OPINION | Maryam Snape | What women want this International Women’s Day
Today is International Women’s Day, what does this mean?
The day was originally set up to commemorate the struggle for Women’s Rights, but it now also celebrates their achievements, and most importantly of all? It unifies us. Because what do women want? Just like men, they want to feel valued, included and considered.
Being able to see a stream of International Women’s Day posts and photos in my social media timeline feels like every woman I know is supporting me, and I’m in turn supporting them.
We all support every woman who has struggled and still is struggling, to make themselves heard and to be treated equally. Feeling unified is a good feeling.
There is nothing that annoys me more than when people say feminism isn’t relevant anymore, the struggles have changed yes, our voices are louder – but we are still very far from where we should be.
One thing that has become apparent over the past few years, is that there are many groups of women who don’t always feel included in the feminist movement, such as women of colour, LGBT women and more.
Although I am of mixed heritage (British and Iranian), how people view me today seems to be as a middle class straight white woman, and as a result I have a great deal of privilege that I only recently became aware of.
Yes, white straight women have struggles, suffer sexism and inequality, but in a very different way to other types of women or womxn (to use a more inclusive term). It’s becoming increasingly important to let ALL women know they are included and supported, because really, that’s what we ALL want.
This is one of the reasons why Alison Baskerville decided to set up a brand new mega-inclusive, not-for-profit event celebrating womxn, PMT Festival , which is to be held at Impact Hub Birmingham this Saturday 11th March.
P.M. T (Powering the Matriarchy Together) is a day-long festival which will cover themes of love, art, body and work. This is the first of its kind for Birmingham, and will be an opportunity to celebrate the rich mix of some of the many women/womxn and non-binary people who make up this city.
The day will feature workshops, live demonstrations, micro lectures and a marketplace of P.M.T makers.
I feel privileged to be a part of this event, and the team has grown from the initial few of us pictured below, into an ever-evolving group of volunteers, mentors, experts, artists and much more.
Some of the amazing women involved in PMT Festival…
Alison Baskerville is a former military woman who woke up and realised photography and art was a much more challenging way forward. She uses photography to explore issues around gender and identity in pursuit of digging deep around the use of stereotypes and labels in modern culture. Ali does not believe photography can change the world, but it can inform one tiny piece of it.
Aliyah Hasinah is a poet and freelance facilitator / creative producer who is also an aspiring filmmaker and historian. Her writing focuses on personal understandings of history, culture and social commentary. Some of her work is soon to be published in Saqi Books ‘Muslim Women in the UK: An Anthology of Voices’ as edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. Aliyah is also 1/3 of Brum-based podcast Who Got the Juice? and co-founder of ART!VIST UK. She is also the babymama of Birmingham-based performance night Herstory LIVE.
Louise Byng is an illustrator, designer and wordsmith with a penchant for learning-through-making. Byng has exhibited work internationally and completed a broad spectrum of commissions, working to inspire audiences in new ways. Byng also co-founded Illustrated Brum to promote exploration of the city through design interventions, and has been part of some amazing creative adventures since connecting with the Impact Hub Birmingham community, not least working on TEDxBrum and Decolonise Not Diversify festival last year.
mOmhead is an empowerment platform for women led by dynamic duo Amna Akhtar & Kiran Kaur. mOmhead aims to educate, elevate and empower young women through fashion, community events and school initiatives called GirlDreamer. Their ventures are all about building the confidence of young women in order for them to do, be and achieve more to get the most out of themselves and their lives.
Nikki Bi is head of Hosting & Programming at Impact Hub Birmingham and loves supporting women who share their expertise and knowledge in order to empower others. She has previously programmed 16 Days of Activism and International Women’s Day events and is particularly looking forward to the inaugural P.M.T festival at Impact Hub Birmingham as it has been led by Alison and a collective of women connected to the Hub.
Rosie Clements is an events manager and composer who is fanatical about festivals. She is an adopted Brummie and passionate about all things collaboration. She has been the Artistic Director of Frontiers Festival, Coordinator of the Flyover Show and is currently a part of Making Music’s Adopt a Composer Scheme.
Suriya Aisha is a writer, theatre maker, workshop facilitator and creative producer who is passionate about equal opportunities and representation. Her project STAMP worked with young people with additional needs in partnership with the Next Generation team at mac Birmingham, and she has now launched a peer and social support network – UNMUTED, for young people of colour who identify as LGBTQI. Suriya continues to develop herself as a performance artist, focusing on spoken word and theatre, and was a speaker at TEDxBrum 2016.
Mazzy Snape (that’s me!) is an events manager, PR specialist, DJ and lecturer who is passionate about music, the arts and all things Brum. She was on the team that set up local online alternative radio station Brum Radio, is currently Head of Events & PR at live music and club venue The Night Owl and Marketing Manager of Birmingham musical project for-Wards which aims to create a piece of music representing every area of the city.
And that’s not even half of us! Check out all these mentors who are taking part in a speed-mentoring session from 10am:
Find out more about the event at PMT Festival, everyone is welcome to come celebrate women & womxn with us, learn if you want, have fun if you want, shop, eat, whatever you fancy – there’s plenty going on.