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Dundee's double dose of women's festivals returns

Dundee's double dose of women's festivals returns

Not one, but two festivals dedicated entirely to women get underway in Dundee this month.

The Dundee Women in Science Festival celebrates achievements of women around the world as well as local heroines, from Rebecca Strong to Mary Slessor.

It is the only festival in the UK to celebrate women in science, technology and maths and runs at the same time as the Dundee Women's Festival.

Now entering its ninth year, the Dundee Women's Festival helps celebrate 'women’s culture, women’s stories, women's wisdom, women’s identities and women’s lives.'

Leading ladies at this year's double bill include astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Chief Medical Officer for England Dame Sally Davies, who will both deliver talks. Professor Sue Black, a leading forensic anthropologist, is a patron of the science festival.

  (Women in Science Festival Dundee)
via STV via STV

80 events are scheduled during both three-week events, which coincide with International Women’s Dayon March 8.

In addition to informative talks on inspirational women, the festivals also offer everything from cocktail classes to belly dancing and movie screenings.

The Women in Science Festival runs from March 7-28, while the Dundee Women's Festival runs from March 2-22.

Landmark year

Professor Sue Black, who works at the University of Dundee's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, said that 2015 carried extra significance for women in science.

“This year is a landmark one for women in science with the Royal Society of Edinburgh appointing Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell as its first female President," she said.

"We are honoured that she has agreed to kick start the Women in Science festival this year.

“Throughout the festival we will celebrate the truly inspirational women who simply go about their daily tasks doing extraordinary things.

"We will also never forget the inspirational women of Dundee’s past and we have so many to share including Margaret Fairlie, Rebecca Strong and Mary Lily Walker.

"Their achievements of so long ago, still resonate strongly within our community today.”

Dundee's daughters

Eleanor Ballantye, who is Dundee Women’s Festival chairwoman, said that the daughters of Dundee would be celebrated at the festivals.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate some of the great achievements of women throughout history, celebrate what it means to be a woman today or just to have fun and meet new people whilst trying something different," she said.

“We have a cornucopia of activities, events, exhibitions, drama, film, comedy, dance, sport, therapies and workshops which support, stimulate, illuminate and elucidate.

“We celebrate daughters of Dundee and beyond, including Mary Slessor and Mary Lily Walker, through walks and talks, highlight notable women in science in collaboration with the Women In Science Festival and learn about the work of Catherine Blair, who was instrumental in setting up Scottish Women Rural Institutes.”

What's on?

Dundee Women's Festival

Events at the Dundee Women's Festival range from photography to cooking and lectures to get-fit-classes. These are structured to include a mix of a number of women-only classes as well as some that the whole family can enjoy.

Designed to be informative and fun, the women's festival is aimed at encouraging everybody to celebrate 'being a woman, women’s diversity, women’s culture, women’s stories, women’s wisdom, women’s identities and women’s lives'.

Women in Science Festival

Festival organisers say they have made sure that the festival's bill offers a mix of talks and participation events.

Aimed at encouraging more people, particularly women and girls, to consider a career in science, the festival supports professional women developing their careers and showcases talented and exciting research taking place across Scotland.

Equality for women is progress for all

The theme for this year’s Dundee Women’s Festival is 'Equality for women is progress for all', sentiments echoed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth," he said.

"Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.

"The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all."

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