Reflections on our Scottish PEN Women Writers Committee event for International Women’s Day 2020June 1, 2020
This year marked the start of another decade. Looking back over the past ten years many women have raised their voices and risked their careers and sometimes their lives for equality, for themselves and others. From politicians to journalists, Hollywood stars to authors, school children to retirees, the list of empowering women is overwhelming and should never been forgotten.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2020 was #EachforEqual. An equal world is an enabled world where we all are able to play a role in creating a gender-equal future. For International Women’s Day, the Scottish PEN Women Writers Committee hosted our annual event on 8th March to bring together leading women writers, musicians and activists to share their story, and held an open discussion with the audience on the topics and themes of the night.
The event was hosted by the Scottish PEN Women Writers Committee chair, Emma Doherty, who shared the stories of ten influential women of the last decade. Joining her was Indo-Scot poet & author of Twice Born and Bombay Baby, Leela Soma; performer, Carey McCabe; Carol McKay, Open University lecturer, winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship and a finalist in the Macallan Scotland on Sunday short story competition; and Lyndsey Clark, a recent cancer survivor who is seeking to tell her story and spread awareness of gynaecological cancers and the threat of misdiagnoses for women across Scotland.
The readers were fantastic and we covered some very important topics. However, as the event was held just before lockdown began, our activity and committee meetings have since come to a stop. We, like so many others, are working hard to ensure the momentum and important connections built at the event are not lost. In November each year, we host a a lecture in memory of Naomi Mitchison, the Scottish novelist and poet. Mitchison wrote over 90 books, including historical fiction, science fiction, travel writing and autobiography, and we use her work as a platform to discuss issues of relevance for women writers in Scotland today. We’re keen to continue planning for this event, and to explore innovative ways of reaching out to women writers during this uncertain time. We will be sharing updates on the Women Writers Committee section of our website and on social media, so please stay tuned!
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