Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing global attention on areas requiring further action.

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8, with the first day being held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.

This year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter – providing a unified direction to guide and galvanise continuous collective action.

Organisers of International Women’s Day are calling for people to post their #IWD2019 message on social media with your “hands out” balance pose for a strong call-to-action for others to help forge a #BalanceForBetter.

You can find the latest news, inspirational articles and events celebrating International Women’s Day below. If you have an event that you feel would benefit our members, you can promote this on WeAreTheCity.  Charity or not-for-profit events are free to publish, while all other events will incur an admin fee – please email [email protected]

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INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN

NOMINATE A RISING STAR

What IWD means to us

  • International Women’s Day is the perfect time to come together, celebrate and observe the political, economic and cultural achievements of women all over the world. The 8th March will bring to the surface all of the characteristics and endeavours of females around the globe who fight every day to be successful year on year. International Women’s Day has been set aside as a clarion call to recognise amidst ourselves, the work we have ahead for building a world where sexes are defined not by their gender but recognised as binaries – two uniquely distinct but equal entities roaming the face of this earth, and in some cases shooting for the stars.

    Paola Diana
    Paola Diana
    Author & Female Rights Activist
  • As a trans woman, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to identify with what it means to be a woman and our true selves.

    Carmen Liu
    Carmen Liu
    Founder, GI Collection & Carmen Liu Lingerie
  • As a Psychologist, International Women’s Day means to me the beauty of hearing women’s views and aspirations, in contrast to the women who were silenced by society in the past. We now have choices, voices and the freedom to pursue our dreams. My vision is for this to become a world-wide experience for all women.

    Dr Georgina Barnett
    Head of Global Membership, Seventy Thirty International Matchmaking
  • Any day that highlights the power of women, that shines a light on their strength and achievements, and encourages and inspires them to feel empowered is not just a celebration but an absolute necessity in my mind. International Women’s Day doesn’t just recognise how far we have all come but it reminds us to dream. For me personally, I know first-hand how important it is to have a vision and dream, but often how difficult it is to manifest, especially for so many women in the world who remain without a voice, fighting inequality and injustice every single day – which is why women coming together to support one another is so important. Women are amazing, and this very special day gives us much needed time to reflect on the work that still remains, reminding us all to look beyond our borders, and stand up against our fears – all through incredible solidarity.

    Lara Asprey
    Lara Asprey
    Broadcaster, Writer, Matchmaker & Founder, Asprey Introductions
  • International Women’s Day inspired me to commit to the Club running an annual personal development day for 100 sixth form girls from local secondary schools. The aim of the day is for the girls to focus on themselves and go away feeling inspired for the future.

    Fleur Robinson
    Fleur Robinson
    Commercial Director, Burton Albion Football Club
  • International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us all to take the gender conversation further strategically – it’s less about ‘celebrating’ than it should be about effective and sustainable change…building a safer space for all.

    Jos Dirkx 1
    Jos Dirkx
    Marketing & Communications Advisor, Author & Founder of Girls & Football SA
  • From Marie Curie’s discovery of radioactivity and Rosalind Franklin’s work on DNA molecules to Hedy Lamarr, who pioneered the technology behind WiFi, and Ada Lovelace, arguably the grandmother of modern computing, some of the most important and game-changing developments in the world have come from female pioneers and visionaries. They, along with so many other incredible strong women, broke the mould for what was expected of our gender. International Women’s Day is an incredible opportunity to celebrate the past achievements of these groundbreaking women. However, in addition to it being a time of celebration and reflection, International Women’s Day reminds us to continue being passionate about what we do, empowering us to push the boundaries of what’s accepted as we continue developing and contributing to the world around us. For me, International Women’s Day celebrates how far we have come and cements the drive so many of us have to achieve gender parity and equality.

    Christie Day
    Christie Day
    Group Event Director for Women in Business EXPO
  • There are three things today that are accelerating at a tremendous pace – globalization, technology and climate change. If we want to create a balanced world, women need to be an integral part of this acceleration. To progress, we need people who think differently and ask different questions to be contributing their thoughts and ideas. Women can influence culture, learn and contribute in diverse ways. We can tackle inequality if women become equal partners across all fields. Women also account for 50% of the consumers in this acceleration and having their input in building technology is crucial. One way this will happen is if more girls embrace STEM subjects. For example, I love my job at Shutterstock and the opportunity to work for a global technology company, innovating and building awesome products for a global market. I was lucky to have been brought up in an environment where my parents created excitement around science and maths. Getting kids excited at an early age and removing any gender biases early on is very important. International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate all the women who are playing a part in the exciting tech disruption that is taking place and a chance to inspire the next generation to get their voices heard!

