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Newham’s communities celebrate International Women’s Day

17:43 08 March 2016

Attendees pose at Newham Town Hall

Attendees pose at Newham Town Hall's celebrations for International Women's Day

Newham Council

Women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds came together today to mark International Women’s Day in events across Newham.

The stories of 10 women from across Newham were highlighted at East Ham Town Hall in an event celebrating the economic, cultural and social achievements of the borough’s women from past and present.

More than 400 people attended the Newham Council-run event which included cultural performances, advice sections plus a health zone including holistic therapies and massages.

Several inspirational women were honoured for their work including Iram Mirza who set up East Ham Women, a group which focuses on women’s issues and has around 300 women from all ethnic backgrounds on its database.

Others individuals recognised for their good service included long-term foster carer Sharon Blackwood, parenting instructor Amtul Siraj Gazala and women’s group leader Hannah Duthie.

Girls play a game of football at the Copper Box Arena to celebrate International Women's DayGirls play a game of football at the Copper Box Arena to celebrate International Women's Day

Each of them were presented with a bouquet of flowers by Newham Council’s mayoral adviser for domestic and family violence, Cllr Lakmini Shah.

Cllr Ellie Robinson, who was watching, tweeted: “Looks like @LakminiShah has organized an amazing (and huge!) #IWD event in East Ham. Well done! @NewhamLondon”

Cllr Ayesha Chowdhury tweeted: “Ladies are enjoying International Women’s Day in Town Hall” alongside images of attendees against the backdrop of a packed hall.

Meanwhile, more than 450 local schoolgirls and young women joined elite athletes including Perri Shakes-Drayton at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Park at a sporting awareness event.

One young player shoots a hoop while playing basketballOne young player shoots a hoop while playing basketball

Participants, who were aged between seven to sixteen, tried their hand at football, hula hooping, rowing and dance-fit to highlight the variety of sporting opportunities available to women, no matter their experience or ability.

They were joined by London 2012 Olympic volleyballer Rachel Laybourne, Rugby Sevens England International Abi Chamberlain, England netballer Lindsay Keable, double European athletics bronze medallist Laura Sugar and professional golfer Henni Zuël.

Vicki Austin, ‎head of paralympic legacy, inclusion and sports participation at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, said: “Being active is a really important way that girls and young women can empower themselves, make friends and have fun.

“What a brilliant way to celebrate International Women’s Day- trying out new sports with Olympic and Paralympic champions, and what better place to get inspired than Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

Newham women joined thousands of others across the world in celebrating International Women’s Day today.

The event, which has been held on March 8 every year since 1913, celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

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