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International Women's Day - 2021

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

It's that time of year again when we come together to celebrate women past and present and discuss how we might, together, build a future of greater equality. This year's IWD theme is #chooseToChallenge. There are so many great events exploring the theme, this year and we all have access to these virtually (thank goodness for Zoom!). So we thought we'd shortlist some of our favourites below to inspire you to get involved.

(Note, this shortlist is curated from events being hosted all across the world, so double check the time zone when you sign up!)

Are you attending an event this year? Something not on our list that you'd recommend? Share with us in the comments, we'd love to know!

We've broken our list into the following sections, click away to head straight to your interest subject. In no particular order:

Comedy & Communication

Comedy and Communication (Pictured)

We all love a bit of a laugh, but how can you use comedy and comedic techniques in your day-today science communication, outreach and teaching? Our panel will talk about how comedy works and how you can use comedy techniques to elevate your communications work.

The Guilty Feminist

The Guilty Feminist International Women's Day Week Livestream Extravaganza starring your own Deborah Frances-White and her very special guests (some big exciting international ones and some of your fave regulars!) are coming to a screen you already own Thursday 11 March 8 pm UK time!


Squaring up to Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is a term that gets bandied about a lot in women's circles - what is it, how does it come about and play out in our lives, plus why are some people affected by it and others not?

Join our panel of women from experts who have researched it, to women who are and aren't affected by it, to help us grapple with the topic and help people find ways to overcome their inner critic.

Motherhood & Home

The Role of Motherhood in Society (Pictured)

Special guests include Dr. Shirley N. Weber, California’s first African American Secretary of State, and Anna Malaika Tubbs, author of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation. Both guests’ achievements are highlighted in the Museum’s exhibit “Women Inspire: California Women Changing Our World.”

There's No Place Like Home - A woman's place in the pandemic?

Few things stop progress like a global pandemic, but what many did not anticipate is just how far it would turn back the clock. To mark International Women’s Day, our panel of experts will be exploring the impact of the pandemic on gender inequality by taking a closer look at those who are most at risk when there is nowhere to go but your own home.

After more than a year of living with Covid-19, our panellists will discuss the ways in which gender and racial inequalities in healthcare, at home, and at work are being exacerbated. They will also reflect on what it might mean to ‘build back better’.

Health & Wellbeing

Pillow Yoga for Periods (Pictured)

Maja will be offering 50% off her pillow yoga for periods classes in a 24 hours flash sale, so give the website link above a visit on the 8th March!

Yoga for periods: Are you suffering from headaches, fatigue and severe cramps each month that slow you down and keep you stuck in bed?

You will be guided through easy therapeutic flows, designed to nurture your body so that you can be more comfortable during your period. With lifetime access to yoga classes designed to relieve your monthly period pains, you can find comfort every month with restorative yoga positions.

Your Fertile Years - what you need to know to make informed choices

The age women have their first child is increasing globally. The total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman has) is decreasing globally, being on average 1.6 children per woman in the European Union and as low as 1.3 in several countries. Professor Joyce Harper, author of Your Fertile Years, will be joined by a panel of fertility experts to discuss why we need fertility education with a Q and A from the audience. Chairing the event will be Dr Larisa Corda, and on the panel will be Dr Raj Mathur, Chair of the British Fertility Society, Dr Mara Simopoulou, Chair of the Greek MyFertility campaign, and Emma Haslett, Journalist and co-host of @bigfatnegative podcast.

Gender and biomedical scientific research - are we looking in the right direction?

Many scientists are hoping that personalised medicine is the future. This approach will ensure that the patient is at the centre of the healthcare system. However, when researchers develop treatment options in the laboratory, there is a focus on studies in male species.

Our gender has a huge impact on whether we will get certain diseases, what type of symptoms we will have when we are ill, and how effective certain treatments will be in improving our health.

This session will discuss these matters in closer detail and consider the way research is moving to ensure that our gender does not define our medicine.