    Rashi Khurana
    Director of Engineering, Shutterstock
  • Each year I look forward to International Women’s Day as if it were my birthday. The amount of love and positive female energy that floats around on that day makes it feel like I’m working at 110% capacity, and being able to pass that feeling on and empower my fellow women through my actions and words is all the satisfaction anyone could ever need.

    Kestra Walker
    Digital Content Manager, TickX
  • I love hearing stories of extraordinary women shared around International Women’s Day. The celebration of women excelling in their field is inspirational but it’s those who thrive in difficult circumstances that always stand out to me.

    The Microloan Foundation recently shared stories with me of some of the strongest women I’ve ever heard of. Women in sub-Saharan Africa who faced hunger, family tragedy and despair and set up their own businesses with a tiny loan to feed their family, pay for their education and support the community they live it in.

    Living in a region where one in ten children will die before they are five, having this level of entrepreneurial spirit is astounding.

    Emma Kane
    Emma Kane
    CEO, Newgate Comms and Chair of the Barbican Centre Trust
  • International Women’s Day is the perfect time to collaborate, celebrate and observe the political, economic and cultural achievements of women all over the world. International Women’s Day has been set aside as a clarion call to recognise amidst ourselves, the work we have ahead for building a world where sexes are defined not by their gender but recognised as binaries – two uniquely distinct but equal entities roaming the face of this earth, and in many cases shooting for the stars. As I always say, it’s about equal rights not special rights, and men equally need to play a meaningful role in empowering women.

    “It’s about equal rights not special rights, and men equally need to play a meaningful role in empowering women.

    Natasha Mudhar , CEO Sterling Group and Worrld We Want 1
    Natasha Mudhar
    Co-Founder & Global CEO, Worrld We Want
  • To me, International Women’s Day is all about being fearless and speaking up. If you want to achieve something, just go for it – don’t be scared what people think. This especially relates to the PR world, where a big part of the job is coming up with new, creative ideas for clients to get their message across. Sometimes it can be scary to put your idea on the table, but it could just be the award winning concept that everyone loves – you’ll never know unless you speak up and get your ideas out there.

    Jodie Brazier
    Jodie Brazier
    Comms Consultant, TopLineComms
  • International Women’s Day means a great deal to me as it allows us celebrate the incredible, relatively unsung achievements of women and acts as a reminder that we have more work to do, especially in STEM fields, to elevate female role models like Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin to the next generation of talented female innovators.

    Kate Adams
    Kate Adams
    Nesta's Challenge Prize Centre
  • Never underestimate the power of a network – especially one full of women. As you progress further in your career and personal life, your ability and time to develop career-building relationships becomes more limited. International Women’s Day serves as a reminder that we are a part of a community and we need to work together to support each other.

    Norma Gillespie
    Global Enterprise Accounts, Resource Solutions
  • International Women’s Day isn’t just about celebrating the big, monumental and triumphant moments for women throughout the years but the smaller victories too. We recognise how far women have come in the world every day and Internation Women’s Day is actually a day where I think we should focus less on the iconic females of history and the present day we usually celebrate and turn to the women in our own lives and praise them instead. For me, I look up to women in the media, both past and present every day for inspiring me and motivating me but on International Women’s Day, it’s my mum, my grandma, my aunties and my best friends I’ll be celebrating and recognising.

    After going through a break up in September 2018, being left for another woman, I started to doubt female loyalty but I used that to strengthen my own character and improve my own loyalties and feelings towards women supporting other women. I’ve changed the way I treat other women and improved how I respect other females. I now go out of my way to build up the women in my life but also to be as kind and encouraging to women I don’t know so well but meet along the way.

    We should love the women all around us every day and take inspiration and encouragement from them but on Internation Women’s Day, it’s the perfect occasion to put the ladies in your life on a podium and show the world just how much they raise you up every other day of the year.

    Ellie Pool
    Ellie Pool
    Content and Social Strategist, Life With Ellie
  • Having an all-female team means International Women’s Day always feels particularly special as it’s a day allows us to come together to celebrate CNC’s amazing growth and look at what it means to be a successful woman in business.

