If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it simply isn’t feminist. This International Women’s Day, despite the deluge of event providers who still struggle to be inclusive of all women, I want to celebrate some amazing organizations offering events that get intersectionality right.
From a celebratory event of Black female contributions to music, hosted by Sistah Space, who support African and Caribbean heritage survivors of Domestic Abuse, to an exploration of how cultural misogyny suppresses Muslim women and undermines the fight against Islamophobia by MPACUK, a British Muslim lobby and civil liberties group which addresses the underrepresentation of Muslims in British politics, and a safe space for LBT disabled and nonbinary women, one of many roundtable discussions hosted by LGBT+ Partnership, these events show that a wide variety of representation isn’t an impossible or unattainable task.
One thing I’m most excited about is diving into the inventive and creative ways these organizations are engaging audiences in feminist issues. Some are offering their skills and expertise to both amplify people’s potential (such as the collaboration between I Like Networking and Aurelia Magazine, who are offering a lesson on how to pitch and write personal essays) or empower women to navigate the world more safely, such as a digital self-defence and online safety training for politically active women, hosted by leading online abuse and safety charity, GlitchUK.
These initiatives have recognized the opportunity online events present to engage with a wider audience in a representative way. Take Women of the World (WOW) Festival for example. WOW, the largest IWD festival in the UK, have scheduled an equally impressive program of events throughout the entire month, from in-depth workshops to platforming international speakers like Kimberle Crenshaw. This is one of those events I can’t help but count down the days for – can you get any more intersectional than hosting the founder of intersectionality herself? Similarly, SheFest South Yorkshire, a volunteer-led, annual feminist fringe festival, are concentrating their efforts into two easily accessible events. Their Instagram live music event brings local artists (such as Sheffield-based Leona, who is currently making waves in Anne-Marie’s team on The Voice UK) to a free platform that can be engaged with by anyone, anywhere.
I’ve been more than disappointed to see many feminist event organizers failing to see the move to online events as an opportunity to be more accessible, more inclusive and more intersectional. Year upon year we see large-scale programs platforming exclusively white, cisgender, able bodied women. Meanwhile, the experiences and expertise of women of color, trans women, non-binary people, disabled women, and those of us with intersecting identities are suppressed into silence and, if we are offered a seat at the table, it is often unpaid or tokenistic and exploitative in nature.
The fact that this continues to happen is problematic on multiple levels. It sends a loud message that event organizers don’t value or recognize the importance of marginalized voices. Often due to funding, notoriety, location or status, it’s these events that get the most attention. As we can see with the events listed below, there are some truly fabulous organizations offering inclusive events that make those of us with intersecting identities feel seen, heard and valued.
So, if like me you’ve found yourself desperately seeking inclusive events to engage with, here is a list of 10 intersectional International Women’s Day events you can support, learn from, and feel safe within.
Monday 8th March – 1pm – 2pm – Free
Practice digital self defense and online safety in this training or politically active women, ran by Glitch UK. (This event can provide access support such as BSL interpretation upon request)
Monday 8th March – 6:30 – 8pm – Free
In their panel discussion, MPACUK are asking how does cultural misogyny suppress Muslim women and undermine the fight against Islamophobia??
Monday 8th March – pm – 9pm – Donations welcome
An event celebrating Black Activism and Black female influence in music hosted by Sistah Space, an amazing organization who supports African and Caribbean survivors of abuse.
Monday 8th March – 5:30pm – 9pm – Free
Although SheFest South Yorkshire’s annual Feminist Fringe festival has been paused until next year, they’re hosting an Instagram Live gig featuring Sheffield’s own The Voice contestant Leona followed by an expressive poetry and writing workshop.
March 10th – 2pm – 4:30pm – Free
LGBT Partnership are hosting so many inclusive events that cover a range of LGBT+ experiences, including a round table discussion for LBT disabled women and non-binary people.
Wednesday 10th March – 6pm – 7:30pm – Free
‘Queer Women Rise’ is an LGBT+ panel event hosted by Learnest CIC. The event platforms queer POC voices and will host discussions on body positivity, role modelling, creativity, inspiration and what it means to be part of the wave of queer women rising in 2021.
Thursday 11th March – 6pm – 7:30pm – £3.83
In collaboration with I Like Networking, Kya Buller, founder of Aurelia Magazine, and Shahed Ezaydi, editor at Aurelia Magazine will teach you how to pitch and write personal essays.
Friday 12th March – 2pm – 3pm – Free
A NWCI webinar exploring mental health in relation to Covid-19 and the impacts its had on women, particularly those later in life. This event can provide ISL/BSL interpretation upon request.
Friday 12th March – 8pm – 9:30pm – £5 (concessions available)
WOW are back again with a phenomenal line up. One event I’m most excited for is their ‘In Conversation with Kimberle Crenshaw’ event! What better way to celebrate intersectionality than with the founder of Intersectional Feminist theory! This event will have digital captioning and BSL interpretation available.