IWD Rally 2015 a Great Success!
On Saturday 7th March, hundreds of women came together in Belfast City Centre to celebrate International Women’s Day. The IWD Rally has been held every year since 2010 and is an opportunity for women and their allies to come together and march on City Hall in a cry for gender equality, and in celebration of women across the globe. 2015’s Rally, organised by Reclaim the Agenda, was the most successful yet, with a massive crowd gathering in Writer’s Square, including staff and members of women’s organisations, trade unions, community groups and young families. At around 2pm all flags, banners and placards were hoisted and to the drumbeat of the Upbeat Women’s band, the rally took off down Royal Avenue. From the stage erected outside City Hall, the crowd was welcomed by Women’s Centre Lobbyist and MC Orlaith Hendron, who introduced a range of inspirational speakers including Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon; NIPSA’s Naomi Connor; Raquel Hosein, a young woman entering into the STEM field; Youth Action’s Margaret Ward, and Nandi Jola from the Black, Minority and Ethnic Women’s Network. All speakers acknowledged that while great advancements have been made for women, there is still a long way to go on the journey to equal rights and equal representation in all areas of life. In particular, Naomi Connor drew attention to how welfare reforms and public sector cuts will disproportionately affect women; Raquel Hosein to the need for women to keep pushing for their place in male-dominated careers; and Nandi Jola to the discrimination and invisibility of BME women in NI. Following this was a reception in City Hall, with refreshments, a women’s choir, and another speech from the Lord Mayor. WRDA would like to extend its thanks to Reclaim the Agenda for putting together this year's fantastic IWD programme, with over 50 events including a series of popular lectures in the Ulster Hall. Thanks also to the speakers, and all the families, individuals and groups who turned up to make 2015’s IWD Rally such a resounding success. We’re looking forward to next year already!