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Since the early 20th century 8 March has been observed as International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate incredible women and their achievements whilst also campaigning for the change still needed to achieve gender equality.

This year the De La Warr Pavilion marked International Women’s Day by inviting author Kate Hodges and artist Kit Powell to host creative workshops for local students and staff from Bexhill College, DV8 Sussex and Sussex Coast College Hastings.

Kate Hodges started the session with a reading from her new book  I Know a Woman: The inspiring connections between the women who have shaped our world.  She told the group about many unexpected associations including the friendship between the great scientist Mary Somerville and the pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace, and the influence Josephine Baker had on Beyoncé. The participants were invited to draft an Instagram post about any woman who inspires them in an A3 poster format.

     

Inspirational women featured in the posters included Queen Elizabeth I, controversial artist Frida Kahlo and one of the participants sister, who she described as “a lesbian conservationist, who wears ugly trousers and doesn’t give a **** what anyone else thinks”.

Kit Powell then led the group in making protest placards for a rally that would take place through the building and surrounds, enabling participants to express something they wanted and needed to say. The messages ranged from expression of love ‘I love my mam’ to cries for change ‘All bodies deserve to be loved’, ‘Trans people are people too’ and ‘Stop hair shaming’

   

After a quick warm up the rally headed along the seafront and ascended to the De La Warr rooftop. Placards held high against the wind with the accompanying call and response of “WHAT DO WE WANT?” – “WE WANT TO BE HEARD!”, and “ WHEN DO WE WANT IT?” – “NOW!”

International Women’s Day was celebrated in the best possible way. Learning about Herstory (as opposed to history), expressing appreciation of incredible women and literally shouting from the rooftop, in order to push for progress.

Written by Kit Powell

Posted by Tara Neville on Wednesday 28 March 2018