National Diversity Awards
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Vote - International Women's Day Derby Committee (Community Organisation Award - Gender)

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“Inspiring and motivational”

We are a busy team of women who volunteer to make a difference in local communities. Our main annual event is a huge free festival in Derby city centre (in the spot where the Suffragettes spoke in our city) in celebration of International Women's Day. We raise funds & plan the whole event ourselves, which takes a year of planning alongside our busy day jobs, caring commitments & volunteering for other causes/activism too.

Over 1000 people enjoy the festival which aims to celebrate women's and girls' achievements, boost confidence, self-belief, wellbeing and inspiration and to renew efforts to advance gender equality. It is open to everyone - all genders, ages and identities together.

We also run community events throughout the year to bring communities together, involve women in shaping their festival and raise funds e.g. Picnic for Peace, Sisterhood Party, Swap Shop, Feminist Gig Nights, Pamper & Wellbeing Day, HERstory & our IWD Choir raising women's voices through songs of the Suffragettes and civil rights movements. We support other events in solidarity e.g. Hope Not Hate, Stand Up to Racism, Disabled People Against Cuts, Day of the Girl, Derby LGBT+ Pride, Reclaim the Night, Vox Femme 16 Days to End VAWG & more.

All this hard work is done entirely by volunteers; we have no paid staff or regular funding and deliver a huge IWD festival which includes -

* a live stage showcasing multicultural creativity, giving women and girls, and allies who care about them, a platform to have their voices heard

* over 40 stalls highlighting local women's charities, support groups, public services, women's enterprise & education opportunities

* a Human Library to promote dialogue across difference & bust stereotypes

* taster activities & demos e.g. rugby, science, football, yoga, Bhangra, drumming, boxercise, spoken word, making diverse empowerment dolls, graffiti art, protest songs, activism skills - broadening horizons beyond the limiting images of women in the mainstream media

* Producing a festival magazine with an open invite for people to write an article, poem or share their life experiences - this gives women another platform for expression as we know that not everyone wants to speak on stage. The magazine is full of local HERoes and presents an alternative to the usual women's glossy mags - ours has no air-brushing, diet or dating advice! It presents women survivors, feminist campaigns and women in sports, activism, business, arts and male-dominated industries. It also includes important support groups and helplines.

What people say about our IWD Derby Festival:

"Absolutely brilliant, informative, fun, uplifting, empowering with such an amazing buzzing atmosphere, fantastic"

“An inspirational day for everybody. Never seen so many smiling faces!”

“This event had a brilliant effect on my mental health – I left feeling happier and more energetic than I had in a long time. It brought to my awareness just how many creative, inspiring, supportive women there are in my area and it was important for us all to come together to build our community”

“This event was SO important in not only celebrating inspiring women, but to highlight how important it is to make a noise about issues women are STILL facing”

“My daughter who is 3 found the confidence to sing on the stage by herself. I want her to keep hold of that confidence by celebrating women’s achievements”

“I used to look up to pop stars but now I think my mum is actually really inspiring”

“It inspired my daughters about their careers, choices and gave them a chance to see what other women of the world experience”

“It was great to see the variety of info and activities available, especially the boxing and football where female participation is not really covered as much in the media as their male counterparts. I come every year and always go away feeling positive about the future, but also aware of the ongoing challenges that women and girls face”

“Giving us an opportunity to showcase our work and life”

“Informative, empowering, entertaining”

“Inspired by the No More Page 3 speaker. I had my 7 year old daughter with me and it really made me think”

“A fantastic event – smiling faces and food for the heart mind and soul as far as the eye could see”

“A wonderful day” “Inspiring”

“Important” “Diverse”

We work to make our IWD Festival inclusive -

* Building partnerships with local organisations to provide BSL Interpreters and a free crèche

* Poster design featuring multicultural imagery and symbolism such as the rainbow flag, trans rights flag colours, disabled women icons to communicate our intersectional approach

* ramp access to our stage and accessible location

* diverse performers including local community groups Shakti Arts, Students Union Gospel Choir, Steps for the Future dancers with learning disabilities, singers and poets who are wheelchair users, Hoverla Ukrainian Dance Troupe

* Open mic session giving people the chance to raise their voice - including children and teenagers

* Engaging a diverse range of stallholders who work with, and bring to the festival, women, BAME communities, refugees, multifaith groups, trans women, disabled people, women affected by homelessness, domestic abuse, exploitation, substance misuse and mental health difficulties.

* involving diverse volunteers aged 4 to 92 in our HERstory project to present over 100 years of history of International Women's Day in Derby, for which we secured a Heritage Lottery Fund 2016-17, researching and educating about the Suffragettes who started our IWD events in Derby from the early 1900s and all the women who organised IWD Derby since - we follow in their footsteps.

Our volunteers nurture & stretch each other, taking on new challenges yearly. We received a Derbyshire Inspirational Women Team & Event Award from Vox Feminarum. We hope our work inspires other cities to celebrate IWD too

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