Get your diaries out, because the offering of feminist events for 2019 is bigger and better than ever.
By all accounts, 2018 – dubbed “the year of the woman” – was action-packed in terms of major feminist moments. In the UK, we saw the 100th anniversary of (some) women’s enfranchisement, as well as the centenary of women being able to stand for parliament.
Statues of leading figures in the women’s suffrage movement were unveiled in London and Manchester, awards ceremonies and film festivals were dominated by discussions of sexual assault and gender inequality, and women’s marches took place around the world.
But while there might not be any major women’s history anniversaries in 2019, that doesn’t mean we can afford to be complacent. The year ahead is packed with ways to celebrate the sisterhood, from protests to panel discussions, exhibitions, art classes and theatre.
Below, we’ve compiled a handy UK-wide calendar of feminist events for 2019 – so join us and mark these dates in your diary.
We’ll be updating this page throughout the year, so save it to your bookmarks!
Ladies of Qualities & Distinction (until 20 Jan 2019)
Discover the hidden stories of the women who helped establish and run London’s Foundling Hospital, where abandoned children were housed and educated from the mid-18th century to 1951. At this exhibition at the Foundling Museum, you’ll find portraits of remarkable - but long overlooked - women, from wet nurses to artists to staff and musicians.
Event in London / Free event / More information here.
Lucy Orta: Procession Banners (until 20 January 2019)
To mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, Birmingham-born artist Lucy Orta spent much of 2018 creating procession banners with female prisoners at HMP Downview.
Why? Many prisoners were transferred to Downview after HMP Holloway - the notorious jail where suffragettes were imprisoned - closed its doors for the last time. The banners, which address subjects including the power of the vote and what it means to be a woman today, are now on display at Birmingham’s Medicine Bakery & Gallery.
Event in Birmingham / Free to enter, suggested donation £3 / More information here.
Represent! Voices 100 Years On Exhibiton (until 3 February 2019)
Manchester is recognised as the birthplace of the suffragette movement, thanks to its status as the home of the Pankhurst family.
At this interactive exhibition at the People’s History Museum, campaigning material from present-day feminist groups including Repeal the 8th and Women’s March Manchester are shown alongside suffragette banners, sashes and photographs from the early 20th century, as modern women share what representation means to them today.
Event in Manchester / Free event / More information here.
Votes for Women (until 10 March 2019)
To celebrate the centenary of women’s enfranchisement, the Museum of London is hosting a display dedicated to the women who fought throughout the 50-year struggle for the vote.
Displaying items from the museum’s extensive suffrage collection, including the medal given to Emmeline Pankhurst following her hunger strikes, the exhibition includes costume, memorabilia and lesser-known information about the movement. There’s also a documentary telling the stories of some lesser-known suffragettes.
It’s free, but you’ll want to take some extra cash to spend in the gift shop, where you can buy blue plaque plates, suffragette coasters and other irresistible souvenirs.
Event in London / Free event / More information here.
Women Who Shaped Manchester (until 10 March 2019)
This exhibition at Manchester’s John Rylands Library sheds light on the lives of some of the most inspiring women in the city’s history. From a letter written by Emmeline Pankhurst to a scroll presented to Enriqueta Rylands, the first woman to be given the official freedom of the city, these documents highlight the astonishing achievements of women who made Manchester what it is today.
Event in Manchester / Free event / More information here.
Women Power Protest (until 31 March 2019)
Contemporary feminist artists who have explored protest, social commentary and identity in their work are showcased in this major exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Works by big names such as Sam Taylor-Johnson, Lubaina Himid and Louise Bourgeois explore the progress that’s been made since women first won the vote, and the challenges still faced by women today.
Event in Birmingham / Free event / More information here.
Making Her Mark (until 14 April 2019)
Historically, women were excluded from commercial printmaking, which was only open to male apprentices. In the 19th and 20th centuries, however, many female artists turned to wood-engraving, lithography, etching and lino printing, with beautiful results. Learn more about how women shaped the world of printmaking at this exhibition at Belfast’s Ulster Museum.
Event in Belfast / Free event / More information here.
Women’s March London (19 January 2019)
The Women’s March in London in July 2018 was a huge spectacle, as the people of Britain came out in droves to protest Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.
With the official date for the UK’s departure from the EU looming, this year’s Women’s March on London will be in protest against austerity: “the common denominator in the rise of economic oppression, violence against women, gender pay gap, racism, fascism, institutional sexual harassment, hostile environment and Brexit.”
Event in London / Free to participate / More information on the official Women’s March London website here.
Women’s Comedy Workshop (19 January 2019)
Can’t think of anything more terrifying than doing stand-up? That’s exactly why you should give this workshop a go. Comedian and tutor Jane Postlethwaite will share her tips on everything from mining your personal life for laughs to tackling self-doubt, in a warm, judgement-free environment. The workshop is open to all who identify as women and has been specifically designed to support people with mental health issues.
