In Praise of International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day 2018 campaign theme:

With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo#TimesUp and more – there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

And while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.

So we can’t be complacent. Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to #PressforProgress. A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

International Women’s Day is not country, group or organisation specific. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. So together, let’s all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity. Collectively, let’s all Press for Progress.


Why we’re striking for women’s rights today

Protests are taking place across the world to mark International Women’s Day. Four UK campaigners explain what they’re standing up for.

Greetings on International Women’s Day. #Be Bold, Be Brave!


Originally called International Working Women’s Day, it was first celebrated on February 28, 1909, in New York in remembrance of a 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union when 15,000 workers, including many immigrants, marched through the city’s lower east side to demand social and political rights.



The first modern International Women’s Day was held in 1914, five years after its inception, on March 8. The day was chosen because it was a Sunday, which the majority of women would have off work allowing them to participate in marches and other events, and has been celebrated on that date ever since.

And today, in the USA, women are proposing ‘A day without a woman’.

In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. We recognize that trans and gender nonconforming people face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting. We believe in gender justice.

Strike women

Just a question – what conversations are taking place in the youth work world today about women’s liberation, the idea of a women’s strike – the collective struggle?


International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016

Women who want equality with men lack ambition.



IWomens Day

Thanks to Sue Atkins and Maureen Rodgers for the images.

And Anne Marron informs us that:

The global theme this year is Pledge for Parity. Follow and share this link and consider how you might learn and understand more about gender inequalities and take steps to bring about parity.

Whilst this article from Australia by Eva Cox asks some searching and uncomfortable questions.

Feminism has failed and needs a radical rethink

Thanks to Zuli Marma for the link.



International Women’s Day : The Struggle for both Bread and Roses continues


As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for—but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

The State of Youth Work Today : National Conference, March 8

Please print off and circulate the one side flyer for our fourth national conference – to be found below. It contains the following information.




Starting at 11.00 through to 4.00 sessions will include:

  • The significance of the renaissance of feminist youth work [FeministWebs]

  • Surviving in the training agencies and multi-agency services [Janet Batsleer and Nic Gratton]

  • The illusory pursuit of Outcomes and Well-Being [Tony Taylor and Ian McGimpsey]

  • Accommodating to and Resisting the Targeting Culture [Bernard Davies and Pauline Grace]

Lunch break at 1.15 – please bring your own as is our custom! Drinks provided.

Conference fee is a minimum of £10 for the waged and £5 for students/ the unwaged.

Directions to Burley at

To book a place and/or obtain more information, contact Tony at

Follow us at

March 2013 conference flyer The State of Youth Work Today

Our Fourth National IDYW Conference on International Women's Day, March 8 in Leeds



The assault on youth work, the youth service and public services is relentless. Cuts and closures continue. The shift from open to targeted work with young people appears inexorable. Compromised by the contract culture the voluntary youth sector sees its independence slipping away. Being a social entrepreneur trumps being a critical citizen. This and much more leaves us struggling on many fronts.

For example, as we write:

  • Our supporters are in the forefront of the Save Our Services campaign on Tyneside.

  • We are speaking at the inaugural conference of a Professional Open Youth Network in Europe

  • In the light of the critical need to open up dialogue across the open/targeted divide our next round of ‘Book’ workshops is consciously seeking to address this dilemma.

  • Through the Choose Youth alliance we are arguing for an open and pluralist conference of the ‘youth’ sector with no prescribed outcomes.

This is positive and draws for its inspiration on the fact that amidst the convulsion a significant layer of workers, managers and lecturers remain committed to emancipatory and democratic youth work despite the pressures and constraints.

At this point we are planning four sessions for our forthcoming conference:

  • The significance of the renaissance of feminist youth work.

  • Surviving in the training agencies and multi-agency services.

  • Strewn with illusions the pursuit of Outcomes and Well-Being?

  • Accommodating to and resisting the shifting landscape – where do we stand?

We are in the process of lining up an array of challenging speakers and facilitators. More information in the very near future.

We are chuffed to get Burley Lodge Centre as a venue for our gathering. It is only 5 minutes by train from the Leeds City centre and close too to Hinsley Hall, where the Youth & Policy History shindig is taking place over the weekend, 8th to 10th of March.

The day will run from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. with a lunch break at approximately 1.15 p.m. True to our tradition of self-sufficiency once again we are asking you to bring your own ‘butties’. Tea, coffee, juice and water will be provided.

The conference fee will be €10 for the waged with a request that where possible better paid supporters give an additional donation and €5 for students and the unwaged.

To book a place and/or obtain more information, contact Tony at

Please circulate by any means the  IDYW March 2013 conference flyer

Feminist Webs National Launch & International Women's Day

Youth work has a rich and proud tradition of work with girls and young women. On International Women’s Day it is inspiring to see the positive re-emergence of a feminist commitment to youth work, expressed through the network, Feminist Webs. On Saturday, March 10 the movement is holding its 2012 Launch Women and Girls Are Strong  at the People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Manchester from noon until 4.30 p.m.

More details Launch-event-10th-March-exhibition-flyer

It is sobering to look back on the struggles faced by pioneering women within youth work. One of the most influential was Lily Montagu [1873 – 1963], one of the founders of the National Association of Girls’ Clubs. A short and insightful biography by Jean Spence can be found on the INFED site.

lily montagu, girls’ work and youth work

And, as a shot across the bows of those, who believe the fight for women’s emancipation has gone too far, read

The feminisation of poverty and the myth of the ‘welfare queen’