This month is Women's History Month, a celebration which coincides with International Women's Day on 8 March. Euronews Culture looks at its origins and the events taking place this year across Europe.
Women’s History Month began in the United States in 1987 as a way to emphasise and celebrate the many things women have contributed to US society and culture.
The month-long celebration takes place in March, coinciding with International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March. Perhaps surprisingly, the idea of establishing a day dedicated to women came from the Socialist Party of America (the US federal government’s oft-cited bogeyman), which organised the first National Women’s Day in 1909.
IWD as we know it today was created in Europe a few years later, as an occasion for the women’s rights movement to press for demands on a global scale.
Every year since then, women around the world have taken to the streets on this day to shed light on how much the movement has achieved, but also on what still remains to be done before gender equality is a reality.
But even though Women’s History Month is only really celebrated in the US, there are plenty of events highlighting women across Europe this month as well. Here are a few you should absolutely check out.
PARIS, FRANCE - Baya: Women in their garden - Institut du Monde Arabe
The retrospective at Paris’ Institut du Monde Arabe introduces visitors to the dreamy work of 20th century Algerian artist Fatma Haddad AKA Baya, who was thrust into the global spotlight at just 16 years old. Her colourful and abstract work drew comparisons to Picasso and Matisse and was widely exhibited outside of Algeria. Haddad’s meteoric rise is even more astounding considering she was completely self-taught – as an indigenous artist under French colonial rule, she was not allowed to study at Algeria’s fine arts school.
The exhibition runs through 26 March.
BERLIN, GERMANY - The Second Glance: Women - Bode-Museum
This ongoing integrated exhibition at the Bode-Museum in Berlin analyses and challenges the traditional gender roles ascribed to women throughout history and art, depicting women as goddesses, heroines, prostitutes, saints, queens, academics. Visitors are invited to challenge the Bode-Museum's permanent collection by taking a "second glance" and looking at it from the perspective of contemporary social issues.
The exhibition was designed in collaboration with Frauentreff Olga, a counselling centre for drug-using women, trans women and sex workers.
LONDON, UK - Women creators showcase - Outernet
The immersive art space in central London has invited women creators to display their works on its giant screens throughout the month of March. Each week a new artist will be featured, from visual artists to musicians to 3D artists.
The first exhibition, “Everything We Touch” by artist Paula Zuccotti, features jumbo-sized photographs that show every single item a person touches in a day, laid out in chronological order from dawn until dusk. The subjects are wildly different, from a toddler in Tokyo to a nun in Madrid to a cowboy in Arizona.
KONGSVINGER, NORWAY - Monica Kristensen Exhibition - Norway Women’s Museum
A new exhibition at the Women's Museum in Norway teaches visitors about the life of Monica Kristensen, the first woman in the world to lead a polar exhibition. Kristensen led eight expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic starting in 1986. The museum has gathered photos, documents and even Kristensen’s red pyramid tent, which she slept in during the very first 90 degrees South expedition she led in 1986.
BARCELONA, SPAIN - Women Photographers in Barcelona outdoor exhibition
An outdoor exhibition on the walls of the Culture and Memory Centre in Barcelona’s El Born neighbourhood offers a look at the city’s recent history as seen through the lens of women photographers.
The free exhibition will run for three months starting 6 March, featuring 70 images by 21 photographers who have played a key role in “discovering the real Barcelona” from the Second Spanish Republic to the 90s.
International Women's Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on 8 March; Women’s History Month takes place all throughout this month.