While we don’t have any real proof, we’re pretty sure the joy, camaraderie and empowerment between women and girls on International Women’s Day could probably power the entire planet.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, an annual celebration across the world that honors the achievements and contributions of women, while challenging the discrimination and oppression they continue to face.
Although gender is a socially constructed concept that changes and evolves personally throughout each of our lives, International Women’s Day is an inclusive and diverse celebration that invites us to partake in nuanced conversations about women, gender, inequality, and injustice.
Celebrated during the second week of Women’s History Month in the United States, International Women’s Day reminds us to be even more mindful and welcoming of women from all continents, countries, and communities.
Historically, women of color, transgender women, and queer women have been subjected to even more harmful and isolating oppression than their white, cisgender sisters, and in America and beyond, we implore you to approach all of your celebrations with intersectionality and intention.
But first, a little history lesson:
5 Facts About International Women’s Day
- In 1909, 15,000 women protested in New York City for the first National Women’s Day. They were fighting for labor and voting rights.
- In 1910, attendees at the International Conference of Working Women voted unanimously to approve an International Women’s Day.
- International Women’s Day was honored for the first time in March 1911. The date was fixed on March 8 two years later.
- The United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time in 1975.
- In 2011, International Women’s day celebrated its 100-year centenary. Celebrations took place in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland; the same countries that held the first event 100 years earlier.
While it’s important to learn more about and uplift the experiences of all women every single day, it’s helpful to have somewhere to start. We’ve created a guide on how to celebrate International Women’s Day this year.
By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Activities and Ideas To Honor International Women’s Day
Watch a documentary about women’s rights.
Documentaries make big, difficult topics easier to understand and digest. With a concept as enormous and encompassing as global gender equality, a documentary is a helpful place to start! Check out some of these films:
- Feminists: What Were They Thinking? (Netflix)
- I Am Greta (Hulu)
- Period. End of Sentence. (Netflix)
- Saudi Women’s Driving School (HBO)
- She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (Netflix)
- Gloria: In Her Own Words (HBO)
- He Named Me Malala (Amazon Prime)
Read books about gender equality.
The status of women varies from country to country, or even city to city! Building a library of knowledge from diverse lived experiences is a great way to celebrate the women of the world. Here are a few of our favorites:
- “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History” by Kate Schatz (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot” by Mikki Kendall (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics” by bell hooks (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Add some new podcasts to your queue.
To be honest, in day-to-day life, there’s not often a problem that a good podcast episode can’t fix. Learning something new, laughing along with entertaining hosts, and feeling connected to movements and ideas is such a powerful feeling! Here are a few pods to tune into this International Women’s Day.
- Under the Sisterhood
- The History Chicks
- Our Body Politic
- The Professional Homegirl Podcast
- Woman’s Hour
- Girlboss Radio
- Encyclopedia Womannica
Learn about the challenges women and girls face around the world.
There are a lot of overlapping and intersecting challenges nearly all women and girls face: Reproductive injustice, economic inequality, and ongoing discrimination among them.
However, on International Women’s Day, it’s important to learn more about the experiences of women all across the globe. Here are a few resources and learning materials for your educational pursuits:
- An explainer on period poverty
- Resources about female genital mutilation from Amnesty International
- A research library from Malala Fund about girls’ access to education
- A resource hub about family planning
- Insights into the intersection of gender and climate justice
- An explainer on maternal health from Partners in Health
Read good news about women.
While there are certainly challenges women across the globe are confronting, there are also countless solutions. We’re all about good news at Good Good Good, (a while back, we even made The Women Edition of our monthly Goodnewspaper ), so here are some of our favorite stories about women to inspire you and help you learn something new.
- Zimbabwe’s Women-Only Rangers Fight Poachers And Poverty
- An All-Women Coral Conservation Group Is Reviving Coral Reefs
- Art Is Helping Refugee Women Connect And Express Themselves
- Finally, Black Women Are Getting Credit For Starting The Nail Art Trend
- Meet The American Women Athletes Who Broke Barriers
- This Rural N.C. Farm Helps Formerly Incarcerated Women Build Back Their Lives
- Meet The Immigrant Women Workers Disrupting The Cleaning Industry
- Milestones In Women’s History From The Year You Were Born
- A Georgia Brewery Is Using Code Words To Curb Sexual Harassment
Donate to organizations around the world that support women and girls.
