This week, on the 8th March, we celebrated International Women’s Day, established in the early 1900s and now marked across the globe.
In some countries, it has even been made a public holiday: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. much has changed since the early days – namely the rise of social media and digital communication. While the day wouldn’t have quite the same potency if this meant we all could have our say, it definitely shifts the dialogue.
In London, Trafalgar Square was host to Artfinder’s installation of 100 balloons – 52 red to represent their female artists, 48 blue for its male. 52 red balloons to represent our female artists, and 48 blue balloons to represent our male artists in Trafalgar Square on 8 March from 8am. Apparently, Artfinder’s independent artist marketplace comprises 52% women and 48% men – and more importantly, its women outperform our men on almost every metric. So why are things so different in the high end art world?
Artfinder CEO, Jonas Almgren commented: “We’ve known for a long time that our artists have pretty much a 50/50 gender balance, which is pretty unusual in the art world. What we didn’t realise was how much passion, emotion and anger this campaign would stir up. Women are still woefully under-represented in the high-end art world and it’s remarkably overlooked as an issue. One of the biggest problems is a lack of reliable data, so that’s where we’re starting.”
And in London, of course, Women of the World Festival (WOW) is going on now at Southbank until Sunday 12th March. Launching in 2010, WOW now takes place in 17 countries – across 5 continents.Championing gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential, this WOW festival features literature, dance and music, as well as talks from some inspiring speakers including Sandi Toksvig and Gillian Anderson.
Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is also embracing WOW into their rich and varied schedule. One of our favourites from the programme: ‘SOROR’ (top image). This powerful, acrobatic dance performance atHull Truck Theatre, from an all-female company tackles the physical and emotional closeness which arises from female relationships. Moving between moments of jealousy and competition to compassion and love – this new work from Artist Zoe Jones and Choreographer Ella Robson-Guilfoyle is an explosive and joyful testament to the enduring nature of female friendship, and love.