Feminist march adopts rally format as it moves indoors for first time

The seventh March4Women will take place at London's Central Hall Westminster, used by the Suffragettes in 1914.

An annual march for gender equality will be held inside for the first time after organisers resolved to adopt a rally format featuring speeches, music and a panel discussion.

BBC Radio 4’s Jane Garvey, David Tennant, anti-upskirting campaigner Gina Martin and the president of the Supreme Court of England and Wales will speak at the March4Women event in Central Hall Westminster on March 3.

Located opposite the Palace of Westminster, the hall was used in 1914 by leading figures in the British Suffragette movement.

Annie Lennox, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Bianca Jagger at the March4Women event in London last year (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It will be the first time in its seven-year history the event has happened indoors – and will mark 100 years since the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which allowed women to enter work.

The afternoon will see women share stories of female survivors of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse in the workplace.

It will also feature music from singer Beverley Knight, who played Emmeline Pankhurst in the Old Vic’s production of Sylvia.

Garvey will host a panel featuring Martin, Muslim Women’s Network’s Shaista Gohir and anti-FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein.

European premiere of Mary Queen of Scots – London
David Tennant will also appear at the event (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Proceedings will be led by Dr Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, both leaders of the Suffragette movement.

Pankhurst said: “This year, I’m excited that we’ll be raising our voices and calling for change in Central Hall Westminster – a beautiful, very large hall used by the Suffragettes in 1914.

“Come and join us for an afternoon of fun and purpose, song and solidarity, ahead of International Women’s Day.”

Lady Hale added: “It takes courage to stand up to bullies.

“Even in an advanced liberal democracy such as ours, there are still battles to be fought, and we must still have the moral courage to fight them.

“But just as Millicent Fawcett pronounced, ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere’, we must not forget that there are many other women in the world who are far worse placed than we are and we must reach out to and support them too.”

The rally takes place on March 3 from 2.15pm to 4.15pm at Central Hall Westminster.

Some complimentary tickets are available for those unable to pay.

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