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Celebrate International Women’s Day 2018

In this guest blog, Stephanie Anderson of Scottish Enterprise highlights some fantastic ways to celebrate and enjoy International Women’s Day 2018 (#IWD2018) across Scotland. 

International Womens Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and, whilst we at Scottish Enterprise are continually making progress in this area, leading by example and championing this agenda, it’s a good reminder to us all to put the spotlight on celebrating achievements within our organisations and in Scotland and an opportunity to remind ourselves and re-ignite awareness of the journey still ahead.

Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive and you’ll see this hashtag trending on social media and being used to amplify the message in an inclusive and positive way.

IWD is powered by the collective efforts of all. As we know from all aspects of business, collective impact is what powers success and lasting change. So how can we individually and collectively get involved? There are events and celebrations all across Scotland on 8 March (and the surrounding weeks) that offer a vast array of ways to get involved, have fun, join the discussion, lend your voice, showcase achievements, be serious, be silly and everything in between.


Between 4 and 17 March in Dundee will be Dundee’s Women Festival  almost three weeks of events, drama, discussions and workshops at various venues across the city. The theme for 2018 is ‘Vote for the Future!’

The University of Edinburgh’s annual International Women’s Day public lecture will be by Anne Richards CVO CBE FRSE, Chief Executive Officer of M&G Investments and Vice-Convener of University of Edinburgh Court on the theme “Investing for everyone – can Finance help close the gender equality gap?” – 7 March in Edinburgh, tickets are free but must be booked.

For cinema goers, there’ll be a showing of CINE[STHESIA] 23: Anonymous was a Woman on 7 March in Glasgow. This compilation takes a critical and comical look at historical gender roles as seen in films in the Moving Image Archive.

Scottish Enterprise will be supporting the Investing Women “Ambition & Growth” Conference in a partnership capacity. It’s on at the Sheraton Hotel on 8 March in Edinburgh. Scottish Enterprise have a stand there, be running a “Support for Ambitious Growing Businesses from Scotland’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” workshop, have a rep on the AccelerateHER judging panel and will have innovation, IP and investor readiness expert 1 to1s. Loads of other great stuff on the agenda, which is being updated all the time here.  Tickets are available online.

The University of Aberdeen is holding an IWD conference in Aberdeen on 8 March with keynote speaker from Qatar, Dr Sheikha Aishai, who’s been continually voted one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world. Tickets are £20 and more info here.

Also in Aberdeen on 8 March is an International Women’s Day at The Tunnels musical celebration described by The List as “A spiky musical affair”. So, if punk is your thing, that’s the place to be.

More mainstream in Aberdeen on 8 March is Georgina Jackson with the AJO On International Woman’s Day. Georgina Jackson, trumpeter and vocalist as guest with Aberdeen’s own fabulous jazz orchestra, the AJO at the Blue Lamp.

Another musical event on the 8 March in Edinburgh is When The Blackbird Sings at Arusha Gallery, billed as beautiful tales and wondrous poems shared by some of Scotland’s most creative writers, surrounded by Swedish photographer Jannica Honey’s work, as part of her When the Blackbird Sings exhibition. Info and tickets.

On 8 March in Paisley will be Wicked Women: Carol, Laura and Friends in an evening of music and spoken word marking IWD.

There’s an IWD with Gaia Supper Club in Kirkcaldy on Friday 9 March billed as a supper club shining a light on important issues related to gender equality. Book tickets.

If you’d like to see IWD celebrated with dance on Saturday 10 March, in Glasgow will be Virago, a co-production of SSCo, mac birmingham and The Old Rep Birmingham. A dance-digital solo production from Sonia Sabri, Artisitc Director of SSCo, collaborating with Ludic Rooms. ‘Virago’ is vibrant, compelling, brace and dynamic. It explores the light vs dark and the real vs fairy tale versions of female existence. Virago means ‘female warrior’ in Latin and vira is ‘the brave one’ in Hindi.

On Sunday 11 March, Perth is really going for it with an IWD Enterteasement Comedy Burlesque Magic Matinee Show at The Venue. Sounds like something different for a Sunday afternoon!

There are bound to be many more events than the ones that we’ve found and listed above. So, if anyone knows of any more happening across Scotland, please share them.

Other than attending events, you can get involved in other ways:


If you want to go all out and download some selfie cards for IWD to share to #PressforProgress with a specific message across social media, you can get inspiration and downloadable cards. Or use the tag #IWD2018.


press for progress


Want to make a silent but fashionable statement? Wear purple! Violet is apparently Pantone’s “Colour of the Year” for everything in 2018. (Specifically, Pantone “Ultra Violet 18-3838 if you want to get it on point).


A great reading recommendation from Maria Bradshaw (especially for sharing with kids) is Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. More top book suggestions for IWD are listed book suggestions for IWD.


Scottish entrepreneur, Vicky Brock, has recently launched a podcast series called The Entrepreneur Agony Aunt whereby she brings on a guest from the entrepreneurial community or support ecosystem every fortnight to discuss business growth challenges with no filter because, as she says, “there are no mistakes that someone else hasn’t made first”. They’re really good, really relevant and you can find them in your Apple Podcast app, on Spotify or here. She’s bound to be doing an IWD special. As will The Guilty Feminist podcasts. Whilst these are not for everyone, nor for the easily offended, if you like your equality discussions with a comedy twist, these shows are most amusing. The host, Deborah Frances-Whyte, ran a pitching session for the Scotland Can Do Scale Summer School a few years back and people still rave about it. Downloadable from Apple Podcasts.


There are a number of activities that support and encourage equality, diversity and inclusiveness across Scottish Enterprise that we deliver ourselves or support, including:

Principally Women

John MacLennan in Scottish enterprise’s entrepreneurial team leads on the Principally Women project which provides tailored support to female business leaders from scale up companies to growing their businesses through improved confidence and leadership. The programme is currently live with 12 women taking part on the pilot Cohort 1. Find out more here.


Did you know… that the identity of the amazing bicep flexing woman behind the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” image that’s used alongside this article, was revealed after 70 years last week when she passed away at the grand old age of 96? (Thank you to John Maclennan for the snippet!).


Find out more about IWD and its history.

Further Information: www.internationalwomensday.com #IWD2018 #PressforProgress

Please share your #IWD2018 tweets, events and updates with us on Twitter: @WITScotland