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International Women’s Day (IWD), marked by ‘Women at the Gregson’ group (WAGs), takes place on March 8th every year.
It is deemed a day of appreciation and respect to women’s achievements in economic, political and social aspects. This year an exhibition will be held at the Gregson Centre, located on Moor Lane in Lancaster, next Thursday at 8pm, and will last throughout March.
Although IWD has been an annual celebration for around 100 years, it was not valued in Lancaster and Morecambe until 2009 when six women at The Gregson came together to mark the day.
The theme of the upcoming exhibition is ‘Women at home and at work: 1900-1999’, which is a combination of images, texts, items and artefacts. The social and historical changes in women’s lives at home, work and in society will be depicted, explained Cal Giles, a representative from the Gregson Centre.
Giles further discussed the history of IWD, which could be dated back to 1911 and mainly concerned equal rights and the women’s’ ballot. It was not until after 1977 that the event gained widespread attention, when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to declare March 8th the United Nations Day for feminism and international peace. Today, women and their rights are celebrated on IWD.
The WAGs “believe that women are being especially affected by the actions of our present government, both at home and abroad” and feel that it is “important to commemorate what has gone before as well as publicising what is happening to women now.”
They hope that visitors to the exhibition “will leave thinking that society is moving backwards rather than forwards, especially in its attitude towards women.”