Celebrating inspirational Wigan women for International Women’s Day


The achievements of inspirational female figures in Wigan Borough will be celebrated to mark International Women’s Day (IWD).

A programme of special performances at the Fire Within HQ will kick-start proceedings followed by the unveiling of a new star on Wigan’s prestigious hall of fame.

The council will be promoting this year’s theme for IWD – #EachforEqual – throughout next week, raising awareness of gender bias. 

The Fire Within schedule on Saturday (March 7) will feature sportswomen, artists, dancers and digital ambassadors from across the borough.

Performances from Louise the Poet and Wigle Dance and a presentation from Tania Allard, a Microsoft software engineer, are all included.

Wigan’s first female surgeon Kate Fussell will be recognised later in the week as a star will be unveiled on the Wigan Walk of Fame on Believe Square.

Wigan Council’s chief executive Alison McKenzie-Folan said: “These celebrations are a fantastic way to showcase women in the borough and the showcase at The Fire Within is a great opportunity for residents to come together and celebrate their achievements.

“As a council, we have a great track record of offering opportunities to women. I myself am the third consecutive chief executive of the council, while 14 of the 24 senior management team positions are currently held by women.

“That is why it’s vital we take the lead on events like International Women’s Day that aim to empower women to live in an equal and enabled world.”

The council’s commitment to promoting equality within the workforce was recognised in last year’s Northern Power Women’s Awards when it picked up the Large Organisation award for raising awareness and encouraging behaviour change, demonstrated through the #BelieveInHer campaign.

The #EachForEqual theme will be promoted at the Fire Within through features by Ashton Girls Group and an inspirational film created by Leigh Film Society.

Meanwhile, curators Al & Al, will be talking about the current ‘Love is a Rebellious Bird’ exhibition, before hosting a tour of the cultural HQ.

Councillor Nazia Rehman, cabinet member for Resources, Finance and Transformation, who herself was included on the Northern Power Women (NPW) 2019 Power and Futures List, has hailed the celebrations.

She is one of 100 women that NPW has recognised in making a difference within communities, raising awareness of gender equality across the north of England.

She said: “The plans we have in place for the day show what fantastic and talented women we have in the borough.

“The unveiling of Kate’s star is fitting for all she has done in breaking down barriers and stereotypes and inspiring young girls to follow in her footsteps.”

“I am extremely proud to represent women as a cabinet member and promote the importance of creating a gender equal society.”

Pit Brow Lass Rita Culshaw was recognised in 2018 when the council marked the centenary of women given the right to vote.

Her plaque will be unveiled for the first time in its permanent place at the Museum of Wigan Life as part of the IWD celebrations.

To learn more about International Women’s Day, which is on March 8, visit www.internationalwomensday.com

The full programme for the Fire Within on Saturday is as follows:

11am- Intro from Alison talking about being a women in leadership
11:10- Wigle Dance performing a piece called Wonderwomen
11:20- Louise Fazackerley, performance poet
11:45- Sunshine writers, poetry group
12pm – Herstory, period poverty group
12:15- Tania Allard, Microsoft software engineer/developer advocate, talking about the shortage of women in tech and practical tips to break through
12:45 – Amy Duffy dance group
12:55 – Al & Al, curators for The Fire Within exhibition, talking about the ‘Love is a Rebellious Bird’ exhibition
1pm   – Leigh film society showing the Disney film ‘Brave’

For more information please contact Ryan Tute, media officer, 01942 803050, [email protected]

Dr Fussell’s star unveiling will be a private event but a press release and photographs will be issued.