Feminist films, world premieres, empowering marches…events abound for this year's IWD (8 March)

International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over 100 years: the first gathering in 1911 was supported by over a million people across central Europe, building on campaigns for women’s equality across the west.

But, while we’ve come a long way since that initial event, experts predict it will be another two centuries before we achieve full gender parity - meaning that IWD, as both a global celebration of women’s achievements and a call to action, is still very much needed. 

With a host of happenings on and around the day (Friday 8 March), we’ve rounded up some of the best in Manchester… 

WE ARE THE WEIRDOS 2 | Stockport Plaza | Thursday 28 February

Not only does March witness International Women’s Day, it’s also Women in Horror Month. So how better to celebrate the two than a medley of shorts from some of the genre’s most exciting female talent - presented by a feminist horror film collective? We don’t know either.  

WALK FOR WOMEN | St Peter’s Square | Saturday 2 March

Manchester’s annual flagship IWD event, this empowering march starts at Central Library and finishes at Castlefield Bowl; where there’ll be music, dancing and poetry throughout the afternoon. Anyone can take part (you don’t have to be a woman) so grab a sash and rosette and join in. 

2019 02 20 Walk For Women
Walk for Women is the City Council’s flagship event

REMEMBERING RESISTANCE | Working Class Movement Library | Saturday 2 March

Manchester is known as the birthplace of suffrage, which makes this afternoon focusing on women’s protests - spanning talks to memory booths and activist artefacts - all the more apt. From 29 March, WCML will also host an exhibition on Sylvia Pankhurst and her fellow revolutionary Silvio Corio.

LEGACY | Chuck Gallery | 2-24 March

Launching with a panel discussion on IWD’s 2019 theme ‘Balance for Better’ on 2 March, Chuck African art gallery’s Legacy celebrates the work of French artist Josephe Cocles, now based in Manchester. A graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Cocles’ love for art was kindled on discovering Sengalese masks acquired by her mother and explores African traditions. 

2019 02 20 Josephe Cocles
Josephe Cocles’ art is inspired by her African heritage

BALANCE FOR BETTER | University Place | Wednesday 6 March

Join scientist and equality campaigner Doctor Jess Wade for the first in a series of gender-based talks at Manchester University (more details on eventbrite). Other inspiring talks include The Future of Women at Work, Power Business Breakfast Club with Gail Heath from the Pankhurst Centre and Meet the Author with Gulnaz Brennan. 

ELIZABETH GASKELL’S HEROINES | Elizabeth Gaskell’s House | Thursday 7 March

She may be one of the biggest heroines of the English literary canon but that doesn’t mean Elizabeth Gaskell didn’t have her own idols - find out who at this special event, presented by Dr Diane Duffy and free with admission to the author’s former home. 

170419 Elizabeth Gaskells House
Elizabeth Gaskell’s former home is now a museum

BARREL OF LAUGHS | Frog & Bucket | Friday 8 March

Frog & Bucket will be giving a nod to IWD, with an all-female version of its regular comedy night: featuring Sally Anne Hayward, Dana Alexander & Barbara Nice. Presented by MC Lou Conran, it promises to be a funny evening indeed.

THIS WOMAN'S WORK | Stoller Hall | Friday 8 March

Albany Piano Trio and the talented young singers of RNCM perform a selection of great Romantic musician Clara Schumann’s most eminent vocal works in this IWD special. The evening concludes with the world premiere of a piece by Emma-Ruth Richards; exploring grief, beauty, acceptance and transformation.

2019 02 20 Albany Piano Trio
Albany Piano Trio will be honouring German composer and pianist Clara Schumann

SHE PWR | Gorilla | Friday 8 March

This all-singing, all-dancing celebration of female talent returns to Gorilla for an evening of panels, makers’ markets, spoken word, music and crafts. It costs just a fiver and all profits go to Manchester Action on Street Health.

IWD WITH FLAPJACK PRESS | Central Library | Friday 8 March

Local literary champ Rosie Garland presents an evening of performance from award-winning poets, playwrights and spoken word artists in this Flapjack Press event; featuring Cathy Crabb, Sarah Miller, Anna Percy, Melanie Rees and Geneviève L. Walsh. Central Library will also be hosting a family-friendly IWD celebration the following afternoon.    

2019 02 20 Rosie Garland Credit Jill Jennings
Rosie Garland is a novelist, poet and singer with post-punk band The March Violets Jill Jennings


Part of the year-long Celebrating Women in Global Cinema, HOME’s IWD Weekender launches with screenings of The Kindergarten Teacher and Maiden, accompanied by a #WomenatHome party featuring DJ Katbrownsugar. Thereafter expect everything from film courses to sash-making and storytelling.

SUFFRAGETTE CITY: THE SEQUEL | The Refuge | Saturday 9 March

Following the success of last year’s Suffragette City party, The Refuge is back with another IWD shindig curated by some of Manchester music’s leading ladies. With both emerging and established talent, expect everyone from DJ Paulette to Disco Mums. Proceeds go to Women’s Aid

2018 04 26 Dj Paulette
DJ Paulette will be performing at Suffragette City: The Sequel

WOMEN IN BUDDHISM | Manchester Buddhist Centre | Saturday 9 March

An emphasis on personal development over full conformity has made Buddhism increasingly popular with busy Westerners - but there’s more to it than meditation. In this free IWD event, Triratna Order Member Danasamudra will share stories of the impact of Buddhism on women’s lives from the time of Buddha to the present day. Bound to be interesting, whatever your leaning.

GIRLS RAWK | The Factory | Saturday 9 March  

Metal Mercenary, The Factory and Drunken Monkey Promotions are celebrating feisty females in music with two days of punk, indie, rock and metal across London and Manchester: from Italian melodic metal band Kalidia to Sweden’s Thundermother and plenty of British talent to boot. 

2019 02 20 Salvation Jane
Salvation Jane will be performing at Girls Rawk

WOMAN ON FIRE | Stockport Plaza | Saturday 16 March

Was suffragette Edith Rugby a ruthless terrorist or impassioned freedom fighter? You decide in this dynamic solo play by Certain Curtain Theatre, which charts the turbulent suffrage movement through Rigby’s eyes.