International Women's Day 2015

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Dublin City Public Library and Archives International Women's Day LogoThis Sunday, 8 March is International Women's Day 2015. This is annual celebration of women all around the globe, and is a time to reflect on progress made in society for women, a call for continuation of change and improvement in regards to the treatment of women, and it acknowledges the girls and women from across the world that have played a part in the history of their communities. 

The theme for this year's international event is Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It! It focuses on the vision of a world where girls and women can exercise their power of choice, whether regarding participation in politics, the workforce or education, as well as the power to earn a fair income, and live in societies that are free from discrimination and violence in all forms. 

The theme of International Women’s Day in Dublin City Public Libraries is "Women’s Stories." Stories in folklore and legend, cinema and documentaries, poetry, art and history. Check out the link above to find events going on in your local Dublin City Public Library during the month of March such as exhibitions, talks, and more. 

Below you will find a great selection of media that gives insight into women and their value to history, the present, and the future. As a woman myself, I think I'll have to take a look into these too!

History of Women in Ireland, 1500 - 1800A History of Women in Ireland, 1500 to 1800 (2005) by Mary O'Dowd gives a comprehensive look at the role of women in early modern Ireland over this period of 300 years. It covers a wide range of source material, and analyses the changing role of woman through the old and new communities of Ireland, during a time of great change for Ireland which was being transformed by colonisation by England at the time. O'Dowd examines the participation of women in the changing economy, politics and culture during this period.

WadjdaThe movie Wadjda (2012) is a Saudi Arabian–German film, written and directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. It was the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director. It was awarded multiple awards at film festivals around the globe, as well as being nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2014 BAFTA Awards. In the film, Wadjda is an 11-year-old Saudi girl, who dreams of owning a bicycle of her own so that she can race against her friend Abdullah, a boy from her neighbourhood. Her mother will not buy it for her however, as the Saudi culture frowns against girls riding bikes. Wadjda decides to enter a Quran reciting contest in order to maybe win enough money to make the bike. The film is an opportunity to see the treatment of women in a different society and culture, as well as to see the ordinary heroism of a young girl, fighting against the discrimination that she encounters. 

A Room of One's OwnVirginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own (1929) is an extended essay based on a lecture series Woolf gave in 1928 at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University. In the piece, a fictional narrator explores women in fiction and women writers of fiction, a field dominated by patriarchy in Woolf's time and historically. The title is a reference to Woolf's belief that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf looks at woman writers and scholars of the past as well, including the likes of those such as Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot, Jane Ellen Harrison, and more. 

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale (1985) by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood is set in a future dystopian world where the United States has been replaced by a society run by a totalitarian Christian theocracy. It explores a world in which women once again are stripped of their rights, and are subject to the rules of men and old world beliefs of patriarchy. The novel explores the subjugation of women, and the ways in which they overcome this domination. The narrator is Offred, who has been separated from her daughter and husband by the new totalitarian government so that she may be used as a concubine for a military and commander and his wife, who need help conceiving a child. The novel details her struggles in this role and her journey to be reunited with her family, as well as once again finding power as a woman in a society that denies her all of this. 

The Lady movie posterThe film The Lady (2011) was directed by Luc Besson and written by Rebecca Frayn, and tells the story of Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi's father helped lead Burma to independence in 1947, but that same year was assassinated by a group of armed paramilitaries of the former Prime Minister of Burma. As an adult, Suu Kyi moved to England where she got married and started a family. However, in 1988 she returns to Burma to take care of her ailing mother. She realises while there just how in need Burma is in need of political reform, and she begins to take part in political reform by starting her own party and running for election. She is elected in 1990, but the Burmese government refuses to recognise this fact. They put her on house arrest for more than a decade, and banned her family from Burma. The film details her struggle to fight for her country and her struggle to find power as a woman, and shows her journey to eventually being the first woman in Asia to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. 

These are just a few of many, many exceptional titles that showcase women and their impact on history around the world. Search the library catalogue for these and more that celebrate women and their achievements and struggles throughout time. International Women's Day may take place on 8 March, but the purpose behind this event is to celebrate and recognise women every day.  

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