Whats happening for International Women Day

The first International Womens Day was held in the US a century ago and became an annual event shortly after when, in 1911, 140 women lost their lives in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York, the worst workplace disaster in that city until September 11, 2001.

The tragedy mobilised a womens movement demanding better work conditions and a century later International Womens Day is still celebrated across the planet as a day to recognise and celebrate womens achievements and acknowledge the issues they face today.

Lismore retail worker Melissa Varty, a mother of three, said workplace conditions was still one of those issues.

This is an important thing, Ms Varty said. Women are still behind the eight-ball when it comes to work conditions. Many of us are casual workers and our shifts and pay leave much to be desired.

In the Northern Rivers, International Womens Day is being celebrated with several different celebrations. Following are some of the events.

Friday, March 7

March and picnic, beginning on the corner of Magellan and Carrington Streets, Lismore. Hear speakers from 11am, then march to Heritage Park for the picnic at 12.30pm. Page MP Janelle Saffin will address the gathering at Heritage Park. BYO everything. Free hot and cold drinks. For information phone Lavender on 0448 251 348. For transport assistance phone 6621 2685.

IWD lunch at the Goddess Pavilion (re-named from the Gordon Pavilion) at Oakes Oval in Lismore from midday. Speakers include long-time volunteer Nora Vidler-Blanksby, winner of the 2008 Rural Womens Award for NSW, Tracey Knowland, general manager of Community Connections North Coast, Margi Hill, and Lismore Base Hospital director of nursing Liz Clarke. The afternoon includes giveaways and performances by Scarlett Affection and bellydancer Belladonna. The cost of the luncheon is $15. To book phone Sue Miller on 6625 0577 or email sue.miller@lismore.nsw.gov.au.

Saturday, March 8

IWD celebration at the Bangalow Showgrounds with speakers including Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Services Union, and Yvonne Hartman, an SCU lecturer and Welfare to Work researcher. There will also be workshops on everything from screen printing, yoga, hip hop and clay modelling to a womens legal rights trivia session with prizes, plus seminars on lesbian human rights, art and parenting. This will be followed by a stimulating debate: Nothing Much has Changed in 100 Years.

Parade in Nimbins main street at 11am, followed by a luncheon at the Nimbin Bowling Club from midday featuring special guest Harper Mead (pictured), the former lead singer of Girls in Uniform and anchor of Prime TVs Entertainment Weekly. Harper has also recently released her CD Wonderland. The luncheon costs $10 and includes a Chinese smorgasbord.

Tuesday, March 11

A special luncheon called Salt & Earth, presented by Ballina Shire Council and the NSW Office of Women, will be held at the Ballina RSL Club from 12 noon to 2.30pm. The event will showcase a range of international guest speakers, plus therell be a sumptuous lunch and fantastic prizes. Tickets are $30 per head. Bookings to Jane Laverty on 6686 1419 or email janel@ballina.nsw.gov.au.


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