March is Women's History Month, and 8 March is International Women's Day 2024, so there are plenty of events celebrating women and girls, non-binary and female-identifying people this month. These are our picks of events and things to do in London:
Arab Women Artists Now Festival 2024
Previously taking place at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) festival celebrates art, music, films, comedy, performances and more, created by female artists from the Arab world. It coincides with International Women's Day each year, and though the 2024 programme hasn't officially been announced at time of writing, two events at the Royal Albert Hall are available to book. Trumpeter and composer Yazz Ahmed launches this year's festival with a Late Night Jazz session on 29 February, and there's a special, all-female edition of regular comedy night Arabs Are Not Funny on 1 March.
Art On A Postcard IWD Auction 2024
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Regular charity art auction Art On A Postcard hosts its fifth annual International Women's Day auction. Bid online for limited-edition postcard-sized artworks from a variety of emerging and established female artists. Money raised goes to The Hepatitis C Trust, with a focus on the work the charity does in women's prisons.
Artists involved range from recent graduates, to established and world-renowned artists, and there's a chance to attend a private view of the works on 5 March (RSVP here).
Art on a Postcard IWD auction, online bidding 24 February-12 March 2024.
The Pem Presents IWD
Sally Abé, chef at restaurant The Pem has curated a line-up of leading female hospitality figures for a four week series of special International Women's Day dinners. Tuck into exclusive dinners created by acclaimed chefs Romy Gill MBE, Candice Brown, Poppy O’Toole, and Chantelle Nicholson, in collaboration with Sally. Each event features a four-course menu featuring brand-new dishes.
The Pem Presents IWD, 1, 7, 15, 22 March 2024.
This is a sponsored inclusion on behalf of the Royal Academy.
Angelica Kauffman at the Royal Academy
The Royal Academy unveils its latest exhibition, Angelica Kauffman, just in time for Women's History Month. A founding member of the Royal Academy, Kauffman was one of the most celebrated artists of the 18th century, and her works predominantly featured female protagonists — think women from classical history and mythology, as well as some of the most influential figures of her day, including queens, countesses, actors and socialites. Catherine the Great and Emma Hamilton were among her patrons.
The exhibition is a chance to get a closer look at Kauffman's paintings and preparatory drawings, and to learn about her life from child prodigy to rise to fame in London, her role as a founding member of the Royal Academy and her later career in Rome, all of which resulted in her being described as "the most cultivated woman in Europe".
Angelica Kauffman at the Royal Academy, 1 March-30 June 2024.
Women on the Frontlines exhibition
Opening at Buckle Street Studios, Women on the Frontlines is an exhibition celebrating 10 women who worked in essential jobs, from the NHS to postal services, during the Covid-19 lockdowns, and looking at the mental, physical and emotional toll it took.
Women on the Frontlines, free, 2-31 March 2024.
Women of the RNLI exhibition at the National Maritime Museum
Greenwich's National Maritime Museum opens its Women of the RNLI exhibition in early March, to mark the bicentenary of the founding of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It features 42 photographs taken by Jack Lowe, photographer on the Lifeboat Station Project, each depicting women who volunteer for the RNLI. It also looks at the charity's history and how women have been involved from the start, from fundraising to rescue missions.
Mothers in Ballet at the Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House screens newly-commissioned film, Mothers in Ballet, which covers the experiences of dancers who are also mothers. Director Eliza Schroeder looks at the conflicts and challenges involved in combining a career in dance with motherhood.
Mothers in Ballet, 5 March 2024.
Women by Women exhibition at gallery@0x0
Charity ActionAid hosts Women by Women, a free exhibition of photographs celebrating refugees from around the world, taken by female photographers from Poland, Uganda, Bangladesh, Colombia and Turkey.
The photos highlight the contributions refugees make to their host communities, from the Rohingya women living in Bangladesh who have trained as lifeguards to protect children in the community, to the activists in Uganda's refugee settlements who are teaching girls how to make their own reusable period products.
