Banbury gears up to celebrate International Women's Day

The ladies of Banbury and beyond will be celebrated during the inaugural International Women's Day Banbury with a number of free and ticketed events.

By Stuart Prestidge
Friday, 21st February 2020, 10:49 am
Updated Friday, 21st February 2020, 10:50 am
The Suffragettes started International Womens Day back in 1911
The Suffragettes started International Womens Day back in 1911

International Women’s Day Banbury (IWD) aims to promote gender equality via the arts, community and business events as part of a global campaign based this year on the theme 'Each for Equal.'

The event was brought to the town for the first time by business growth specialists Corse Concierge. The centrepiece of the month’s events takes place at The Mill Art Centre on Friday, March 6, with a mixture of free and ticketed activities.

Ella Barrington, managing director of Corse Concierge, said: "Having previously attended inspirational events celebrating International Women’s Day in London and Oxford, we really wanted to bring that excitement and energy to our local area.

"The Mill has always been a hub for sharing ideas and meeting new people, so we were thrilled when they came on board. We’re looking forward to bringing the community together to celebrate the achievements of women, and to inspire action to accelerate women's equality."

Events include a series of inspirational talks and discussions around four aspects of being a woman today. Each session will begin with a 15-minute talk where women speakers will share their personal stories, knowledge and lessons learnt.

Also on the programme are two workshops dedicated to the power of words - written and spoken. Illyahna Johnson is a modern calligrapher, illustrator, stationery designer and the founder of Illyboo Designs.

She will be teaching the basics of modern brush lettering during this two-hour class. Attendees will build up their skills and leave with their phrase in beautiful script.

Georgia Bradley, artistic director/CEO of The Mill Arts Centre, said: "We're delighted to be partnering with Corse Concierge on the inaugural International Women's Day Banbury. This is a celebration of women's achievements both in our local community and across the world.

"We hope that the residents of Banbury and beyond enjoy the exciting programme of talks, workshops, classes and exhibitions taking place at The Mill."

Also taking part are The Cherwell Theatre Company who will instruct women on use how to their voice and space to feel empowered via an interactive workshop with CTC artistic director, Tristan Jackson-Pate.

This Girl Makes, an on and offline community of designers and makers, are asking attendees to drop by, discuss and contribute to a one-off collaborative zine about women makers to be printed after the event.

This Girl Makes founder and furniture maker Hattie Poppy Speed will be also hosting a practical session where guests can make and personalise a wonderful wooden toolbox to take home.

The Mill’s dance studio space will host two yoga sessions, led by Yoga Quota-trained teacher Jackie Balchin. The 90-minute contemporary vinyasa morning practice will be open to all for a small fee.

Funds generated from this class will provide a further guided practice for those in the Banbury community that take time for others, but never make time for themselves.

IWD Banbury is asking the public to nominate the unsung heroes of our area - the volunteers and carers that make the town a better place. They will have the chance to relax and restore, free of charge, during the afternoon session.

From 9am until 4pm the public can access a “Female founders fair” full of independently owned and operated organisations from in and around Oxfordshire. There will be a chance to meet the women involved, check out their products and maybe even take something home.

Through the year The Mill programmes a number of exhibitions, with a particular focus on local artists, and work that links in with their professional programme of live events. During March visitors will be able to take in exhibitions linked to International Women's Day, gender equality and positive progress.

Alongside full-time artists, IWD Banbury will show contributions from local community groups representing a cross-section of the Cherwell community.

IWD Banbury is also bringing together local business and community members and young people from local schools and colleges in three short 'speed-dating' style mentoring sessions also on Friday, March 6. These sessions are designed to change perceptions of careers open to women and spark inspirational moments for both mentors and mentees.

There are also a number of frnge events taking place from March 2, for more information on them click here.

The official charity partner of IWD Banbury is Bloody Good Period. It is a charitable project that provides period supplies and toiletries to asylum seekers, refugees and those who can't afford them.

They collect donations of sanitary products and supply them to drop-in centres and support services across the UK. During March visitors to The Mill will be able to donate sanitary products for this cause.

Established in the early 1900s, it was the Suffragettes who started International Women’s Day, with the first officially named 'lnternational Women's Day' event held in 1911.

To this day, International Women’s Day (IWD) continues to be a powerful platform globally that drives action for gender parity while celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. IWD encourages us all to make a difference - to think globally and act locally.

By bringing a globally recognised event to Banbury the curators hope to empower local women and those that support them.

For more information about the day and to find out how to get involved with the events visit: or email [email protected]