Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day celebrated in Tower Hamlets and Newham

09:34 02 March 2013

Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst at her desk.

Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst at her desk.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day are being celebrated in Tower Hamlets and Newham with everything from walks and exhibitions, to talks and film screenings.

Throughout March events will deal with issues currently confronting women all over the world and celebrating their achievements throughout history.

Annie Besant, who led the Match Girls’ protest in 1888 at the Bryant and May Factory, is the inspiration for an exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow.

Suffragettes Sylvia Pankhurst and Minnie Lansbury, and nurse Edith Cavell, were all active in the East End and a special history walk around the Bow area will follow in their footsteps.

Sylvia Pankhurst disagreed with the route the Women’s Militant Suffrage Movement was taking.

While the WSPU had become politically independent she wanted a socialist organisation tackling wider issues than women’s suffrage, aligned with the Independent Labour Party.

In 1913 she set up the East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELFS), which differed from its parent organisation in being democratic and including men, such as George Lansbury.

Match Girls exhibition:

The Strike, an exhibition inspired by Annie Besant, who in 1888 led the Match Girls’ protest at the former Bryant and May Factory in Fairfield Road, has been put on at the Nunnery Gallery – a contemporary art space on Bow Road – until April 1.

You can also follow in the footsteps of Sylvia Pankhurst, Edith Cavell and Minnie Lansbury during a history walk around Bow, led by Gary Haines, author of Britain in Old Photographs: Bow and Bromley-by-Bow.

Meet at the Nunnery Gallery cafe on Bow Road at 1.45pm for the walk lasting from 2-3.30pm on March 16. Tickets cost £5 and can be booked through the gallery website.

Visit for a programme of Women’s History Month in Tower Hamlets.

Activities are running across libraries in Tower Hamlets.

Forest Gate Women’s Institute

The Forest Gate Women’s Institute are celebrating with a film highligting the realities of village life in Africa.

The Source tells a fictional story of women going on a ‘love strike’, refusing to make love to men in their village until they build a well. Carrying water over long distances means many African women lose babies or risk their health.

There will also be a speaker from Water Aid at the event, running from 6.15-9.15pm on March 5. Entry to the screening at Stratford Picture House is free.

The Forest Gate Women’s Institute attracted 120 people to its first meeting in 2011. Among the women who set of the group are Laura Glendinning and Alicia Francis, who are also involved with Woodgrange Market Place.

Muslim events:

Non-Muslims are urged to find out about Islam while interacting with Muslim residents during a workshop at Whitechapel Idea Store tomorrow.

Women in Islam is aimed at discussing different cultures and beliefs based on shared values to try and break down barriers. There will also be exhibitions, calligraphy, henna painting, and a children’s corner.

This event in partnership with Meet Your Muslim Neighbours is from 10am-4pm.

The same library will have a workshop entitled Cultural and Traditional Values vs Girls and their Prospects for Education, from 2.30-4.30pm, on March 3.

Visit for the full programme.

Rich Mix:

A classic Bangladeshi dancer is seeking to transport her audience at the Rich Mix venue in Bethnal Green Road into a mesmerising world.

Solo dancer Amina Khayyam will celebrate the majesty and grace of Bangladeshi culture – taking the audience on a journey exploring the grandeur, consequence and eloquence of Bangladeshi women.

The free event is on March 23 from 7.30pm.

Visit to see the full programme of the social enterprise venue offering a range of film, dance, music, comedy and spoken word performances.

Newham school event:

International Women’s Day will be celebrated with a free family event at Vicarage Primary School in East Ham.

The East Ham Spring Festival will feature arts and crafts workshops, dance performances, sports taster sessions, cake decoration, storytelling, face painting, bouncy castles, health MOTs, stop smoking advice, a bicycle surgery, and cycling advice.

There will be specific advice for woman on keeping fit, employment, skills, helping parents back into work, childcare and domestic violence.

The event on March 9 at the school in Vicarage Lane is from noon-4pm.

Newham Women Sports Day:

Active Newham, the borough’s independent leisure trust, is hosting a free day of exercise classes, sport and pampering.

Us Girls Rock at Newham Leisure Centre, Prince Regent Lane, Plaistow, will include zumba, box fit, skiptrix, pilates, step and abs, aerotone, badminton, and rounders. Manicures, pedicures and shoulder massage are also on offer. A crèche will be open but visitors are advised to book.

Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Stratford will also be cooking treats to taste.

The event is in the main sports hall on March 9 from 12.30-5.30pm.


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