Uninspiring Tokenism International Women’s Day Hull

I attended the International Women’s Day event in Hull but what I saw left me disheartened. I didn’t taste the cakes, I didn’t hear the likes of Edina and Carrie Martin (Her sponsorship deal? Not really relevant )

centredinternationalwomensdayIt is an absolute travesty that the assembled women were specifically told at the start of the Q and A. ‘We don’t want anything political, don’t ask any serious questions to the panel just keep it light.’ On International Women’s Day in Hull, women were telling women what they could do. That is a sad, sad state of affairs.

Where are the young women someone asked?

‘We had two pages in the local paper.’ Mary Glew responds, she is the Lord Mayor in case you weren’t aware. Sorry Mary if you want younger audiences you have to reach out to them in ways and methods they understand. Now bearing in mind the online poster of events failed to materialise until friday, then I think you are a long way off, reaching younger women. Yes you had your debate event at the school the previous day, but you made no mention of the issues raised, no discussion about the young womens’ concerns at all.

The sibling rivalry by the Chair and her sister over the ongoing saga of a missing poem, was embarrassing to witness and the weak admission of not being able to read, from a sheet of A4…beggared belief, it really did. If the younger women had been there I hope they’d have been appalled at this farce. And poor Sister Teresa we were promised repeatedly we would hear from her, she didn’t get a look in. She was so moved by the turn of events, that she commented as much at the end.

As for the celebration of Art and Creativity, well that was a huge opportunity missed. The gallery space had been double booked and rather than come to some accommodation, the work selected to represent creativity for this International movement, was stuck on walls behind coffee tables and other barriers and not at all celebrated or even accessible.

This is possibly the biggest failing, not being able to secure a space that could have been a focus point to direct visitors to coming into the building and somewhere, discussions about the work, the artists, the themes could have taken place outside of the programmed events.

There was absolutely no indication that there was anything going on in the library that day. I spoke with a number of library staff and they had no clue, sending me to one place and then another with absolutely no idea, where the International Women’s Day was happening.

There were no posters, no branding whatsoever, so anybody else visiting the library that day would have had no idea that anything significant was going on.

In fact the most pertinent moment was when Audrey Dunne spoke, when she lit a candle to commemorate the women facing adversity throughout the world. Even that moment was interrupted by some jobsworthy health and safety speel, that threatened to ruin the moment. It’s a candle for heaven’s sake, we do not need chapter and verse on emergency exits. Also to the women volunteering at the soup kitchens, feeding the homeless and those left to fend for themselves through care in the community I salute you. ‘There but for the grace… ,’do I say as I catch sight of a figure huddled in a doorway.  But even that pressing issue was quickly rolled over, for fear of getting political.

I had gone to the event hoping to see something that spoke to me, something that I could feel inspired by; surprised by; challenged by; but no all I saw was lilly-livered, uninspiring tokenism.

I’d have thought there would have been a bit more fight in you; a bit more activism, a bit more anything.  It was as if the whole thing was being managed by some unseen eye, a Conservative eye at that, it was so much jam and Jerusalem, it was God awful.

I am but one woman in Hull. I represent only myself, but surely somebody else must have seen the hypocrisy on show.

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