“50/50 should be seen as an average, not the ceiling” was just one of many discussions heard earlier this week, during MK Community Foundation’s International Women’s Day event.
Monday 8th March saw many local people gather virtually to celebrate International Women’s Day, which involved discussions around gender equality, coupled with exploring challenges faced by women and girls in Milton Keynes.
Facilitated by Fola Komolafe MBE DL and hosted by MK Community Foundation, with help from a wider committee of local women, the event encouraged people to open up about how they might #ChooseToChallenge issues around gender equality, in line with the International Women’s Day theme of 2021, with women from diverse backgrounds given the opportunity to share their experiences.
The celebration began with a video showcasing some of the highlights from a series of podcasts that were released by the Community Foundation in the lead up to the day itself, featuring inspirational women from varying backgrounds and their #ChooseToChallenge pledges. Following this, the attendees were given the opportunity to write personal pledges onto an online message board.
A highlight of the event involved a virtual dance class from Mariya Dmitrova of the Bulgarian Community Association. She demonstrated some traditional Bulgarian dance moves the audience could join in with from home, which resulted in laughter and enjoyment by all. Amanda Carter Philpott, from MK Soroptimists, said: “As a disabled woman I am often filled with trepidation before attending events but the IWD event on 8th March 2021 online due to COVID was amazing and a truly inclusive and quality event. I could even join in the dancing! I hope it will continue to be so in years to come when we just might be able to have the best of both worlds!”.
As part of the occasion, a discussion was had between Nanda Manley Browne, 50/50 Parliament Director, Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for the Public Realm & Housing Services at Milton Keynes Council and Paul Day, Mayor of Newport Pagnell, around the issues surrounding women getting into politics and the challenges faced in order to break down barriers. In response to positive feedback, 50/50 Parliament plan to hold a follow up event. More information soon to follow.
The audience were moved by local poet, Alexis Roberts, as she recited a poem written specifically for the event titled ‘Challenge’. The poem aims to encourage women to band together and have their voices heard.
Following smaller group discussions around how equality can be achieved in a future filled with challenges, an incredible performance was given from Yochobel Asante and Tatyana Muzondo of Arts 1. The duet wowed the audience with their performance of ‘Stand Up’ from the film ‘Harriet’ - an uplifting end to an event that succeeded in celebrating the achievements of women, while raising the question of how we can all work together to form a more inclusive world.
MK Community Foundation extend their thanks to Penrose Creates, Fola Komolafe MBE DL, MK ACT, MK College, Willen Hospice, Milton Keynes Fawcett Society and MK Soroptimists for their contribution as members of the committee and for helping to make the event such a success.
Missed out on the event? The recording can be accessed on MK Community Foundation’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPpEQAiBb3hxVmB3I_Rc3cw