The Vocal Local: What International Women’s Day means to me as a girl in Blackpool

15-year-old Ella Lucy Humphries is one of 20 girls locally heading to Scotland to take part in the Four Nations International Women’s Day Festival. She writes about what the day means to her.

For International Women’s Day this year there are lots of brilliant things going on in our local area. But why do we have International Women’s Day? What is the history behind it? And what’s it’s like to be a young women living in Blackpool now?

The United Youth Alliance (UYA), an organisation that promotes social action, has provided me with a bunch of brilliant opportunities to share my opinions, ideas and experiences with my community. One of these opportunities is attending the Four Nations International Women’s Day festival in Scotland this weekend.

This is a trip that me and a few other girls from Blackpool and the Fylde Coast will be going on to share our experiences with other young women from across the United Kingdom.

I was also a part of the Let Me Speak project, which brought women of all ages together to talk about there experiences growing up on the Fylde Coast and ways we could improve the life quality for the next generation of young women in Blackpool.

The significance of 8th March can be traced back to 1908 when women felt and needle workers marched through New York City’s Lower East Side to protest against child labour in the factories they were working in, and the conditions that they were made to work in. They demanded women’s suffrage.

Everybody’s heard of Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davison. But have you heard of Kathleen Hanna or Valerie Solanas? These are some of the fierce feminists that inspire me.

Two years later in 1910 their bravery was recognised and the 8th March officially became International Women’s Day. Today it’s used to highlight women’s ongoing struggles.

There are a lot of unsung heroes in the feminist movement. Everybody’s heard of Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davison. But have you heard of Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill? Or Valerie Solanas author of the SCUM manifesto? These are some of the fierce feminists that inspire me.

Solanas was a radical feminist who is most well known for shooting the artist Andy Warhol, but the reason behind that is often not spoken about and it now overshadows her groundbreaking work. Solanas wrote a satire manifesto meant to criticise inequality and challenge the status quo, SCUM stands for SOCIETY FOR CUTTING UP MEN and incorporates freudian ideals.

Kathleen Hanna was one of the founding sisters of the Riotgrrl movement, which was much more than music. Riotgrrl was an underground feminist punk movement that begun in the early 1990s. It combined feminist punk music with politics, and also had its own manifesto published in 1991. Riotgrrl is sometimes described as indie rock, but the scene gave women a place to write music about expressing emotions that aren’t normally accepted. Hanna also worked on a feminist zine called Riotgrrl which was a call to action for young girls to express themselves.

There are a lot of brilliant things for young women of all ages to get involved in on the Fylde Coast – like Girl Guiding which teaches life skills to young women and gives them a place to express their interests and learn more about the world and culture. We are also very lucky to have lots of workshops and activities to do with women’s rights and feminism in Blackpool itself.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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