9 feminist places to visit for International Women’s Day

The theme for year’s International Women’s Day is Press For Progress. Visit one of these spots to remember how far women have come and how much they have left to achieve.

It might be 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote – even if only women aged over 30 who owned property could vote in 1918 – but the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements serve as a reminder of how much further there is to go in the fight for equality.

Perhaps that’s why this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Press For Progress – all about remembering which hurdles women still have to overcome to achieve parity.

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Here are our favourite feminist exhibitions, museums and experiences to visit to celebrate the brave, bold women that paved the way for us.

1. The Tate St Ives, Cornwall

 

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Until April 29, the Tate St Ives will be hosting an exhibition of art inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf.

Here her writing acts as a prism “through which to explore feminist perspectives on landscape, domesticity and identity in modern and contemporary art - with works by over 80 artist”, according to the Tate’s website.

If you can’t get down to Cornwall in time, the exhibition will go on the road to Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, and The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge later in the year.

2. Museum of London

 

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The Museum of London is commemorating the centenary of the Representation of the People Act with a number of displays dedicated to the women’s suffrage movement in London.

The exhibition is free and exhibits include Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal.

Why not start the day with breakfast at the Landmark London hotel?

Members of the Women’s Social and Political Union attended a breakfast here celebrating Emmeline Pankhurst following her release from prison.

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3. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC

While nobody knows exactly what Rosa Parks was wearing when she refused to move to the back of the bus, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture you’ll be able to see the hand-sewn dress she had been carrying with her on that day in 1955.

The exhibition ‘A Changing America: 1968 and beyond’ also features art and photographs from the 1960s and 70s when black women put their voices at the forefront of the fight for change including photographs of prominent activists of the era such as Angela Davis.

4. Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

 

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During World War Two women made up three quarters of the workforce at the secret Bletchley Park codebreaking centre.

Head to Bletchley Park bear Milton Keynes to find out more about the role women played in cracking the enigma code.

There’s even a special exhibition dedicated to the contributions made by the Women’s Royal Naval Service.

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5. The Alternative Jack The Ripper Tour, London

Too often the idea of the murderous Jack the Ripper is romanticised, and while there is much speculation about his true identity, there is very little said about his victims or the world women were fighting to survive in.

This walking tour of East London hopes to change that, and doesn't even referring to the man by his sensationalised nickname, Instead it focuses on the strength shown by the women he killed, visits the streets they lived in and shares what we know about their lives.

What’s more, funds raised from the tours will go to Door of Hope, helping women in the area find routes out of sexual exploitation.

6. Florence Nightingale Museum, Istanbul

Florence Nightingale

British nurse Florence Nightingale is credited with reducing the death rate from 70% to 5% when she introduced modern nursing practices during the Crimean War.

During much of the war she was based in Istanbul, as as well as having four hospitals named after her the city is also home to the Florence Nightingale Museum. The museum, based in the former army barracks where she cared for the wounded soldiers, is spread across three floors and you’ll be able to see her personal room, the operating theatre and her personal belongings.

7. Salem Women’s Heritage Trail, Massachusetts

 

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The town of Salem is best known for the 1692 witch trials which later inspired Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, but there is much more to the women of Salem throughout history than accusations of witchcraft.

In 2000 a group of local scholars, librarians, educators and museum employees decided to create a walking tour of women’s history sites in the town.

The women you’ll learn about along the way include philanthropists, teachers of children of freed slaves, poets and doctors.

8. Mary Seacole statue, London

 

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Another heroine of the Crimean War, Mary Seacole’s application to assist the nursing effort was refused by the War Office.

Instead, she travelled by herself and set up the British Hotel to treat injured service personnel who were so fond of her, they raised money for her after she faced destitution following the end of the war.

You can see a statue of her at St Thomas's Hospital by the banks of the Thames.

9. A Handmaid’s Tale tour of Cambridge, Massachusetts

Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Attwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale has been banned by a number of schools over the years because of its depiction of women.

In fact, it was one of the 100 most frequently challenged books in America between 1990 and 2000.

Perhaps most alarmingly, all of the book’s events are based on real history.

Attwood’s book is loosely based on the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Visit the landmarks that inspired some of the novel’s greatest scenes with this guide