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Reclaim the Night's Liz Ely; wearing a beard for a week to raise money for the campaign. See: ladybeardchallenge. blogspot.com
From a nighttime protest march (below) to an audience with the Deputy Prime Minister (right), Kirstin lnnes investigates International Women's Day in Scotland
(llli) is a signil'icant year for women's rights in
Scotland: Saturday Illth October is the 100m
anniyersary ol‘ the lirst big sul'l‘ragette march in the country and there will be a commemoratiye procession l’ollowing the original route down Princes Street in Iidinburgh. While that's all some time away yet. there's a flurry of l'und- and awareness-raising actiyity in the months leading up to the anniyersary. and especially this l‘ortnight. with a number of eyents across the city planned to coincide with International \Vomen's Day.
One ol‘ the biggest eyents will be another march. taking a dil‘l‘erent but equally significant route. and also with the aim ol' bringing together as many women as possible under a common cause. Reclaim the Night lRTN) started out in London in the Il)7()s as a protest at police responses to the Yorkshire Ripper. with the idea of reclaiming areas that women l’elt unsale walking in alone alter dark. The first Scottish march happened in 2007; the second. which aims to ‘take back‘ Iidinburgh‘s Lothian Road. I‘cstiyal Square. and the West Port area known as the ‘Pubic Triangle. is on International Women‘s Day. Sunday 8 March.
‘The 2007 march got a lot of media coyeragef says organiser Marylou Anderson. who also brought women‘s music festival Ladyl‘est to the city last year. 'but a lot ol‘ it was sensationalist. and l'ocused on scare
stories. ”()oh. you can't go to the Meadows. you're going to get raped." That sort ol' thing. This year. we're not marching under a mantle ol' \ ictimhood. and w e're not marching becatise the streets aren't sale. We're still talking about \iolcnce against women and saying “enough is enough'. but it's not just stranger rape in dark streets we're talking about.‘
The RTN organisers. made up ol' feminist groups from around Iidinburgh. are angry. and they haye reason to be: Anderson quotes the current rate of rape cases which result in conyiction in Scotland as 3.9% (a record low: it‘s 57’} in Iingland and Wales. and that's still one of the lowest conyiction rates in Iiuropel. IIowey‘er. they don‘t intend to march in rage.
'We chose to march on International Women's Day because there's a lot ol‘ good l‘eeling happening then. particularly in Iidinburgh. and we wanted to channel that anger into something more positiye.~ Anderson say s. going on to explain that they want the march to unite the \ariotis local l‘eminist moyements. The oyerwhelming atmosphere will be one of celebration.
'II‘ we can all just get together. and make connections.‘ says Anderson 'w'e cart work out where we going to go born here.’
Sun 8 Mar; meet at 6.45pm in Festival Square. See reclaimthenightedinburgh.wordpress.com
‘ iNT R-JNiAIIONA-L WOMEN'S DAY
* Scottish Women’s Convention Conference on
violence against women, with invited speakers including deputy leader of the Labour Party and Minister for Women Harriet Harman QC MP (pictured). Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP, manager of Scottish Women's Aid Lily Greenan, and Tabitha Khumola. MP of the newly elected democratic parliament of Zimbabwe. Email info@scottishwomensconvention .org for more info. Fri 6 Mar, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. * International Women’s Day Community Festival A day of workshops in singing. arts and crafts. drumming and more. Fri 6 Mar, North Edinburgh Arts Centre.
>i< Women of the Merchant City History Walk Glasgow Women‘s Library launch a new series of regular events on lWD. Uncover scandal. vice. radicalism, regeneration and revival during a guided walk around Glasgow's cosmopolitan hub. as Glasgow Women's Library tour guides help you discover the female stars that stud the fabric of this famous quarter. Booking essential: call 0141 552 8345. Sun 8 Mar. Merchant City, Glasgow.
The Spirit of the Story Storytelling and workshop events for International Women's Day. Hear stories from Wendy Woolfson and Jean Edmiston then use found and recycled materials to create a spirit book. Mon 9 Mar, Glasgow Women's Library.
5—79 Mar 2009 THE LIST 27