international women's day 2018

swap borough walk IWD2018

Last week on Thursday 8th March, the world celebrated “International Women’s Day” (or IWD2018 as it became affectionately known across social media). Although the date has been in the calendar since at least 1975, it has only been in the last ten years or so that the acknowledgement of this date has become truly international, with hundreds of countries now getting involved through both celebration and reflection.

As UN Women (the gender equality and women’s empowerment arm of the United Nations) so perfectly put it, International Women’s Day is:

1.      A time to celebrate and reflect on progress made on women’s rights

2.      A day to call for an end to gender inequality

The global response to IWD2018 was passionate and united, with protests being held from Madrid to Manila and pressure being spread throughout society to facilitate change.

It was fascinating to see the range of ways that different groups marked the occasion. As a charity focused on supporting women, we were approached by members of the local community who wanted to celebrate International Women's Day 2018 in a way that would also allow them to give back. They planned to do this by raising awareness and donating to a cause that would be making a difference to women. This year, we were over the moon to be supported by a SWITCH + Omeara and a Mecarto Metropolitano event for International Women’s Day.

Omeara event 2018
Omeara event 2.jpeg

SWITCH and Omeara

SWITCH & Omeara hosted an International Women’s Day musical line-up, with some of the best new up-and-coming talents performing in front of a live audience. The Bridge Choir, Jaz Karis, LIVI, Yvonne Hercules and DJs from NIMMO all bought in to this amazing idea that one event could bring people together, spread the word about equality and raise money.

They nominated The Bridge (namely our amazing RISE project) to receive donations raised at their event. As a local charity working to improve the lives of women (so local we are actually overlooking the Omeara venue), we were really pleased that our work had been nominated. Our RISE project intends to bring women in Southwark together to create community, promote a holistic approach to increasing wellbeing and support women to re-gain balance in their lives - and the donations will go towards supporting the great work that this project is doing.

Mercarto Metropolitano

Also using music to mark International Women’s Day was Mercarto Metropolitano. Mercato Metropolitano is a community food market, a short walk from The Bridge. At their community market space, they host regular events for food lovers and food producers that encourage new connections in a venue with a friendly atmosphere and (I quote) an “Italian soul”.

Staying true to their Italian roots, Mercato Metropolitano hosted an intimate musical concert to celebrate International Women's Day, with songs and opera arias all about women alongside a glass of bubbly prosecco. The host of this Mercato Metropolitano IWD2018 event wanted to donate 30% of ticket sales to The Bridge to put towards our health and wellbeing programmes for local women. It was great to see little collaborations sparking up across the borough, inspired by International Women's Day.

Celebration, collaboration and reflection

IWD2018 was marked with everything from marches and campaigns to food and live music – and The Bridge were honoured to be a part of it. It has been wonderful to see how different groups in our local community were celebrating International Women’s Day and honouring the day in their own unique ways. There is still much to be done in terms of gender equality, but hopefully the wide-spread acknowledgment of the day at a local level can give some indication of the changes happening across society.

We would love to know how you marked IWD2018, so let us know by mentioning us on social media or dropping us an email!


Sarah HicksThe Bridge