Do your part to support women and girls in your community and on the other side of the planet by making a donation.
Any amount you can give is meaningful, and if you can, setting up a recurring donation can make a huge impact, all while saving you time in the long run. There are small, grassroots organizations that need your support locally, and in smaller communities, but here are a handful of organizations to spark the giving bug.
- Global Fund For Women
- Women’s Global Empowerment Fund
- Malala Fund
- Educate Girls Globally
- Outright International
- Girls Not Brides
- Days for Girls International
Shop from women-owned and women-led businesses.
Women-owned and operated businesses are often at the forefront of ethical consumption. In fact, according to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, women have greater moral reservations about ethical compromises in business. If you care about thoughtful, sustainable, and ethical businesses — and want to help bridge the gender gap in business — there’s no better time to make a difference than International Women’s Day.
Check out our ultimate guide to women-owned businesses that give back and do good.
Do your part to stand with women in Iran.
Unfortunately, women all around the world face human rights abuses and life-threatening oppression. However, women in Iran have a long, grueling history of resistance that continues to this day.
On September 16 of 2022, Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, died in Tehran while in the custody of Iran’s morality police. Her death set off a massive wave of demonstrations that have spread across the country and represent a growing movement that begs for the liberation of all Iranian women.
Though it can be difficult to know how to help from thousands of miles away, here are a few actions you can take to stand with the women of Iran:
- Learn more and sign a letter directed to UN member states
- Follow Middle East Matters to find a protest or rally near you
- Contact your elected officials and demand they speak out about Iran’s human rights abuses
- Donate to My Stealthy Freedom, an Iranian-led nonprofit advocating against the compulsory hijab
- Donate to the Center for Human Rights in Iran
Help improve women’s health around the globe.
According to the World Health Organization, while poverty is a huge indicator of someone’s ability to access healthcare, gender discrimination also stands in the way — especially in countries where maternal and women’s health is not prioritized.
In fact, the organization shares that approximately 810 women die every single day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
We all have a part to play in improving women’s health outcomes internationally. A great place to start is by donating to Partners in Health, which works to fight injustice by providing healthcare in parts of the world where women suffer most.
Connect with women around the globe through World Pulse.
World Pulse is a women-led social network for social change. Encouraging women’s stories and voices for on-the-ground solutions worldwide, this platform serves as a digital accelerator for women leaders.
Home to over 84,000 members online from 227 countries and territories, World Pulse is a great place to find and connect with other women from every corner of the globe.
Attend an International Women’s Day event.
Check out local event calendars for International Women’s Day events, fundraisers, or service projects near you. You can also check out some virtual events, too!
Have a dance party to an all-woman playlist.
If you don’t listen to “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyonce at least once this month, you may need to reevaluate your celebrations. Lucky for you, nearly every women’s empowerment playlist includes this song.
Have a women filmmakers movie marathon.
Grab the snacks, snuggle up with a blanket, and stream or rent some movies made by women filmmakers.
- Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao
- Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig
- Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig
- The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang
- Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins
- Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire, directed by Céline Sciamma
At Work / In Office
Turn your good intentions into real change.
Always remember that your actions must go beyond a single day of the year.
If you want to ensure that your good intentions are actually making a difference, just like you would with your other diverse team members, it’s going to take ongoing expertise and evolution.
Consider hiring an Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity specialist, or check out the resources from The Diversity Gap, an organization that coaches race-conscious leaders and teams — including their podcast and book.
Highlight International Women’s Day in your company newsletter.
If your brand or company sends a newsletter to customers or team members, this is a great way to inform folks about International Women’s Day.
You can create a section where you highlight accomplishments from cool-ass women, point to organizations to support, share ways to give back to women in your community — and maybe even share this article as a resource!
Volunteer with or match employee donations to a nonprofit.