Menopause Musing - A live zoom writing workshop with Louise Wallwein MBE (Pictured)

The Whitworth's Age Friendly Programme is celebrating International Women's Week with an invitation for you to join in our live (Zoom) creative writing workshop exploring the menopause journey in all its glory.

The online Zoom workshop will be led by Louise Wallwein MBE, award-winning poet, playwright and performer.


(Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

Innovating for Good

In this lunchtime panel discussion, we'll hear from three women that are blazing a trail within the innovation and technology space – sharing their own experiences of challenging the norm, how they came to work in their chosen fields, and what advice they would give to fellow women aspiring to innovate or create for the benefit of both people & planet.

Changing the Face of Engineering (Pictured)

Global Engineering Futures will be hosting an international event led by female leaders across the world who are championing sustainable development. The event will be supported by leading organisations including Institution of Chemical Engineers National Early Career Committee.

This global summit will feature short lightning style talks, panel discussion and networking opportunities. This will include the challenges faced by leading women in their sectors and how they overcome them.

Politics, Planning & Social Movements

Celebrating the Indigenous Americas

Amid a constant and violent pressure from national governments to expand development projects into indigenous territories, a wide range of social movements have exposed indigenous peoples’ long quest for autonomy. In the past few decades, this has become a strong socio-political force throughout Latin America. In particular, the Buen Vivir, or Bem Viver movement for “good living” has arisen as an international dialogue that connects indigenous worldviews, feminist thought, environmental movements, and radical critiques of capitalism. As a discursive political device, “good living” foregrounds indigenous relations with the land as a form of resistance to the entangled histories of colonial occupation and extractivism. The movement behind Buen Vivir emphasizes how ancestral indigenous ontologies offer an alternative to contemporary forms of ecocide. Five speakers will present how their work contributes to elevating indigenous messaging and resistance through research, advocacy, and activism.

IWD Breakfast at Parliament Livestream (NZ)

Be one of the first in the world to celebrate IWD by attending in person or on line, the IWD Parliamentary Breakfast, held at New Zealand's Parliamentary buildings live from 6.55am NZ time through to 9am.

Hosted by The Hon. Jan Tinetti, Minister of Internal Affairs, and for Women we have three tremendous speakers, Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, The Hon. Jan Tinetti, Minister of Internal Affairs, and for Women and New Zealand's own COVID microbiologist and bioluminescence Associate Professor Dr. Siouxsie Wiles MNZM BSc (Hons), PhD.

Why the Green New Deal must be Feminist

You have probably heard of the Green New Deal but what about a Feminist Green New Deal? Back in September 2019 a coalition of women’s rights and climate activists in the USA including WEDO (Women’s Environment and Development Organization), launched a Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal. The Feminist Green New Deal Principles call for advancing reproductive justice, the creation of regenerative economies centred on feminist analysis and understanding of the care economy, a shift from exploitative and unsustainable production patterns and a rejection of false solutions to the climate crisis.

Wen and The Women’s Budget Group have published a policy paper which outlines the key elements of what a Feminist Green New Deal would look like in the UK, bringing a gender analysis to the Green New Deal and transitioning to a green economy.

Plan for Inclusivity

Places should be planned with everyone in mind. Planners, developers and all involved in creating the built environment and the spaces in between should consider all perspectives. How different people use the same spaces in different ways. What can we do to challenge the status quo and make real change towards more equitable and inclusive places? How can we ensure we plan inclusively?


A Better Community - ABC (Pictured)

International Women’s Day is Monday 8th March with the theme of #choosetochallenge

A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let's all choose to challenge.

How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

In honour of IWD this year, A Better Community is hosting an online event in conversation with some very special guests!

We will be celebrating the achievements of women and exploring how we can take action in the face of gender bias and inequality.

Meet the Women of Migrateful

Migrateful is a social enterprise and charity whose mission is to empower refugees, asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants in their journey towards integration through cookery classes. The cookery classes, led by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, provide ideal conditions for learning English and improving confidence, but additionally provide the chefs with a platform to celebrate and share their culture with the wider community!

