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IWD 2015 launches!
27th February 2015

Anne speaking at the IWD launchWomen’s collective Reclaim the Agenda hosted a successful evening in the Black Box on Tues 24th February to mark the official launch of the NI Festival for International Women’s Day 2015. The green-and-purple dressed room was packed with the largest crowd the IWD Launch has ever seen, including representatives from WOMEN’STEC, Belfast Feminist Network, Alliance For Choice, WINI, Marie Stopes NI, NIWEP, NVTV, Belfast City Council, The Equality Commission, NUS-USI, The Green Party and other organisations – as well as interested individuals, and of course a few of our own from WRDA.

The night kicked off with a speech from Anne McVicker, WRDA Director and RTA member, welcoming the crowd and introducing an inspirational montage. Filmed and edited by Jenny Bell (RTA), this video highlighted RTA’s past work and achievements to the fitting song “Mama Was a Suffragette”.

The first speaker to take to the stage was Deputy Lord Mayor Maire Hendron, who outlined the developments in women’s representation in Public Life and acknowledged the support of the Belfast City Council Women’s Steering Group in securing funding for IWD. She left the crowd with the thought that for the first time in the council’s history the Lord Mayor, Chief Executive and Deputy Lord Mayor were all female, and extended her special thanks to Helen Crickard (RTA/WINI) for all her work in organising this year’s diverse and extensive IWD programme. Councillor Bernie Kelly also spoke of the great work being done in mainstreaming women’s agenda in City Hall, and the two were presented with flowers.

Following this, Moya Henry (RTA) invited a range of representatives on stage to give summaries of some of the great events taking place to celebrate IWD, including the major Belfast IWD rally on 7th March, the 20th anniversary celebration of the domestic and sexual violence helpline on 5th March and Alternative Ms Ulster on 12th March.

In addition to the events programme, there was a special presentation for students of Alliance for Choice’s Challenges and Choices course. Certificates were handed out by the Director of the Marie Stopes Centre in Belfast, Dawn Purvis, after she paid tribute to Marie Stopes volunteers for their invaluable work in escorting clients through the throng of protesters outside the clinic.

Anne McVicker closed the event with a literal rallying cry, inviting the crowd – along with their families, friends, co-workers, even pets! - to attend the IWD rally and to make it the largest, loudest and most successful yet.

Check out the full festival programme.

(Photo courtesy of Emma Campbell, www.emmacampbell.co.uk)
  

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