebrate International Women’s Day with performances, tours plus online content across ROH's social platforms, celebrating the work of female artists, creatives, and leaders who have shaped the history of opera and ballet.

From 8 - 21 March, the ROH will be offering its HerStory tour, celebrating the amazing woman who have directed, worked on and performed in productions at the famed Covent Garden theatre.

The Library Theatre will also be hosting a performance of Joseph Toonga’s Born to Exist: The Woman I Know, followed by a panel discussion between Toonga, Royal Ballet creative producer Emma Southworth and dancers Aishwarya Raut, Nadia Gardner and Kloé Dean.

Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London, WC2E 9DD. 8-21 March

Working Women of the East End Walking Tour

It’s difficult to cross the street in East London without bumping into a group of tourists taking notes on Jack the Ripper’s crimes.

But the Working Women of the East End tour gives a voice to the female stories of the area, including the women whose lives were claimed by Ripper and the stories and locations important to Britain’s First Feminist; Mary Wollstonecraft, the East London Suffragette, Sylvia Pankhurst, Eleanor Marx and the Match strike of 1888.

It also delves into what life was like for women, throughout the East End's history.

Working Women of the East End. Meeting point: Tower Hill Station, London EC3N 4DJ. From £30 pp.

Women in Art Walking Tour

For centuries, Art History has been studied through the work and achievements of the male gaze.

This two-hour walking tour at the iconic National Gallery will challenge that narrative, proving that women are not merely muses and objects of the male gaze, but its creators and innovators who had a vital role in art’s evolution.

You’ll discover artists including Rachel Ruysch, whose still life commissions bagged more money than Rembrandt ever achieved and impressionist Berthe Morisot, who exhibited work alongside Monet, Degas and Renoir, despite restrictions on her gender.

Women in Art Tour. National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Firebird & Friends Celebrate International Women’s Day

On 8 March, Firebird, Soho’s female-owned, open-fire restaurant and natural wine bar will host the inaugural Firebird & Friends. Founders Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina have invited some of hospitality’s biggest, female stars to join them in hosting a one-off dinner in celebration of International Women’s Day. Caia’s Head Chef Jessica Donovan, Where The Pancakes Are Founder Patricia Trijbits, Updown Farmhouse’s Sommelier Ruth Leigh and Chef Pippa MacDonald, previously of Angela Harnett's Marchants Tavern, will join Madina and Anna for an intimate evening of small plates paired with natural wines. Firebird. 29 Poland St, London W1F 8QR. 8 March.

Profession: Documentarist

The Lexi Cinema marks IWD by showing solidarity with the women of Iran and celebrating Iranian filmmaking with Profession: Documentarist.

Consisting of seven short films documenting female filmmakers’ struggle against authoritarian regime, the piece is a testament to the importance of film-making and documenting during times of political turmoil.⁠ Before the feature, there will be a recorded message made especially for the Lexi audience, from two of the seven filmmakers, Shirin Barghnavard and Sahar Salahshoor.

The Lexi Cinema,194b Chamberlayne Rd, London NW10 3JU. 8 March

International Women’s Day 2023: Dear Black Women & Girls Festival

This one-day wellness festival elevates, educates and empowers Black women and girls, by focussing on their needs and wellness.

Returning for its second year, the event features yoga, sound healing and meditation classes, panel discussions on topics such as self-care and self-love and interactive workshops.

Dear Black Women & Girls Festival Novotel, International Centre, 1 Shortlands, London W6 8DR. 11 March

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