    Chloe Nelkin
    Chloe Nelkin
    Founder, Chloe Nelkin Consulting
  • Growing up in Bulgaria, where International Women’s Day is also Mother’s Day, I have come to view this day as a validation for me as a human being on a par with any man in our society. It has given me the confidence to believe in myself and that I can achieve anything I can set my mind to, despite prejudices against women’s abilities to succeed in any challenge they might undertake.

    Dessy Ohanians
    Dessy Ohanians
    Managing Director, London School of Business and Finance Executive Education & CEO, London Academy of Trading
  • For me, it’s a bittersweet reminder that there’s still such a long way to go. Only 15% of UK technology workers are female, but seeing the positivity on International Women’s Day fills me with the hope that this can and will improve

    Zoe Morris
    Zoe Morris
    President, Washington Frank
  • International Women’s Day reminds me of when I started my working career at The European Commission in Brussels. As a young British woman, I was working alongside women and men from the other EU states and it was such an amazing experience and opportunity to learn new languages and cultures. The years I spent there had a huge influence on the woman I have become. It opened my eyes to the importance of diversity and having great women role models in the workplace – even more important to me now that I’m running my own business and leading my own team.

    Alison Shadrack
    CEO, Adia PR
  • For me international women’s day is the opportunity to come together (men and women) to celebrate the great achievements that have taken place over the year that help and support women to live a happy and healthy life. To congratulate each other and to look forward to the next 12 months and the continued efforts of generosity and collaboration together.

    Catherine Smith
    CEO, Equal Talent
  • International Women’s Day is a day for recognising the work that women already do. It’s a day for acknowledging their achievements and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.

    zoe duffy
    Zoe Duffy
    Account Manager, Clartias Solutions
  • International Women’s Day is inspiring because it highlights women making history, driving progress, and changing things for the better. It lets young girls know that they really can do anything, which is so important in encouraging them to get into STEM fields like maths and engineering. Advertising related to these industries are more directed towards men, and there’s a huge disparity between the levels of men and women studying them in university.

    We need more women in these kind of areas to help make positive changes, and I think it’s wonderful that International Women’s Day gives girls from all over the world the confidence to follow their dreams.

    Jai Popat
    Jai Popat
    Head of HR & Recruitment Manager, VHR
  • I think International Women’s day is fantastic because is really shows young women that there’s so much out there that they can learn, that there are careers out there they may not have considered or even heard of. Our industry definitely needs more women, for example only 4% of the airline pilots in the UK are women. However progress is being made, in recent years we’ve seen more women getting into the engineering industry which is only going to lead to a stronger, more capable workforce.

    Aimee Treasure
    Aimee Treasure
    Marketing Manager, VHR
  • I feel it’s important to remember and recognise that hard work and dedication should pay off in any field and for any gender. We as an industry need to be inclusive and open minded to all individuals to pool the resources we need to drive innovation and business forward. Any day that aid’s that philosophy can only be a good thing.

    Kirsty Sutton
    Finance Director, Clartias Solutions
  • IWD reminds me that we still have much to do to have a world where one’s gender and any other “differences” are celebrated and embraced instead of fractioning and boxing us in unhelpful ways. Today I still need, and want, to be on the side of those who want to put these issues right. Today, and for however long needed, I want to be part of the solution.

    Elena Rodriguez-Falcon
    Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon
    CEO, NMiTE
  • International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate and showcase women’s achievements. Women have come a long way in the STEM sector since I started my first business and I am delighted that progress has been made. Science is an area that should be as open to women as it is to men, and my career path, I hope, shows that it is possible as a woman to run a successful STEM business. However I do believe there is room for more progress, for example with more women in top positions in STEM related businesses and that is the next challenge to tackle.

    My advice is for any woman looking for a good starting role in environment or ecology or any other STEM discipline is to look at the gender split within the company you are interested in and the numbers of women in senior positions. That may give you a clue as to your future success in the business.

  • I grow up in Russia, where International Women’s Day is perhaps the next most important celebration after Christmas and New Year. On this day all the women, girls, mothers and grandmothers receive flowers, presents and well wishes. I took this tradition with me to London so on this day I remind all the women and girls in my life how great they are. Myself and the girls in the office get flowers and chocolates from our male colleagues and even from some suppliers who know that it is important to us. I am not celebrating for the sake of political meaning or for the sake of proving anything, but just because I like to promote this tradition of helping every woman feeling special and loved.

    Sonia Pash
    Sonia Pash
  • International Women’s Day holds a very special place in my heart. When I started working 13 years ago, one major project I initiated was formally recognising International Women’s Day through exclusive events for women. Most of our company initiatives – sports tournaments, in-house events and concerts – appealed more to men and were less inclusive for women. International Women’s Day programs soon became very popular and I continued to run them year after year even after I started my own companies. It was owing to IWD, I started to realise my passion for these types of programmes and women leadership trainings and coaching became a very important part of what I do today!