Event in Manchester / Tickets £65 (£50 for students and those on low incomes) / More information here.
A Feminist’s Guide to Dinosaurs (19 January - 16 March 2019)
If your interests include gender equality and palaeontology, book yourself onto this guided tour through London’s Natural History Museum. Run by The Big Art Herstory Project, the tour aims to raise the visibility of female palaeontologists and geologists from history, as well as exploring the challenges women face in the field today.
An art session in the afternoon will give you the chance to draw some of the museum’s awe-inspiring artefacts, led by feminist drawing tutor Luisa-Maria MacCormack.
Event in London / £32.03 / More information here.
Why every feminist needs to embrace intersectionality (21 January 2019)
The Women’s Equality Party are kicking off their 2019 events calendar by hosting this timely talk by Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu – lawyer, Women’s March London organiser and a former Stylist Woman of the Week. Dr Mos-Shogbamimu will share her thoughts on the necessity of intersectionality in modern feminism – one not to be missed.
Event in London / £5.83 / More information here.
Feminist Life Drawing (22 January 2019)
Diana first began life modelling in Sixties America. Now in her 80s, she will be posing at this Stories of Women event at London’s Feminist Library, and discussing everything from ageing to her experiences in the women’s liberation movement. Drawers will also get the chance to join the conversation and try posing themselves. Teenage girls welcome.
Event in London / Payment on a sliding scale / More information here.
Glasgow Girls (23 - 26 January 2019)
This award-winning musical drama was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2016, selling more tickets than any other show that year. Directed by Cora Bissett, Glasgow Girls tells the life-affirming story of seven teenage girls who take a stand when their friend and her asylum-seeking family are threatened with deportation. After its run in Edinburgh, the show will go on to Perth and Inverness.
Event in Edinburgh / Tickets from £18.50 / More information here.
Be Your Own Sugar Daddy (24 January)
This women-only money management workshop and networking event is run by Black Girls Rule and presented by Abiola Olaore, the founder of financial literacy community Active Budgeter. Expect hands-on guidance on saving and budgeting, as well as the chance to connect with your own money mentor.
Event in London / Tickets from £20 / More information here.
Radical Women of the East End (10 February 2019)
In 1914, suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was expelled from the Women’s Social and Political Union and founded the East London Federation of Suffragettes, which prioritised the needs of working class women. On this walking tour, you can learn more about Pankhurst and other radical female East Enders, including the matchwomen who went on strike in 1888 and pioneering councilwoman Minnie Lansbury.
Event in London / Tickets £12 / More information here.
Audacious Women Festival (21 - 25 February 2019)
Want to widen your horizons? Come along to the fourth annual Audacious Women Festival in Edinburgh. The women-only workshops, talks and performances here are all themed around the idea of trying something new - whether that means getting involved in political activism, singing in public, writing creatively or learning wilderness survival skills.
Event in Edinburgh / Some events free, others ticketed / More information here.
Yours in Sisterhood Film Screening (1 - 9 March 2019)
Yours in Sisterhood is a film unlike any other. Between 2015 and 2017, director Irene Lusztig asked hundreds of strangers across the US to read aloud letters that were sent to the editor of Ms, the country’s first major feminist magazine, in the Seventies. The readers’ responses reveal how things have changed for the feminist movement in the last 40 years - and illuminate the work that’s still to be done.
Event in London / Tickets £9 / More information here.
#March4Women (3 March)
One hundred years ago, suffragettes held rallies in Westminster Central Hall in London. In 2019, the venue is being taken over by #March4Women, CARE International UK’s annual event to call for global gender equality. (The #March4Women was a demonstration through the streets of London last year, but in 2019 it’s an indoor event.) Expect rousing speeches from activists and #March4Women’s celebrity supporters, as well as musical performances and other brilliant entertainment.
Event in London / Tickets from £5 / More information here.
WOW: Women of the World Festival (8 - 9 March 2019)
Women of the World (WOW) festival launched in the UK back in 2010, as a space for feminist activists, artists, performers and thinkers to celebrate women and girls everywhere - while raising awareness of issues that prevent them from achieving their true potential. Ahead of the 10th anniversary of WOW in 2020, they are hosting a brilliant festival of events at the Southbank Centre, to coincide with International Women’s Day 2019.
The two-day festival will feature a fantastically inspiring line-up of speakers, including political activist Angela Davis, author and filmmaker Naomi Klein and comedian Jo Brand, as part of a series of talks and workshops that take a fresh look at the state of gender politics and equality in the UK.
Event at the Southbank Centre in London / Prices vary / Buy tickets on the Southbank website here.
Images: iStock / Rex Features / Getty Images