International Women’s Day event at the Watt Institution

Inverclyde Council is marking International Women’s Day with a free event telling the stories of women who were persecuted for being witches.

On Friday, March 8, the Watt Institution will host a free talk by archivist Lorraine Murray on Witchcraft in Inverclyde.

The talk will include stories of historic accusations of witchcraft made against women in Inverclyde.

Councillor Lynne Quinn, Inverclyde’s Women’s Champion, will introduce the talk on March 8.

She said: “The people accused were not witches, just normal people. In a patriarchal society, such as it was in the 16th and 17th century, women had little or no agency, and could be seen as problematic if they did not conform to societal norms.

“Behaviour such as being outspoken, quarrelsome, having neighbourly disputes, or anything which brought them to the attention of the authorities could potentially be the reason for an accusation.

“I’m looking forward to attending this talk, which will provide a fascinating insight into Inverclyde’s history.

“International Women’s Day is an ideal opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the achievements of women and consider how we can inspire inclusion for future generations.”

The Watt Institution is currently hosting an exhibition called ‘Witches in Word, Not Deed’ by artist Carolyn Sutton, which remembers the real women who were persecuted as witches across Scotland under the Witchcraft Act of 1563. Attendees will have the opportunity to view the display after the talk.

The exhibition represents 13 women accused of being witches, each wearing a dress printed with words which were used against them, including testimony from their witch trials.

The installation aims to highlight the loss of identity and life suffered by these women and the enduring power of words.

There is also a pop-up display relating to Inverclyde witchcraft cases.

Tickets for the event from 4pm till 6pm are free but limited. To book your ticket, click the link in the right hand side column.

Witches in Word, Not Deed, will be on display at the Watt Institution in the lead up to the event, open to the public every Wednesday to Saturday, from 10am till 4pm.

International Women’s Day is held on March 8 every year to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The first day was held more than 100 years ago in 1911 and events are now held across the world to encourage equality for women.

A BSL Interpreter will be present.

International Women's Day 2024
International Women's Day 2024