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Celebrating International Women's Day in Leeds

3 March 2016
Celebrating International Women's Day in Leeds
The arrival of March coincided with International Women’s Day - a yearly celebration of the social, economic and political achievements of women. This year, the focus of this hugely important day is on accelerating gender parity, and looking toward creating an equal future where everyone’s strengths and differences are truly valued.

Citywide celebrations

Each year organisations across Leeds come together to mark the day, and to celebrate with women around the world. Here are just a few of the fantastic events happening in and around the City.

Yoga Kula

Yoga Kula in Chapel Allerton supports women’s wellness throughout the year, but to mark this very special occasion they’re holding an hour long workshop-style class to reconnect women with their feminine strength and softness, and to be at one with all those celebrating International Women’s Day around the globe.

The practice will start with re-energising fluid yoga sequences to re-awaken the body, followed by deep, grounding poses to balance, calm, and soothe; watery, fluid movement focusing on the pelvis, and breathing practices to bring awareness to the heart. Lara Heppell, who will be running the class, said:

“It’s wonderful for women to come together at Kula; it’s such a supportive community, and a real sanctuary… away from the pressures of modern life. Women are often very giving, but rarely take time for themselves to connect inwards. Yoga gives women the time and space to grow and develop; it’s a really beautiful thing.”

The class is on Tuesday 8th March at 4pm, and is open to women of all ages and stages of life - babes in arms are welcome to attend too! As well as celebrating International Women’s Day, Kula will be using the opportunity to raise funds for this year’s chosen charity, St George’s Crypt. The class is free to attend, but there’s a suggested donation of £5 - all of which will go to help the charity’s vital work.

University of Leeds - Celebration of Female Composers

Throughout history, female composers have rarely been awarded the same recognition as their male counterparts, so the University of Leeds will be holding a lunchtime concert on March 4th to celebrate and explore the development of European song through the repertoire of these brilliant women, and shine a light on their invaluable contributions to musical history.

The University will welcome Royal Northern College of Music graduate Stephanie Smith and pianist Sian Davies for the occasion, who will perform favourites from the English Operatic Soprano and Song Composer Liza Lehmann, Sechs Lieder by Clara Schumann, and as 2016 sees the 400th commemoration of Shakespeare’s death, the pair will also perform Three Shakespeare Songs by Amy Beach.

IWD - Article 2Royal Northern College of Music graduate Stephanie Smith

This fantastic exploration of song is on Friday 4th March, 1.05-1.55pm, at the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, and is free to attend.

Leeds City Museum

Leeds City Museum is holding a packed day of events on March 5th as part of a global celebration of women’s achievements. They’ll be hosting a diverse range of women’s groups and organisations, with the chance for attendees to try out everything from badge and book making, to contributing to the day’s Zine - with your very own copy to take home at the end of the day!

There will be a range of talks, workshops and presentations throughout the day, as well as the chance to watch thought-provoking, inspiring films curated by Leeds Queer Film Festival. Plus, in the Broderick Hall, there will be a mini indoor market, with stalls to browse run by artists, organisations and campaigning groups - featuring crafts, health matters, art and much more, this is truly a celebration of all the amazing work being done by women and girls in Leeds.

The day’s events kick off at 11am and finish at 3pm, it’s free to attend and everyone’s welcome - although the films featured are not suitable for children.

Give to SARSVL

IWD - Article

International Women’s Day is undoubtedly a celebration, but it’s also a chance to be aware of the sad reality of rape and sexual violence facing many women today. Support after Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds exists to support all women and girls who have been affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives, and promotes their needs and rights - as well as working towards the elimination of sexual violence as a whole. They provide crucial support under terrible circumstances, dealing with victims of sexual violence sensitively, and working towards building a comprehensive support network for those victims in Leeds and the surrounding areas.

Their work is almost entirely donation funded, and giving to this incredible charity is a wonderful way to celebrate International Women’s Day - knowing that your donation, however large or small, will help a fellow woman in need.

For more information on donation to SARSVL click here.

Simon On the Streets Occupies City Square

For Simon on the Streets, International Women’s Day marks the start of a month of campaigning to raise awareness about the plethora of complex issues faced by homeless women.

To get the campaign underway, a team of eight students will occupy City Square for two hours on Tuesday 8th March, bringing the issues to the forefront of the public consciousness, and helping people gain a deeper understanding on what the charity’s clients are dealing with on a day to day basis.

Frances Carter, who is coordinating the event, said she was inspired to take action by the charity’s talk on the many problems homeless women face, and that occupying the statues seemed fitting - as they too so often go unnoticed.

The team will take over the space, and dress the eight bronze female statues with artwork that aims to expose the reality for homeless women, and the problems that lead to homelessness.

For more information about Simon on the Streets visit their website.

By Rosie O'Brien
Rosie is a Volunteer Writer for Leeds Living covering events all across the city of Leeds, on topics such as eat/drink, retail therapy, music/dance and culture.