Today is International Women’s Day

Today at 11.20 am, school students at Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester will be walking out in protest at the genocide in Gaza and in solidarity with Palestinian women. 

The students will be marching to Shire Hall, to the memorial of Elizabeth Martha Brown, the last woman publicly hanged in Dorset, in a miscarriage of justice. They will be welcomed by the curator of Shire Hall.

Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum. Credit: John Gurd Photography

Over 31,000 people have been killed in Gaza, 70% of whom are women and children. 60,000 pregnant women face malnutrition in Gaza, with lack of health care and clean water. 

Gaza’s hospitals have been bombed to destruction; incubator facilities are destroyed or lack power; primary health-care facilities are shut down. Surgical procedures, including caesarean sections, have been conducted without anaesthesia and, at times, without electricity. There are crucial shortages of drugs, blood products, and medical supplies.

Approximately 183 women are estimated to give birth daily in Gaza, of whom 15% are expected to need additional medical care due to pregnancy or birth-related complications.


This morning, students from Thomas Hardye School walked out in solidarity with Palestinian women on International Women’s Day, demanding Ceasefire Now! and an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. This was the most recent of several walkouts from the school and students from Thomas Hardye have led Dorset contingents on the national marches in London and locally in Dorset.

They marched from their school through Dorchester to Shire Hall, the scene of the trial of Martha Brown, the last woman to be publicly hanged in Dorset and victim of what today would be seen as a miscarriage of justice. Shire Hall was also where the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs was held.

The marchers chose the rallying point of Shire Hall as a symbol of struggles against social injustice. Poppy, one of the student organisers, told the rally:

On International Women’s Day, it is important to recognise that women and children in Gaza are bearing the brunt of this conflict. Seventy percent of the thirty thousand people murdered have been women and children. Two mothers in Gaza are killed per hour.”.

Naira, a school student from another Dorset school, told the rally she was in touch with Palestinian friends in the West Bank:

They are sending their thanks and appreciation for what you have done today. You have personal thanks from people who are living under occupation.”

The students were welcomed by Tamsin Little, a manager at Shire Hall, and also addressed by Lynne Hubbard, a local health worker, who spoke of the 60,000 pregnant women in Gaza who face malnutrition while surgical procedures, including caesarean sections, are conducted without anaesthesia. She told the protestors that 183 women were estimated to give birth daily in Gaza, of whom 15 percent were expected to need additional medical care due to pregnancy or birth-related complications that were unavailable due to Israel’s bombardment.

Rob Ferguson, Secretary of the Dorset Palestine Solidarity Campaign also brought greetings and solidarity from the national campaign and Dorset PSC.

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