Published: Monday, 6th March 2023

Medway is celebrating its Olympians, European and world championship competitors and international sports stars ahead of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, 8 March.

Medway is home to some amazing sportswomen. Charlotte Evans MBE, who hails from Chatham, won gold at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games, as a guide for visually impaired skier Kelly Gallagher.

Women from Medway have also represented England in rugby union. Shaunagh Brown and Rachael Burford, who both played at Medway RFC, have both represented England at the highest level. Rachael was also recently appointed head of women’s rugby at International Rugby Players.

The variety and depth of talent across Medway is astounding – women from our city compete in triathlons, track and field events, ski cross, trampolining, table tennis and so much more. Medway Sport will be featuring some of these amazing women on their social media channels on International Women’s Day.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity. Embracing equity means recognising that as well as ensuring we give everyone equal opportunity, we need to acknowledge that we don’t all start the race at the same starting point.

Free fitness for Medway’s women

In recognition and celebration of Medway’s inspirational sportswomen, we are inviting women of all ages to take part in one of the free fitness classes being run at Strood Sports Centre on Wednesday, 8 March.

The classes will offer something for everyone, no matter what their level of fitness is. The aim is for the day to be an open, welcoming and safe space for all of Medway’s women to get together, get moving and get healthier.

These classes will replace the ones that usually run on this day and will run from 9.30am – 8pm.

  • 9.30am - Glow Rider (45 minutes)
  • 10.30am - Boxercise (45 minutes)
  • 11am - Pilates (45 minutes)
  • 1.30pm - Women’s Only Swim Session (1 hour)
  • 5pm - Legs, Bums and Tums (45 minutes)
  • 6pm - Zumba (55 minutes)
  • 7pm - Punch, Pump and Pulse (55 minutes)
  • 8pm - Belly Blast (30 minutes)

You will not need to book to attend the swimming session, but you will need reserve a slot to attend any of the other classes. You can book the classes online now.

Celebrate International Women’s Day at Medway’s libraries

Medway’s libraries will also be marking the international campaign with a series of talks and art workshops.

On Wednesday, 8 March, St Martin’s School of Art graduate Shahina Jaffer, a social and racial justice campaigner and member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, will be hosting a free talk at Gillingham Library at 7.30pm. She will be speaking about Gillingham-born Suffragist and peace campaigner Kathleen Courtney.

On Saturday, 11 March young people and children will be able to create their own feminist collages at Gillingham Library, and on Saturday, 25 March residents can create their own suffragette placard with artist Wolf Howard at Rochester Library.

For more information, and to find out how to book, visit:

Providing a safe, open and welcoming environment

Dee O’Rourke, Medway Council’s Assistant Director of Culture and Community, said: “We have some amazingly talented sportswomen in Medway, which was highlighted at the Medway Sports Awards last December. I’m incredibly proud that we are marking International Women’s Day by providing a safe, open and welcoming environment for women of all ages at Strood Sports Centre. I’d also encourage all of Medway’s residents, regardless of gender, to come down to our libraries to listen to what is sure to be an inspirational and educational talk about Gillingham’s Kathleen Courtney – as well as joining in the family-friendly arts and crafts sessions."

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