Women across the city and the world are being celebrated for their achievements at this year’s Dundee Women’s Festival.
The theme of Hear Women’s Voices hopes to highlight the varied way in which women use their voice – be it through stories and language, arts and crafts, travel and expeditions, science, in the workplace or by exercising their right to vote.
Nearly 70 events will be held at various locations across the city over two weeks.
These will range from special talks about women in history and science workshops held by those currently working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), to art exhibitions and hands-on cookery, pottery and line dancing classes.
The festival launched today with a centenary suffrage conference, aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds and encouraging them to vote by exploring the history of women’s suffrage and our current political system.
A seminar held by Scottish journalist and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch – who interviewed women born in the 1950s about their experiences in employment and care roles – will take place this evening at the Steps Theatre.
Tomorrow two different films will be screened – the first an Italian silent film, with a live band accompaniment, about a laundress torn between men.
In the evening a documentary will be shown about a young lawyer’s journey to joining the bench as the first female judge in the Islamic law courts, in the Middle East.
There will also be a bag- making workshop, yoga classes and gym sessions, art exhibitions, swimming sessions, mindfulness workshops, Middle Eastern and Indian cooking classes, dance sessions and a chance to chat with surface pattern designer Kirsty Stevens of Charcot.
Festival chairwoman Prue Watson said: “This is the international year of language which inspired our theme of women’s voices.
“We wanted to hear women’s voices in whichever way they use them, whether that is though spoken language, telling stories, art or film – their skills are their voice.
“It was only last year that for the first time a woman got an Oscar for directing a film, despite the fact women have been making films for many years.
“And it took a long time for women to be accepted as artists, which is why we have included so many exhibitions.”
Other highlights of the festival include an evening of story- telling with Radio 4 comedian Helen Keen, who will welcome a variety of speakers, and a short film about the history of Women’s Aid in Scotland told through the memories of those involved.
Soap-making classes, ceramic workshops, Say No to Drama self-help workshop, creative digital classes, tours of HMS Unicorn and backstage tours of the Caird Hall will also take place.
Prue added: “We always try to make the festival, which runs until March 16, as varied as possible to encourage a wide range of women of different ages and backgrounds to get involved in running events and attending them.”
Organisers received funding from Rosa Women to Women Grant, Dundee City Council, and the Scottish Parliament.
Many of the events are free but booking is essential as spaces are limited.
For a detailed programme see dundeewomensfestival.org.uk.