Fri 15 November 2019

Feminism continues its roller-coaster ride in 2019.

Justice for Women has successfully supported Sally Challen’s bid for a re-trial on the grounds that her former husband, who she killed in 2010, exerted coercive control over her.

Emma Thompson’s resignation letter from the Skydance movie-in-the-making ‘Luck’ has been hailed as a “rallying cry” for the Time’s Up movement by a leading Hollywood activist. Thompson was incensed when the film company hired Toy Story director John Lasseter, who had previously admitted inappropriate behaviour.

Indefatigable Dolly Parton has been discussing her life and “9 to 5 the Musical”, now on at the Savoy Theatre. Based on the 1980s movie which also featured Dolly’s songs, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, a contemporised sequel of the ‘revenge on the male boss story’ has been promised. The queen of country music continues to wave the flag for independent, working women while deftly avoiding definitions of the F-word. You’ve just got to admire her diplomatic skills. Dolly for President? Now there’s a thought.

Dress sense at the Oscars took an abrupt U-turn from last year’s Time’s Up theme of funereal black. Mae West-inspired sequin dresses, slashed to the thigh, vied with a vast bubble gum pink marquee from Valentino, worn by Gemma Chan. Personally, I thought that Frances McDormand’s yellow Birkenstocks stole the show.

But the highlight of the week for me was not that Baroness Brady finally handed in her resignation to Sir P.G., but the publication of a book that offers hope for the future.

‘Resisters: 52 Young Women Making Her Story Right Now’ was is written by Lauren Sharkey and illustrated by Manjit Thapp (£8.99, Wren & Rook).

Here is the story of: Memory Banda, 22, who worked with Malawi’s Girl Empowerment Network to campaign against child marriage; Qatar-based Nawaal Akram, 20, a disability activist confined to a wheelchair who is also a comedian and successful model; and the likes of Kehkashan Bass, 18, whose team in Dubai have planted over 15,000 trees, cleaned 100 beaches and recycled more than 100 tonnes of waste. The youngest activist to feature in the book is just 10 years-old.

Don’t just buy this book for the young people you know (age 14+ recommended), give it to everyone you know.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, check your local museums, libraries and community centres for events that range from carnivals to conferences.

At the Pankhurst Centre Museum in Manchester, the launch of ‘100 Voices for 100 Years’ features a new collection of women’s writing. You can also catch the Centenary City exhibition which closes on 10 March. Opening hours are limited, check the website, and pay homage to Emmeline Pankhurst whose statue stands in St. Peter’s Square.

In Birmingham, the ‘Women Power Protest’ exhibition brings together historic and contemporary artworks including those of Susan Hiller, Lubaina Himid and Sam Taylor-Johnson OBE. It runs until March 31.

The touring show ‘209 Women Project ‘runs from March 1 to April 14 at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery. Created by photographer Hilary Wood, the project was conceived to promote the visibility of women. Female photographers have photographed female MPs for this outing.

There are still tickets available for the WOW Festival at the Royal Festival Hall on March 8-9. Saturday’s WOW: What next? includes presentations by two First Nations and Indigenous Women about female leadership, plus discussions by Helena Kennedy QC, Sandi Toksvig, Lily Allen, model and activist Munroe Bergdorf and much more.

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