Westminster City Council celebrated International Women’s Day with a day of talks that shared stories of female empowerment from around the world. Over 85 people attended the talks, held at Church Street Library on Monday. Speakers included Dr Saima Rana, Principal of Westminster Academy, and Zerbanoo Gifford, a human rights activist who was the first Asian woman to be elected as a councillor in her local area. The speeches discussed what their achievements meant for their communities.
Dr Rana discussed the importance of education in empowering women. She described how she set up a school in Kashmir despite facing a backlash. One of the students from that school is now training to be a pilot.
Zerbanoo Gifford talked about how women can play a full role in society by being involved in the democratic, social and educational life of a country.
Local Cllr Aicha Less also talked of the need to empower women to give them the confidence to unleash their skills and talent.
The day also included stalls offering education and employment information for women in the local community, as well as henna, Indian head massages, and health advice.
International Women’s Day 2017 is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements and calls for political, social and economic gender equality. The theme for this year’s day is ‘Be Bold for Change.’
Cllr David Harvey, cabinet member for leisure, sport and community at Westminster City Council, said: “I’m proud that Westminster City Council can support forums like this that make these inspiring stories more widely known. International Women’s Day reminds us all of the courage and strength of women around the world and I hope the women and men that listened to the day’s discussion find inspiration for make positive changes here in Westminster.”
Dr Rana said: “It was an honour to speak at the International Women’s Day event in an area where local women represent an international community. It is of huge importance to me that the young people of Westminster Academy have role models, so it is reassuring that they need look no further than our inspirational local residents. We are experiencing diverse times in the world today, but this event showed the bright reality of our all-inclusive, united community.”