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international womens day 2024

Pure Dead Brilliant.

International Women’s Day Blog

Earlier this week, sat in Castlemilk Community Centre, I felt the ethos of International Women’s Day permeate the room. On stage was Scottish comedian stalwart Elaine C. Smith performing to a thrilled, largely female audience. Smith told the audience it was her youngest daughter who had encouraged her to put on the show as part of the upcoming Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Smith only agreed to do so, if she could play small venues, in local communities around Glasgow, in the type of place that she grew up, where she admired and learned from the strong female women around her, mainly her aunts.  Just as Eleanor Roosevelt described, where human rights begin in those small places close to home. 

 For me, that was just the beginning of drawing parallels with what Women’s Day stands for and what I believe it hopes to achieve.  

Smith recalled the birth of her first daughter, during the period of starring in the TV show City Lights in the eighties, when the schedule for filming had been changed to allow a male actor to star. Smith went into early labour and described being in the Southern General hospital in Glasgow with a TV producer handing her a script the day after giving birth, for filiming taking place the following day. All around her people told her she was crazy. The nurses, the doctors and midwives.  

But Smith knew if she didn’t appear, it was unlikely those TV producers would ever hire a pregnant actress again.  

Women supporting women.  

Women paving the way for those that follow.  

Talking of paving the way, Smith asked the audience if they’d heard of Rose Reilly. A few nodded in agreement, then adding that Rose Reilly is the only Scottish footballer 

to ever lift the World Cup. And in true Scottish style, it wasn’t even for Scotland! 

It was for Italy, as professional women’s football was banned in the UK so Reilly went to Italy, and she was welcomed with open arms. 

Rose Reilly and women of her generation, paving the way and encouraging younger women to be themselves and follow their passions.  

Women supporting women. 

Perhaps that’s one of the things that led to the sell-out crowd of 60,000 spectators at the weekend watching Arsenal Ladies play Tottenham Ladies.  

Women and men supporting women. 

There’s a lot to celebrate on International Women’s Day, women supporting women, for instance Iris Apfel encouraging us all to be our true authentic self, to seek joy in colour,  who sadly passed a few days ago.   

And closer to home encouraging us all to be our true authentic selves, to be the women we were born to be, the female leaders in our organisation Gina, Lynn, Grace, and Sam. Thank you for encouraging us to do better, to know that better is possible, particularly in this year with International Women’s Day’s theme being to inspire inclusion. 

To our Board of Trustees; Thank you, Alison, Wendy, Jane, Jill, Diane, and Debbie.  

Thank you for believing in us, for being some of our greatest supporters and blazing trails where you lead in your own right.  

Women supporting women.  

To those amongst us holding down jobs whilst looking after children, caring for families’ members, and showing future generations what is possible and better is possible. 

We salute you and we support you.  

To the people we work for who without doubt continue to be our greatest teachers 

in showing us that better is possible. How to be our true authentic selves. Thank you. 

We will continue to fight for greater inclusion and the small places 

closer to home and beyond.  

Thank you all for being pure dead brilliant. 

By Susan O’Reilly

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