A celebration of women in Manchester!

Gorton3It might seem odd that a bloke is writing about an event for women, but it’s local, I’m supporting it and it deserves to be trumpeted! International Women’s Day (IWD) dates back to 1911 when it was first celebrated in Germany, Austria and other European countries. Since then IWD has gone from strength to strength, with events held far and wide to celebrate the achievements of women throughout the world.

I met Claire-Marie Boggiano at our first Pecha Kucha night last December. A Manchester resident with a background in engineering and business, Claire-Marie first established a women’s network in the city ten years ago and is heading up the celebration of IWD, scheduled for 8th March 2010.

Returning from the Women’s International Network (WIN) Conference in Prague last year (a 4-day event involving 500 professional business women), Claire-Marie was inspired to celebrate International Women’s Day in similar style in her home city. She wanted an extraordinary venue and found her answer in the most unlikely of locations.

Before I explain where, here’s a question: what does Gorton (Manchester) have in common with Pompeii, Macchu Picchu and the Taj Mahal? The answer: Gorton Monastery, a magnificent structure built in the mid-19th century by Franciscan monks and, prior to its restoration, listed alongside those other luminaries on the official World Monuments Fund Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

Thanks to a £6.5 million fund-raising effort, the Monastery was saved from ruin and now provides a stunning and inspirational venue for corporate events and meetings.

Claire-Marie is working alongside numerous partners to produce, direct and deliver a truly memorable celebration of IWD on 8th March. Many people have offered their time and talent to the project and a wide range of activities and workshops are planned for the day.

For my part, I’m delighted to be running a rolling Speakeasy session, enabling women to share their stories with other delegates in an entertaining, free-wheeling format.

Details of the event and a registration system is available via LinkedIn – click here.

If you’re interested in being a sponsor or activity leader, please drop me a line seperately.

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