THIS year marks the centenary of International Women’s Day, and Kirkcaldy is set to have a host of events to mark the occasion.

On March 8 every year thousands of events are held across the globe to inspire women and celebrate achievements, and this year - 100 years since the first Women’s Day - is no different.

Kirkcaldy has an outstanding legacy of celebrating the event, with a small and dedicated group of women making sure the day is marked every single year.

This year, the town will be dedicating more than a week to the centenary, with dozens of shows, talks and exhibitions taking place.

Aileen Greig (inset, right), one of only four women from Kirkcaldy Trades Council who organise an event each year, told the Press this year’s week-long celebration is aimed at getting young women interested in their past, and their future.

As part of the centennial event, the Council have a full day of talks at St Brycedale Church, including the likes of Baroness May Blood and dinner-lady turned-MBE Mary Turner.

Be inspired

She said: “This year, I really want young women to see what we can do.

‘’It is about not letting themselves be put down, because there’s too many people in the world willing to do just that.

“We are hoping young women who come to these events look at these strong women and come away and say I can reach that goal too - we hope they are inspired.”

Other events including photography and art exhibitions and community events will also be taking place during the first week in March. Fife Council are also hosting a Civic Reception to mark the achievements of local women’s groups in the area.

International Women’s Day was first marked in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, when more than a million women and men attended Women’s Day rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained and hold public office.

Changing attitudes

A spokesman from the International Women’s Day team said: “The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitude shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation.

‘‘Many from a younger generation feel that all the battles have been won for women.

‘‘ The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.”

Landmark year

To mark the 100th anniversary, the Fife Free Press is planning to highlight some of the work done by inspirational women in and around Kirkcaldy.

We want to pay tribute to women in our community who make huge contributions and are an inspiration to others.

Our campaign to get women recognised has been backed by Sarah Brown, an ambassador for the White Ribbon Alliance of Safe Motherhood, and president of Piggybank Kids. Sarah has been involved in events for International Women’s Day over several years, and last year was keynote speaker at the International Women’s Day conference in London.

Sarah told the Press: “Women are the hidden army of brilliant Britons and the backbone of so many of our businesses, public services, charities and community groups.

‘‘International Women’s Day is a chance to recognise women’s contribution - and to campaign so that millions more around the world can be free to make their own.”