Connect with a local nonprofit or a chapter of a national organization and see how you can volunteer as a team on International Women’s Day (and the rest of the year, too). Your crew definitely deserves a paid volunteer day, and what better way to celebrate than by helping others?
You can also provide a list of nonprofits that your employees can support — and match their donations to make an even bigger impact.
At School / With Students
Read books and poems by women writers — and then discuss them.
Create a lesson plan, activity, or reading assignment centered around a book or poem by a woman writer. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, cool aunt, or any other trusted adult, this is a great way to learn together and build lasting bonds for the young people in your life.
Not sure what to read? Check out some ideas below for kids and YA books:
- “The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne” by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights” by Karen Blumenthal (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired The Environmental Movement” by Stephanie Roth Sisson (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed The World” by Chelsea Clinton (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Give presentations about women and girls changing the world.
Help your students brainstorm a project or presentation about a woman or girl who inspires them. Making protest signs like Greta Thunberg? Dressing up in a blazer and pearls like Kamala Harris? Presenting a newscast like Barbara Walters? There is no limit to what they can achieve!
Decorate your classroom.
Curate an environment for your students that makes every day feel like International Women’s Day. Create a themed bulletin board, lead women-centric art projects, and hang up photos of brave and brilliant women from history.
Discuss the importance of women’s access to education.
If your young ones are privileged enough to be learning about International Women’s Day in school, it’s important to discuss the state of girls’ education around the globe.
Be intentional to include lessons and conversations about girls’ global education, why access to opportunities matters, and what people are doing about it.
Malala Fund is a great place to start for resources and initiatives.
On Social Media
Follow & amplify the voices of diverse women creators outside of your bubble.
International Women’s Day provides a unique opportunity to find more diverse women creators to add to your feed.
Follow new creators, and make sure you introduce your network to new voices, too! Be sure to share, comment, and support all the new folks you follow. (A Venmo payment or newsletter subscription upgrade goes a long way!)
Help end the cycle of gender-based harassment online.
Life online does have its share of unpleasant interactions, but women and girls are often the most at risk for cyberbullying.
In fact, there’s a term for it. Cybermisogyny or cybersexism, according to the Women’s Media Center, is specifically gendered abuse targeted at women and girls online. It incorporates sexism, racism, religious prejudice, homophobia, and transphobia. And it must be stopped.
Check out nonprofit Take Back The Tech for resources on personal online safety, supporting survivors, and how we can end gender-based online harassment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we celebrate International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is devoted to celebrating the achievements of women, while also fighting for gender equality, across the globe. This holiday aims to honor the impact of women worldwide and encourages people to challenge gender stereotypes, discrimination, and oppression.
Why is International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8?
In February of 1909, 15,000 female labor activists marched in New York City for equal rights. The following year, activist Clara Zetkin called for an International Women’s Day at the Second International Conference of Working Women. It was unanimously approved, and the date was fixed as March 8 in 1913.
What is the 2023 theme for International Women’s Day?
For International Women’s Day in 2023, the official International Women’s Day organization will run a campaign on the theme of #EmbraceEquity. Meanwhile, the United Nations’ official theme this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
What was the International Women’s Day theme in 2022?
In 2022, the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day with the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” The campaign led by the official International Women’s Day organization was #BreakTheBias.
What are some good quotes for International Women’s Day?
Sharing a quote is a simple way to preserve women’s history and continue the momentum of progress for women everywhere today.
Whenever you’re sharing quotes, be sure to understand the context and purpose of what was said, and make sure you’re using those quotes in a way that would align with the values of the people who said or wrote them.
With that in mind, here are some collections of quotes you can share for International Women’s Day?
- Quotes for International Women’s Day
- Quotes to empower women
- Quotes for Women’s History Month
- Quotes about activism
- Quotes about caring
- Quotes about social justice
- Maya Angelou quotes
- Coretta Scott King quotes
- Dolly Parton quotes
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes
- Jane Goodall quotes
- Marsha P. Johnson quotes
- Madeleine Albright quotes
- Glennon Doyle quotes