BWC (Brighton Women’s Centre) hosted the city’s largest annual IWD Celebration on Saturday 11 March in partnership with Brighton Dome and Brighton Museum.

Almost 900 visitors enjoyed the day, taking part in free workshops and thought-provoking discussions. Highlights of the day included – but were by no means limited to – the ever-popular Sing Your Heart Out workshop with Aneesa Chaudhry; a life model drawing class with Jade Hylton; a Q&A with Ella Bee Glendining on her experience of being a disabled filmmaker and a monologue about one woman’s personal experiences as a Ukrainian refugee. Visitors were also treated to a Charleston workshop, Invoking your Inner Goddess yoga workshop and a Bollywood performance featuring four dance routines performed to different types of modern Bollywood music.

This year’s panel discussion centred on how the cost-of-living crisis is negatively affecting women. Panellists Ignacia Pinto (Women’s Budget Group), Siri Areelertworakul (Network of International Women for Brighton and Hove) and Ashley Austin (The Young Women’s Trust) joined chair Lisa Dando to debate how women, who are expected to bear the majority of domestic and caring responsibilities, are at greater risk of poverty.

There was a fantastic selection of drop-in arts and crafts including learning how to make feminist icons alongside other unconventional paper creations with Femigami and a suffragette inspired mini banner screen-printing workshop hosted by the Brighton Dome Heritage Team. The Sew Fabulous sewing table was extremely popular with sustainable brooch making. Miss Represented x Inkibit and Eva Quantica presented immersive virtual reality experiences.

The Market Place was buzzing with information stalls showcasing the amazing work of women’s charities and organisations in and around Brighton. It was a great opportunity to network and learn about the variety of services available across the city. And as always, ToyBox Child Care provided an exciting day of activities for children of all ages including rock painting, bracelet making and creating an #embraceequity umbrella.

Lisa Dando, Director of BWC, said “International Women’s Day is the most important day in the BWC calendar and I am thrilled by how it has grown in popularity over the years given its focus on gender equality. BWC are delighted to bring together such a diverse range of people, organisations and activities to celebrate and recognise women’s accomplishments as well as inspire women in the city.”

For the #InternationalWomensDay Celebration to be a fully accessible and inclusive event entry is free. It would not be possible to stage this event for the community without the generous support of our sponsors Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Capita and Buff Motion.

The day was truly inspiring, with so many powerful women in one place who are each pioneering change in their own ways. Everyone who attended left the event feeling fired up, proud to be a woman in Brighton and already counting down to 2024’s International Women’s Day celebrations!