    Hira Ali
    Hira Ali
    Author of Her Way to the Top, Executive Career Coach, Leadership Trainer & Keynote Speaker, Chief Executive Officer, Advancing Your Potential, Founder of The Career Excel for Trailblazing Women
  • This year International Women’s Day is particularly important for me and others in the legal profession. 2019 marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time. There is still much to be done to achieve equality for women working in the law so this International Women’s Day is time to reflect on what was achieved by the first female legal pioneers and look at the lessons that can be learned to ensure progress in the future.

    dana denis smith
    Dana Denis-Smith
    Founder, The First 100 Years
  • International Women’s Day to me is like a pat on the back that we are trying our best to give the next generation a better workplace and a better world, where they would get what they truly deserve without asking for it! There is this particular quote I love, maybe because I am usually the only woman in an all male team: “Being a woman on a team of all men means that you have a unique voice, it’s important to embrace that”, by Erin Teague. And another quote by Marie Curie which I find very encouraging for all women, “We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”

    vaishali pant
    Vaishali Pant
    Test Analyst, Clartias Solutions
  • For me, IWD is a global acknowledgment of a unique set of societal, political, health and workplace challenges that women face, and also of the talents, voices and contribution levels that women bring to our lives and to our work.

    And so the organisations, businesses and communities who celebrate it each year are publicly reaffirming that they empathise and want to help women towards a gender-equal future.

    Amanda Davie
    Amanda Davie
    Executive Coach and Director, Equal Talent
  • My vision is to inspire a generation to ignite and sustain the talents of both themselves and those around them, so they can make a positive contribution to the world. We can’t do that when we are distracted with the ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ of our gender (whether male or female). So let’s embrace what and who we are right now. Let’s show up fully and get on with making the difference which our planet is crying out for.

    Kate Turner
    Kate Turner
    Director, Motivational Leadership
  • The intention is really positive, to promote women’s rights, abilities and contributions. These are all important issues but not a lot seems to happen on the day other than a few token gestures. For me having a positive attitude and confidence in yourself can help women achieve their potential.

    Laura
    Laura
    Clinical Lead (Head of Pharmaceutical Department), Assured Pharmacy
  • Women have always been strong, courageous and achieved great things. It’s just that now we’re getting the recognition! We have some great women in our company and International Women’s Day is a great moment to celebrate our pride in them and, in a way, the unremarkableness of their seniority

    Sam Rowe
    CEO, Ignition and Blue Flint Group
  • As a woman in business, I am incredibly passionate about empowering young women to embark on fulfilling and successful careers, regardless of gender stereotypes. I currently mentor at Leeds University and have volunteered at other alternative provisions to ensure young women are able to reach their full potential.

    Sharing my entrepreneurial journey is so important to me and International Women’s Day is a fantastic platform in which to do this; it brings entrepreneurs and business professionals together to share knowledge and recognise how far women have come in the workplace. It’s also crucial for demonstrating the things we can do together, to ensure the progress in equality continues.

    Jasmine Wheelhouse 1
    Jasmine Wheelhouse
    Founder & Managing Direcotr, No. 18 Ltd
  • This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #balanceforbetter. Balance is an even distribution of strength, enabling something to remain upright and steady. This says it all for me, everyone is something, so we must all have balance to stand strong, upright and steady together.

    Scarlett Long
    Scarlett Long
    Head of Client Services, Ad-Lib
  • International Women’s Day is an annual celebration of the movement of women’s rights and equality.

    Our generation has seen significant progress: the narrowing of the gender gap & an explosion of fierce female role models in all industries. I can only imagine what the next generation of women will be able to achieve as more women run for office, run the boardrooms and are enabled to do so by a mindful, generation of men.

    I’m proud to be leading a team of women in the UK (80:20 ratio) and even in a female-lead environment, you still see women undersell themselves out of fear. For me, we need to get comfortable being bold: ask for what we want, back ourselves & own our achievements. Paradoxically, I’ve seen women charged with feminist rhetoric shoot their ambition ahead of their achievements – so ensuring progress is rooted in good work & facts is important if we are to keep driving this agenda forward.

