13 - 15 August Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AE doors: 6pm start: 8.45pm A film season celebrating women in front of and behind the camera. From action romp ‘Wonder Woman’, to historic drama ‘Suffragette’ and ‘Thelma & Louise’ in between, enjoy three women-led hits from the last 30 years.

Unsung Heroines

3rd August 2018

The Mayor of London’s office has launched a six month long series of cultural events designed to celebrate the achievements of women all but forgotten by history.
Lisa Botwright finds out more…

2018 has already seen a proliferation of anniversaries, marking the centenary of votes for (some) women and the election of the first-ever woman MP; the NHS turning 70 and the first female bishop celebrating three years in her post. But history is strewn with incredible women whose contributions and achievements have never been celebrated.

It’s one of the reasons why, back in January, London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched the #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign: to mark these important milestones and to reflect on the issue of lingering gender inequality. “Over the next year, and beyond,” he pledged, “we will highlight how women of all ages, ethnicities, faiths and backgrounds make London the great city it is. More importantly, we will redouble our efforts in the fight for gender equality. We must do all we can to remove any barriers to women’s success and to unlock their full potential.”

Now, to bring a cultural slant, the campaign has launched Women: Work and Power, an exciting six-month long season of 70 events in the Square Mile, featuring exhibitions, talks, tours, live entertainment, music, and theatre shows – with the aim of celebrating the unsung women who have shaped our history and helped define our national identity.

Women: Work and Power is an ambitious programme, with an incredible breadth, from classic art exhibitions to contemporary street acts, with large-scale music and film festivals mixed up with intimate talks and debates. Some are free sideshows or drop-in events, and some require a ticket in advance. There’s a taste of what’s happening on these pages, but to find out more about the full range of what’s going on, it’s well worth a proper look online.

The events are inspired by real women, past and present, who have typically garnered scant recognition for their economic, philanthropic and artistic contribution to city life.

The City of London Corporation (the municipal governing body of the City of London) has just announced its top 10 ‘unsung heroines’ from the programme: Fanny Burney (1752-1840) – the satirical novelist, diarist and playwright described by Virginia Woolf as the ‘mother of English fiction’; Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919) – a radical Victorian artist; Sarah Gavron (1970-present) – a pioneering British film director; Dr Nola Ishmael OBE (born 1943) – London’s first black Director of Nursing; Miss La La (1858-1919) – a trapeze and circus star; Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) – a ground-breaking photographer; Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) – ‘the Countess of numbers’ (see left); Hester Pinney (1658-1740) – an 18th century businesswoman who defied social norms to become hugely affluent and influential; Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1958) – a political heroine and key player in the Suffrage movement, and Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) – a musician whose composition The March of the Women, became the official anthem of the Suffrage movement.

And so whether your aim is to rail against patriarchal injustice, or to simply kick back and enjoy a good show Women: Work and Power offers something for everyone.

find out more: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/visit-the-city/whats-on/women-work-power

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