An Interview with Alex Saint | Wonder Women Manchester

Alex Saint is an active feminist and the director of the Wonder Women Festival. Ahead of tomorrow’s launch of the 10-day festival, we were lucky enough to get some of Alex’s time to find out exactly why this festival is one to watch, whether you’re a feminist or not.

Why Do We Do Wonder Women?

2018 marks 100 years since women received the right to vote. Even once this law was passed, it was a number of years until every woman was given the right to vote, as when the law was first passed, it only applied to wealthy, middle to upper class married women over 30. Since 2013, the festival has been running in a build up to next years 2018 festival, which is supposed to be the biggest of them all, to mark this 100-year celebration.

The 5-year build-up to next year’s event is being used to get to a terminal velocity. In order to make 2018’s celebration as big as possible, the Wonder Women have put years of effort into spreading the message.

But why is this celebration so important? Since 1918 when suffragettes were in full swing & women received the right to vote, there are still many outdated expectations of women that still stand today. Not only this, but women all around the world are being mistreated based on purely on gender.

Another big point some parts of the festival make is cultural differences. Although Britain has come a long way in terms of equal right, this is not the case in other areas of the world, which is something that often goes unnoticed.

Wonder Women will play host to a number of hard-hitting events with strong, important messages such as this.

Why Manchester?

Manchester is a massively important landmark for all things feminism. For over 100 years, Manchester has been home to some of the most famous suffragettes, those from both middle & working class backgrounds.

Manchester cares far more for suffragettes than many other UK cities & was/is home to many of the most influential women.

It all started when 3 suffragettes went to Manchester Art Museum & caused some serious damage with glass hammers. This is why the Art Museum is at the heart of the festival each & every year.

What Is The Key Message From Wonder Women?

In the build up to the big 2018 event, the main point of Wonder Women is to ask ‘How Far Have We Come in 100 Years?’

Wonder Women is about giving a voice and a platform to everyone who wants to be heard, women & men, old and young.

This year’s event is particularly timely, as there are a lot of complaints around misogyny in America currently. Because of this, there is no better time to say ‘Feminism isn’t just about this 10-day event, it’s about every single day’.

Are The Wonder Women Modern Suffragettes?

Yes, absolutely. These are the women who are bringing topics we don’t like to speak about to light, who are brave enough to give every feminist a voice.

These women are pushing important messages through all art forms. Women who are all at different points in their careers are coming together to create an amazing & empowering event.

This event is so within reach for everyone too, as the prices reflect, it’s not all about making money, it’s about togetherness & engaging with the community.

What Are The Hopes For The 2018 & Future Festivals?

2018 is going to be the biggest of all the festivals. The team are hoping that community engagements will help fuel next year and that topics that the public truly want to see are being covered.

2018 will also be a big year for The Peoples History Museum, as it sees the launch of a whole new section on Feminism, women’s rights & suffragettes.

For the 2018 event, the team hopes to see more larger, collective events, channelling a number of messages, rather than multiple, smaller events.

As for the future, the team aren’t sure where to project is headed after 2018;

“It’s not a topic that goes away”, says Alex “Feminist Arts don’t just happen every March”

Alex points out that there are a number of events in association with Creative Tourist that happen throughout the year & what happens next, will be decided after the 2018 event. So far, everything has been leading up to the 2018 event.

Which Parts Of The Festival Are You Most Looking Forward To?

The Suffragettes of Football is something everyone has been looking forward to coming up to this year’s festival. This non-profit event invites school children, both boys & girls, to find out about how women had to strive to be taken seriously within the sport. This is a particularly important event because it’s educating children on their heritage & the history behind many women’s rights which are taken for granted today. It’s amazing to see so many schools supporting this movement.

Another event Alex is looking forward to is Dolly Mixtures at the Royal Exchange. This event sees a huge mix of arts, from Dance to Poetry, all showcasing important messages about feminism.

There are also going to be some events based around cultural differences running throughout the festival. As mentioned earlier, many areas around the world are much further behind with women’s rights and it’s important to bring to light matters that we might otherwise forget, or even overlook because they’re not on our doorstep.

An event which many of the festivals fans seem to be looking forward to in particular is the Bridesmaids event. Many feminist events focus on the way women are treated by men, but this particular event focus on the interactions between women, specifically in friendship groups. People are especially excited for this event as “it’s a lighter, funnier event, while still bringing up important messages”, says Alex.

The Wonder Women Festival is set to Launch Thursday 2nd March & will be running for 10 days in various venues across Manchester. For more info, view the full programme here.

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