This year the city will celebrate women's achievements throughout March. Here we've rounded up the highlights

“THE WOMEN of Manchester are the backbone of the city” - it is with this statement that Manchester City Council confirms the theme of this year’s International Women’s Festival: ‘Our Manchester Women’.

...there are plenty of entertainment establishments showcasing work from the industry’s finest females.

Home of the women's suffrage movement and just last year securing the historical landmark of more female councillors than male, Manchester has plenty to celebrate when it comes to revolutionary women.   

It should come as no surprise then that the council has announced not one day but a month-long festival of activities and events to highlight the strength and resilience of women, as well as their continuing struggle for equality.

Though the city has marked International Women’s Day for 25 years, this year’s festival is the first of its kind to extend the celebrations throughout the month of March.

The schedule includes a variety of stimulating exhibitions and activities that span across religion, art and history to highlight the struggle women have faced across several disciplines in their quest for equality.

Highlights include Con & Eva, a collaborative project that showcases the revolutionary lives of two activist sisters, Constance Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth (Irish World Heritage Centre, 10 March). The What feminist theologians say project offers a thought-provoking account from female theologians set against the striking contrast of a patriarchal religious setting (Manchester Cathedral, 7 - 26 March). Tackling the depiction of women in arts as merely muses or models, the Dear Friend’s letter writing workshop aims to rebalance the representation of women through discussion and insight (Touchstones, 8 March).   

As always, there are plenty of entertainment establishments showcasing work from the industry’s finest females. Set against the backdrop of 1914’s Britain, HOME-FIRES: A staged reading explores new ideas about gender, sexuality and women’s roles in a rapidly changing world (Manchester Central Library, 8 March). Rethink Rebuild Society plans to screen showings of Syria's Rebellious Women; a documentary by award-winning journalist Zaina Erhaim that offers a rare insight into the devastating situations civilians face in war-torn Aleppo (Rethink Rebuild Society, 12 March). Battling not just the destruction brought about by the Assad regime, but also the patriarchal attitude in some segments of their community towards women on the frontlines, the documentary offers an insight into Syrian women’s lives that is often absent from the news.  

Positivity and acceptance is also a key theme of the schedule, with several events focussing on sexuality and confidence. ‘I am beautiful’ seminaran empowering workshop run by not-for-profit CEDE Foundation, aims to build confidence and celebrate achievement amongst women. Whilst the It’s time to shine - Strong women can is offering a platform for transgender women to promote cohesion, visibility and gender equality (Richmond Tea Rooms, 22 March). The LBGT Foundation centres their celebrations on lesbian and bisexual women through the Sugar and Spice 11 – a host of activities celebrating lesbian and bisexual women and highlighting their wants and needs (LGBT Foundation, 11 and 12 March).

Harnessing the power of music, the SHE-together concert is set to showcase the work of women across generations and art forms to champion gender equality (International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 8 March). For a more contemporary celebration, Reform Radio presents an all-female, live music showcase at the Whiskey Jar with live performances from Mica Millar, who will launch her debut single "My Lover" on the night as well as Family Ranks, Mali Hayes & Layfullstop (The Whiskey Jar, 8 March).

Find out more details of the events here: Manchester City Council