The Lowdown: International Women’s Day 2019

By Stefan Chomka contact

- Last updated on GMT

 The Lowdown: International Women’s Day 2019
Today (8 March) marks International Women’s Day, the worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements and campaigns for gender equality

Sounds a bit more serious than National Carrot Cake Day...
Yes indeed. While 3 February is the day people in the UK celebrate a cake made with vegetables, 8 March is the day the world comes together to acknowledge the achievements of women across the globe and think on how society can work towards achieving true gender equality.

How thoroughly modern
Don’t be fooled. Unlike many national and international days - we’re looking at you Popcorn Lovers Day (10 March) and you World Tuna Day (2 May) - that are relatively new, International Women’s Day is something that has been recognised for a long time. In fact, it is believed to have begun back in 1909 when the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US, although then it was held on 28 February. A year later, Clara Zetkin, leader of the women’s office of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, pushed for it to become an international event, and IWD was created the following year. It moved to 8 March in 1913 and has been observed on this date ever since.

Where does the restaurant industry fit in?
The same as any other industry. While some people in the sector are working hard to encourage more women there is still a gender imbalance in the world of restaurants, with many more males in head chef roles than females. According to recent figures, the hospitality sector employed about 1.75 million people in 2018 but women made up only 26% of senior management positions in the sector. Things are changing, however, thanks to the work of groups such as L.O.R. (Ladies of Restaurants), which was created to support women in the hospitality industry and work towards making it more female-friendly.

So what’s going on?
Lots. People and businesses from across the world of hospitality are marking IWD in their own way. Beer brand Goose Island will be raising a glass to women’s rights tomorrow with a specially created, female brewed saison beer, with a tasting session at the BrewPub in Shoreditch, and the Sanderson will be hosting an evening of DJs, cocktails and desserts to help raise funds for charity Womankind Worldwide. Mexican restaurant Ella Canta, meanwhile, has partnered with women’s charity Mazí Mas to create a ‘Power of She’ menu that honours iconic females. Launching tomorrow and running through to Mother’s Day on the 31 March, £5 from the sale of each menu, which features dishes such as wild mushrooms with ajillo and cheese foam; and seafood rice and crispy soft-shell crab, will be donated to the charity. And two of the world’s top chefs, Anne-Sophie Pic and Clare Smyth, are coming together on 11 March for a special dinner at La Dame de Pic London to celebrate the day and reflect on their careers, while championing women in the hospitality industry.

Impressive stuff
There’s plenty more things going on. Chef Judy Joo is joining forces with Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express and Mira Manek of Chai by Mira to create a Korean and Indian meal, with dishes set to include lamb and kimchi pulao; and fish katsu curry with pickled yuzu cucumber and ginger. And the aforementioned L.O.R. is hosting a weekend-long celebration with four events taking place in London, Manchester and Liverpool to celebrate the female talent within the industry among other things.

That’s all very good, but what about...
Before you get on your high horse, there’s an International Men’s Day, too, which falls on 19 November.

OK. But still no International Twiglets Day...
We can but dream

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