Women by Women exhibition, free, 7-10 March 2024.
EVE Wrestling at Big Penny Social
EVE: Riot Grrrls of Wrestling was founded to completely destroy misconceptions that wrestling is a male-dominated industry. It's described as a "punk-rock, women's wrestling and cabaret night out", and comes to Big Penny Social in Walthamstow for two International Women's Day events.
Women of the World 2024
It doesn't look like there will be a Women of the World Festival at Southbank Centre this year. Instead, we've got WOW: One Night Live In London, an event at Shoreditch Town Hall.
WOW Founder Jude Kelly hosts, as writers, thinkers, performers and activists and share stories from around the world, celebrate the achievements of women, girls and non-binary people, and take a look at the obstacles they face and discuss solutions for change. The evening is also the launch event for new audiobook A History of Women in 101 Objects, with author Annabelle Hirsch present.
WOW: One Night Live In London, 8 March 2024.
International Women's Day Comedy from The Comedy Store
The Moniker by Drake & Morgan partners with The Comedy Store for an all-female comedy night on International Women's Day. Thanyia Moore, Helen Bauer and Ria Lina are all scheduled to appear, and your ticket include a three-course dinner and welcome drink.
International Women's Day Comedy, 8 March 2024.
International Women's Day 2024 walking tours
WOMEN OF LONDON: A history tour company focusing on women's history, Women of London offers female-centric tours all year round, including one focusing on women in the British Museum, and another telling the stories of working women on the East End. Keep an eye on the website for Women's History Month/International Women's Day specials.
WOMEN OF SOUTHWARK: A Southwark Cathedral guide leads an hour-long Women of Southwark tour, focusing on women whose lives were connected to the cathedral, including Victorian educator Octavia Hill and Queen Mary. 7 March
LITERARY WOMEN: As part of this year's Literary Footprints Festival, Footprints of London tour guide Daniella King offers a walking tour around the Square Mile with a theme of literary women. Agatha Christie, Mary Wollstonecraft and the Bronte Sisters all feature, along with some lesser-known female authors. 9 March
PROTEST AND POWER: The Royal Parks offers a special Women's History Month tour of Hyde Park, focusing on little-known stories of women in the park throughout its history. Hear about pickpocket Jenny Diver who was executed at the Tyburn Tree, and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who made use of Speakers' Corner to get her message heard. 9 March
Women's History Month 2024 talks and lectures
LSE TALKS: See Dr Grace Lordan and comedian Cally Beaton in discussion about sexism in comedy at LSE. They talk about how comedy can both perpetuate and conceal sexism, and the complex interplay between humour and societal issues. FREE, 5 March. There's also an LSE Library Late, celebrating 10 years of the Women's Library Reading Room, with a chance to view the archives and take behind the scenes tours. FREE, 7 March
ART OF PROTEST: Ahead of International Women's Day, the V&A Museum offers a free lunchtime lecture about new exhibition exhibition Acts of Resistance: Photography, Feminisms and the Art of Protest, which opens at South London Gallery on IWD. Hear about some of the themes of the exhibition, which brings together 16 international artists using the camera to challenge and move beyond traditional modes of protest photography. FREE, 7 March
Read about more great London women
Plenty of Londonist articles to get stuck into:
- Noor Inayat Khan: A Very Important Statue You Probably Never Noticed
- 10 Black Women Who Changed London For The Better
- It's 320 Years Since Britain's First Newspaper Was Founded by A Female Editor
- In Pictures: The Women Shaping London's Grime Scene
- The Docklands Gym Where Muslim Women Are Toughening Up And Feeling Empowered
- In Pictures: The Women Who Keep London Underground Going
- In Pictures: The Pioneering Women Of London Transport
- A Tube Map Of Well-Known (And Should-Be-Well-Known) Women
- Muslim Girls Fence - The Movement That's Slicing Up Stereotypes
- Inside London's First All-Female Mechanics' Garage: Spanners With Manners