Women in Sunderland are still striving for equality.
That was the message delivered by Northumbria Police’s Crime Commissioner Vera Baird as part of a special joint celebration to mark International Women’s Day yesterday.
Scores of Wearside women flocked to WHIST (Women’s Health in South Tyneside) in Mile End Road, South Shields, for the event which promotes equality and justice for women across the globe.
Ms Baird gave a speech on ‘Women’s Identity in Current Times’.
She said: “I want to say let’s not forget that our job is still not done. We’re still marching on for quality.
“Last year 54,000 women were forced out of work due to pregnancy and it’s still not against the law to ask a woman if she’s planning to have children during an interview.
“But it’s wonderful that we can come together like this for a chance to shout and cheer our celebrations.”
Visitors were entertained by songs by the Whisteria choir and enjoyed Bollywood dance, henna, crafts and food.
Padma Rao, project co-ordinator for Sangini, an empowering multicultural health group based in Pennywell, said: “Women from the early ages have shaped the society in a number of ways and they are still shaping it.
“That is why International Women’s Day has become pivotal in our calendar as it gives us a platform to inspire the next generation of women to be proud of themselves and encourage them to be strong and confident about their ambitions.”
lThe role of women was also marked as part of a Peterlee’s International Women’s Day celebrations.
East Durham Trust hosted the event at Peter Lee Memorial Church, offering visitors the chance to experience Bollywood-style dancing, beauty treatments and afternoon tea.
The event also included information stands from women’s groups including Harbour Refuge and the East Durham Domestic Abuse Network.
It was opened by Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg.
Lindsey Wood, of the trust, said: “We hope this event highlighted a range of issues and interests affecting women on this very special day.”