    Lisa Targett
    Lisa Targett
    UK General Manager, TRIBE
  • International Women’s Day made me feel so empowered and reminded me to celebrate all that women have achieved. Since working in the IT industry I have realised how far we come for equality. I salute all women in tech!

    jennie keen
    Jennie Keen
    Account Manager, Clartias Solutions
  • I used to think that International Women’s Day could be seen as a token gesture but I now believe it’s an important moment in time to stop and reflect, not only on how far we’ve come, but how far we have to go. My experience of running my own company has taught me that we should champion women every single day. We make up more than 50% of the population and we should ensure that in boardrooms and business across the country women are fairly represented. As a British, female entrepreneur I am particularly dismayed that women in the US are twice as likely to start their own company as women in the UK. In fact ,women make up just a third of entrepreneurs in the UK. I feel passionate about role modelling and promoting female entrepreneurship at every opportunity. I think that ‘entrepreneurship’ needs a re-brand to make it more attractive to women. I want to make sure that my ten year old daughter believes she can be her own boss if she chooses.

    Rachel Pendered
    Rachel Pendered
    Managing Director, Media Zoo
  • Being a business woman and now having 2 daughters, International Women’s day for me represents being the best role model that I can be for my girls and teaching them that absolutely anything is possible in this life.

    Sara Lou Ann Jones
    Sara Lou Ann Jones
  • As we see in another International Women’s Day, I want to take a moment to consider how we can shape the future. My dream is a world where men and women can share childcare responsibilities equally and both can excel at their careers without the guilt of missing out on family life. My vision is that the next generation of children will be able to access spaces like Third Door as the norm, rather than the exception by the time they have their own children. I’m committed to creating a movement to bring about a change in the culture of working families, where it is normal to work near your children and also focus on your own career

    Shazia Mustafa
    Shazia Mustafa
    Co-Founder, Third Door
  • International Women’s Day is exceptional in providing support for women in many industries, encouraging them to persevere in their chosen career, even if the industry has been traditionally male dominated. There are many initiatives which aim encourage women to get into STEM. International Women’s Day helps promote these initiatives and celebrates the amazing achievements of women in tech industry.

    Katie Fraser-Smith
    Katie Fraser-Smith
    Marketing Manager, Clartias Solutions
  • For me, there is no better theme for this years International Women’s Day than Balance for Better. Balance is about getting joy from all of the elements of life and being able to thrive at work, play and family life in a way where we are nurturing our relationships, living intentionally and moving forward, towards our dreams and ultimate goals. IWD is the perfect time to celebrate the journeys and achievements of all women, but also specifically mothers, who can often struggle with the pressure to raise a family, keep a house and excel at a career, but who do all that is asked of them with a smile on their face and unconditional love in their heart for their family. I salute you!

    Jenni Donato
    Jenni Donato
    Life and Mindset Coach, Chance Coaching
  • As a woman in a male-dominated profession, International Women’s Day reminds me how much I owe to the women who came before me and my responsibility to show the next generation that no job need be off limits.

    When I started out funeral directors were almost exclusively male. The first time I carried a coffin into church I heard “He’s got long blonde hair!” followed by “Gracious! It’s a woman”. My grandmother was a radio technician despite being told it wasn’t a job for a woman and she gave me the confidence to do anything I wanted.

    Chloe McKnight
    Chloe McKnight
    Principal Funeral Director, CPJ Field
  • International Women’s day reminds me that sisterhood is a powerful thing. It’s great when women support each other because, even though I’ve seen lots of change for the better since I started work, the workplace still feels man-made.

    Dr Jill Armstrong
    Bye-Fellow at the University of Cambridge's Murray Edwards College & lead research of their Collaborating with Men programme
  • The challenge of inspiring girls into business and technology is very real (I know – I have two girls at secondary school!). Challenge, inspire when and where you can, and be relevant and visible. The change will come, but only if we do this as leaders.

    Hannah Dawson
    Hannah Dawson
    Founder & CEO, Futrli
  • For me, International Women’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to connect with other women, celebrate their achievements and be inspired. As an executive head hunter, I am responsible for placing candidates into senior positions and onto boards in the private sector and in public life. I’m proud to say that last year we achieved a 50/50 gender split for all of our appointments, which is sadly still highly unusual in the industry. Experience has taught me that the lack of visibility of women in senior roles can have a trickle-down effect – the less we see people like us in senior positions, the less we believe we can aspire to those roles. I believe that International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to showcase the many fantastic role models across all spheres of business and public life, and to remind us what women can – and do – achieve.

    Sian Goodson
    Sian Goodson
    Founder & Managing Director, Goodson Thomas
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