Striving for equality on International Women's Day

Different cultures came together to spread girl power on International Women's Day.

Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 5:00 am

Scores of ladies attended WHIST (Women’s Health in South Tyneside) in Mile End Road, South Shields, yesterday to promote equality and justice for women during the annual event which is marked across the globe.

Special guest Vera Baird, Northumbria Police Crime Commissioner, gave a speech on Women’s Identity in Current Times.

She said: “I feel when I stand here that we all have our arms round each others’ shoulders, not just here in this small pocket of South Shields, but across the globe.

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“I want to say let’s not forget that our job is still not done, we’re still marching on for quality.

“Last year 54,000 women were forced out of work due to pregnancy and it’s still not against the law to ask a woman if she’s planning to have children during an interview – which no doubt would have an impact on a potential employer’s decision to hire her.

“But it’s wonderful that we can come together like this for a chance to shout and cheer our celebrations.”

This year’s event was more unique than previous celebrations as groups from Sunderland and the borough united together.

Organisations which took part included Sangini, WHIST, Crest, Apna Ghar, Bright Futures and Hindu Nari Sangh, supported by Bam Sistahood, North East Women’s Network and Sunderland Women’s Centre.

Visitors were entertained by songs by the Whisteria choir and enjoyed Bollywood dance, henna, crafts and food.

Plus there were stalls showing the various services available to women

Angela Thompson, chief executive officer of WHIST, said: “We are proud to be hosting this important event in the calendar for women as it is also about remembering the history of women’s struggle for equality, their achievements and their place in the society.”

The Mayoress of South Tyneside, Patricia Porthouse, said: “It was an honour to open the event in South Shields organised by South Tyneside and Sunderland to mark International Women’s Day.

“It was a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements and successes of local women.

“Women from all walks of life came together to mark the occasion and helped to inspire one another to be strong and resilient in the face of hardships and challenges.”