The popular annual IWD Festival will be an extra special one this year, celebrating 100 years since women won the first right to vote in the UK and aiming to inspire the next generation to rise up for women’s rights.

A passionate and award-winning group of dedicated volunteers are organising the event so that Derby can join the global celebrations on Saturday 10th March , 10.00am – 4.00pm at the Market Place and QUAD.  

Vanessa Boon, Chair of IWD Derby, said

“We are delighted to have raised funds through our own events and hard work. We successfully applied for a National Lottery grant and run a strong crowdfunder campaign with match-fund support from the Council. The backing we received shows how much this special centenary of women’s suffrage means and we would like to thank the people of Derby for their support and the Crowdfund Derby scheme for helping us to reach our fundraising target.”

This year’s festival theme is ‘Rebel Women’ inspired by the  Suffragettes and will highlight role models, past and present, who campaign and speak up to challenge inequalities and create a fairer world.

Vice Chair, Nilam Narroya explained

“The day is very good for families to get together, and for children to feel involved and enjoy themselves with face painting, arts and crafts, magic, sports and dancing. There will also be a soft play area run by Dedicated Active Dads. For girls it’s especially important to experience a celebration where they feel uplifted and have the chance to express themselves, whether it’s writing messages on our Sisterhood Tree or getting on-stage for the open mic. I hope girls feel inspired into new interests, getting active, being more confident and having a voice – as they are the next generation.”

The free family-friendly event gives locals and visitors of all ages and genders the chance to join the movement of worldwide celebrations taking place for International Women’s Day.

The festival will be sheltered by a huge marquee and offers live performances, food and gift stalls, inspiring hourly workshops at QUAD, arts, sports and science taster activities and family fun. Visitors can explore 40 stalls highlighting good causes, local women’s enterprise, local services, support groups, the Human Library and an exhibition on women’s history.

“Derby’s Market Place is a significant location for our festival as our research has revealed that the Suffragettes held several successful rallies in the same spot in the campaign to win women’s right to vote”

Vanessa adds

“the political activist and suffragist Kath Duncan also spoke there to mark International Women’s Day in 1929 so this spot holds a lot of special HERstory for us”.

Around two thousand visitors enjoyed last year’s celebration, bringing a special buzz to the Cathedral Quarter, with popular performances and audience participation in Shakti Academy’s Bhangra music and dancing and BeatFeet’s drumming circle back again for 2018.

This year the festival will have a special Suffragette Memorial March in the city centre as a finale leaving the Market Place at 4.00pm. A commemorative festival magazine will also be available including inspiring stories and poems from local women and girls.

“Our volunteer team has worked hard all year raising funds, building partnerships, booking stallholders, performers and speakers to make it a special day for the local community”

Vanessa added

“the event presents diverse and inspiring role models as an alternative to celebrity culture, limiting career stereotypes and narrow beauty ideals in the media. We all work hard because we care about women’s rights, broadening girls’ horizons and creating a safer and fairer future. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed and supported us – we are looking forward to welcoming everyone to our uplifting celebration.”

“We’re looking forward to celebrating inspiring sisters – past and present”

says Amanda Skrytek, IWD Derby Trustee,

“and motivating everyone to renew efforts to improve the freedoms and opportunities of women and girls worldwide.”

Celebrate, Participate & Liberate

Free workshops hourly at QUAD in the Box Room

  • 11.00am: Boost Your Self-Belief
  • 12.00pm: Get Inspired: Rebel Women from HERstory
  • 1.00pm: Turn Your Pain into Your Power with inspirational speaker Jasvinder Sanghera
  • 2.00pm: Speak Up on Ableism with guest speaker Dr Frances Ryan, columnist for the Guardian
  • 3.00pm: Shake-Up Politics – a panel with women in local politics and activism

There will also be events throughout March marking Women’s History Month; International Men’s Day is celebrated in November.

Featured image credit – Viv Lucas.