Join Migrateful in celebrating International Women’s Day by meeting and honouring some of our phenomenal women chefs. We are so excited for you to meet Majeda from Syria, Deshira from Albania, and Elizabeth from Nigeria. During the panel discussion, the chefs will discuss a number of topics ranging from the power of food in developing a sense of home to their unique experiences of being migrant women in the UK.

Sikh and Punjabi Pioneers

A virtual tour of sites in London, Edinburgh, Paris, St Tropez, Malaga and Madrid narrating little histories and exploring the lives of a range of Sikh and Punjabi pioneers including:

  • Sophia Duleep Singh

  • Princess Indira Kaur Devi

  • Anita Sher-Gill

  • Maharani Karam Kaur

  • Karpal Kaur Sandhu

  • The Singh Twins

  • Maharani Prem Kaur

Art & Creative

Representation for Female Artists in Britain

Dr Kate McMillan, artist and author of the annual Freelands Report, 'Representation for Female Artists in Britain' will consider this research and other work she is doing to understand why progress for female artists in Britain is so slow. She will argue that Art Schools are a vital breeding ground for activism and must continue to empower young artists to set the agenda for change. McMillan asks whether collaborative, creative, community, placed-based models of care, so often championed by women, can offer solutions for the future.

Burnt Breakfast

Aiming to bring some vibes to this years IWD, We’ve curated a squad of amazing womxn working across the creative, STEM and wellness industries who have been tasked with telling you all about something that utterly inspires them in just 5-minutes.

Think of it as a feminist ‘show and tell’ with poetry, jokes, personal stories, music. prizes and more

Your ticket will go to our selected charity the Black Trans Foundation to support their amazing work.

Expect to hear from:

  • Zoe Adjonyoh, Founder, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen

  • Lucy Werner, The Wern and Hype Yourself

  • Deborah Coughlin, Founder, Method x Studios & Author Outspoken

  • Marelli Giulia, Musician

  • Elf Lyons, Comedien

  • Becky Namgauds, Artist & Choreographer

  • Sophie Bickerstaff, Founder, Oil the Hinges

  • Shaneika Johnson- Simms, Founder, Asare Simms

  • Kim Darragon, Founder, Kim does Marketing

  • Natalie Armitage, Founder, Come Breathe

  • Zoe Mallett, Zoe Mallett Life Coaching (ZMLC)

  • J. Muller, Artisys and Founder, Parth_e

  • Gyals on Road

Food & Agriculture

Inspiring Women in Food and Farming (Pictured)

Many of us have found solace in gardening and food growing during lockdown. We want to celebrate this on International Women’s Day. The theme for International Women's Day this year is “Choose to Challenge” and we want to challenge beliefs around food growing and land access with a 'Cultivating Conversations' event.

Join us for an inspirational panel and discussion. Speakers include;

  • Freya Robinson - Old Tree Market Garden

  • Joy O’Neil, Care Farming and Green Care

  • Judy Ling Wong - Honorary President of Black Environment Network

  • Ruby Radwan , Willowbrook Farm

This event is supported by the Food Citizens Project run by Feedback in Buckinghamshire.


In Conversation with Rugby Pioneer Gill Burns MBE, chaired by Jackie Weaver (Pictured)

To mark International Women’s Day and the 150th anniversary of rugby union, join Women’s Rugby World Cup winner and trailblazer for the sport, Gill Burns MBE, for an empowering talk where she shares her ethos on why you should never let gender stand in the way of your dreams.

Rugby has seen a significant shift in gender equality over the years, with now more than 2.4 million women and girls playing rugby at all levels and accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of players globally. Gill had a staggering influence in the field and will talk about how her passion and determination has seen her drive up female representation in this traditionally male dominated game.

Pub Quiz

Remember in the first lockdown when everyone went wild for a Zoom quiz?? Well, you guessed it, we’re bringing it back! This is a special edition to celebrate International Women’s Day, with all questions designed to either challenge your preconceptions, or show you how far we still have to come.

Why not rally up your friends, family and colleagues and see if you can beat them?

Getting Involved?

What are you attending this year? Have something you'd recommend that's not listed above? Share with us in the comments, we'd love to know!

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