13 March 2018




We call March 8th International Women's Day, a day set aside to appreciate, discuss, and learn more about women's lives, careers, and aspirations across the globe, as well as to focus on gender diversity and equality. I wanted to look at some examples of how museums across the globe celebrated/mentioned/focused on women on this very important international day. Interestingly, the more searching I did, only particular countries mentioned specifically museums doing something for International Women's Day--North America, Australia, the United Kingdom, and some Western European countries. This tells me that International Women's Day still has a long way to go until it becomes truly international.

1. The UK

According to the Museums Association, #PressforProgress became the hashtag for International Women's Day in the UK heritage world. Many venues linked activities to the year's 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave some UK women the right to vote for the first time. National Museums Liverpool had a range of events such as talks and exhibitions. London's Southbank Centre hosted WOW -- Women of the World festival from the 7-11 of March, which included artists, writers, politicians, comedians, and activities to discuss issues of gender equality, and the Scarborough Museums Trust staged Glass Ceilings: The Unseen Barriers to Women's Success, an event that featured a panel of women who have made an impact in the museum world. Speakers included: Jane Glaister, Jane Sellars, and Barabara Woroncow.

I looked up the #pressforprogress hashtag and was pleasantly surprised to see a collection of tweets that were open, honest, and focused on many important global political situations. 

2. Italy

Through Italy's Ministry of Culture, women entered museums and cultural sites for free on International Women's Day. There was also a large social media movement, particularly on Instagram, where visitors were encouraged to take photos and share their favourite women in paintings, sculptures, and the arts using the hashtag #8marzoalmuseo

There were also special events and exhibitions focused on the contributes of women in art and culture at national sites and museums. On another note, they also held a series of rallies for equal rights that same day.

Pompeii was one of the sites open for free to women all day. Source.

3. Australia

The Western Australian Museum got personal this year, with a blog post on their website that has the personal stories from four employees about their achievements, struggles, and goals in their work. This is a great way to recognize that there is still a need to educate and hear about women's experiences in the world, particularly in a career such as the museum field. These stories are empowering, truthful, and an intriguing way for a museum to open up its doors to the public about necessary issues.

The four women from the Western Australian Museum and the links to their stories. Source.

On a day that was filled with marches across the globe demanding women's rights in countries such as Australia, India, and Indonesia, some countries also focused on women's contributions to arts or to a national story. However, there were still countries where there the struggle for rights acknowledgement was evident, such as in China, where a prominent feminist social media account was shut down by the government the day of.

As International Women's Day becomes more recognized across the globe, even when we feel a sense of complacency seeing governments utilize museums and galleries to commemorate women's contributions, it is important to remember that we are still struggling in so many ways and places across this globe, and we need to keep fighting.

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