COMMUNITIES from across Gwent came together today (Friday, March 8) to mark International Women's Day.

In Newport, The Riverfront hosted a full programme of events under the theme of 'balance'.

Discussion panels centred around questions of careers, birthright, and representation, and Dame Rosemary Butler launched new funding for women through the Newport Women's Forum bursary.

The day also featured theatrical performances, films, and a world food stall organised by the Share Centre, while there was also yoga, Zumba fitness, dance, and stalls set up for information and crafts.

The event's co-ordinator, Newport Live's arts development officer Sally Anne Lewis, said the event wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration and hard work of all the groups which contributed.

"Thank you to all the organisations that took part, spending their time rehearsing and showcasing," she said. "That's what makes International Women's Day – people coming together to challenge how far there is still to go, but also to celebrate women within our communities."

In Monmouthshire, there were special events for girl students at both Monmouth Comprehensive School and Caldicot School.

In Caldicot, year 9 pupils heard inspiring stories from local women, including former pupils, who have become leaders in fields including business, law, sport, and volunteering.

And in Monmouth, girls from years nine and 10 heard motivational messages from a range of speakers ranging from a foreign diplomat to a firefighter.

Cllr Sara Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for social justice, said: “I feel really proud to live in a county where people can achieve their goals whatever they might be. Some fantastic discussions were held today, with lots of advice for young people about how to plan for the future.

"I hope the young people who took part in the discussions today feel inspired to pursue their dreams. I fully support this year’s International Women’s Day campaign which is committed to building a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play.”

The Riverfront in Newport will continue its International Women's Day programme tomorrow (Saturday, March 9), with a parkrun at 9am, family activities, 10am-3pm; and a theatrical performance at 7.45pm.