Around 100 guests joined together at a public event to celebrate the achievements of women from across the borough as Croydon Council marked International Women’s Day.

Hosted by Croydon Council’s Women’s Network the evening of entertainment at Boxpark included live music, inspirational speakers, diverse performances and DJs.

One of the performers was Tya Cunningham, a 15-year-old who is part of Croydon Rap Club. She took to the stage to perform her song Smile, which is about overcoming loss.

“Females in the music industry are not as widely represented as males so I think it is good to put on an event like this that gives us a platform,” she said.

“At the time when I wrote it a lot of things were happening with my friends and me – friends had lost relatives, and my nephew had died, so it was a song to uplift everyone. I hope it touches people and makes them smile.”

The Boxpark event was organised by Croydon Council’s Women’s Network. Today (Friday 8 March) is International Women’s Day and the theme for this year is #BalanceForBetter.

The day will celebrate the cultural, political, social and economic achievements of women while raising awareness of how important it is to build a truly gender-balanced world.

Emma Newby, chair of the Croydon Council women’s network, said: “It was great to see such a diverse range of acts, speakers and performers.

“The event was a true reflection of the rich culture and tenacity of the Women of Croydon and it was wonderful to see everyone enjoying themselves – even Madam Mayor took to the dance floor for the Bollywood workshop.”

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress towards gender equality, call for further change and celebrate the achievements of women here and around the world.

“We are proud of the achievements of women in Croydon across our communities and are resolved to support all our residents to achieve their full potential.”

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities