International Women’s Day

Womens day

The 2021 theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Women in Leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’ which ‘celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future’.

On Monday 8 March, International Women’s Day will celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

This year, the theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’, which calls on everyone to challenge and call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping, and to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.

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.


INWD Choose to Challenge Song

The hardest thing about being a Girl

What are everyone’s thoughts about pledge cards for female staff and students to pledge how they will put themselves first and challenge thinking?

Video Resources to show at sub-school assemblies: 

Jade Hamiester challenging young women to be more not less – Ted Talk (SOme students have watched in Spark):

Choose to be More

International Women’s Day Community Video Clips:

Big Change can start from little questions

The Race is On

What happens when you ask a girl one simple question? 

Would you switch for a day?

Note: The video outlining ‘Standing up for women doesn’t mean downplaying men’ wasn’t very good. Basically an amateur rap song.  

Be a lady they say – Vimeo for older students only 

Notes from the website on how to pitch the theme and also allow participants to understand what to pledge:


Step 1 – Set the context

An equal world is an enabled world. Explain what #EachforEqual means in terms of why a more gender-equal world is important and why women’s equality is key overall.

If you need some background statistics and data, you can always access the IWD Lean In ‘State of Women’ presentation here.

Step 2 – Give a call-to-action

Ask your audience to carefully consider this question:

  • “What action can I take to help forge a more gender equal world?”

Step 3 – Engage audience commitment

Using the IWD purple pens provided, on the round IWD Activity Cards from your Pack, ask your audience to write a specific and tangible ACTION that they can take to help forge a more gender equal world.

Here are some suggestions you can share to inspire the thinking:

  • I’ll call it out when I see or hear gender stereotypes or bias – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll boycott products where advertising stereotypes women – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll take children or friends to women’s sporting matches – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll buy from women-owned businesses more – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll donate time or resource to a women’s charity or initiative – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll question and challenge all-male speaker panels – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll mentor a woman and help her build her networks – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll fly the flag for women amongst family and friends – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll listen more openly to everyone, all genders – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll notice gender representation on boards of directors – #EachforEqual

Alternatively, audiences can write a specific BELIEF that they can hold that will help them maintain a “gender equal mindset” and live their personal commitment.

Here are some examples you can provide to stimulate thoughts:

  • I’ll reflect on how fair and equal my actions and comments are – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll value women’s contributions and achievements more – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll be aware of bias and question assumptions I make about women – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll keep an open mind about equality and inclusion – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll notice and question when women are not present or equal – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll respect and embrace difference – #EachforEqual
  • I’ll reflect more on how my actions are perceived – #EachforEqual

Workforce participation

  • Women comprise 47.2% of all employed persons in Australia; 25.8% of all employed persons are women working full-time, and 21.4% are working part-time [1].
  • Women constitute 37.9% of all full-time employees and 67.2% of all part-time employees [2].

The February 2020 ABS dataset represents the period before the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic. 

Economic security

  • The full-time average weekly ordinary earnings[6] for women are 13.4% less than for men [7].
  • The adult full-time average hourly ordinary time cash earnings[9] for non-managerial women are 11.4% less than for non-managerial men [10].
  • The median undergraduate starting salaries for women are 2.5% less than for men. This gap widens 13.0% for postgraduate (coursework) graduates [11].

Educational attainment

  • Of all women aged 20-24, 92.5% have attained year 12 qualifications or above, compared to 87.5% of men in the same age bracket [14]. Of all women aged 25-29, 48.3% have achieved a bachelor degree or above, compared to 36.1% of similarly-aged men [15].
  • Women represent 58.7% of domestic students enrolled in universities or other institutions. This has risen from 57.6% in 2007 ([16].

Women in leadership

Latest results from the Agency’s 2019-20 dataset show:

  • Women hold 14.6% of chair positions and 28.1% of directorships [18], and represent 18.3% of CEOs and 32.5% of key management personnel [19].
  • 30.2% of boards and governing bodies have no female directors [20]. By contrast, only 0.4% had no male directors [21].

Gender discrimination is encoded into law in countries across the globe. These are just a few examples:

  • 113 countries do not have laws to ensure equal pay for equal work among men and women
  • 104 countries make certain jobs off-limits for women.
  • 39 countries have laws that mean a daughter cannot inherit the same proportion of assets as a son.
  • 36 countries limit what wives can inherit from their husbands;
  • 29 countries restrict the hours women can work;
  • 18 countries allow men to prohibit their wives from working;
  • 17 countries limit when and how women can travel outside the home.

It is these antiquated laws that are holding women back from empowerment.