Since 1911, International Women’s Day has celebrated the achievements and strength of women around the world, encouraging creators to come up with their own International Women’s Day event ideas. Events focused on women are a great way to bring colleagues and organizations together to honor the women of the past, present, and future and learn more about the issues women face today.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (on March 8, 2022) is “Break the Bias,” which is inspiring creators to hold events aimed at eradicating gender bias. This bias makes it disproportionately difficult for women to move ahead in the world: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women made up 57.4% of the labor force in 2019, but the median weekly earnings for women were still only 82% of men’s median weekly earnings. This goes to show that the gender pay gap continues to be an issue.
If you’re looking for International Women’s Day celebration ideas, read on for inspiration from other Eventbrite creators. We’ve also put together 10 creative International Women’s Day event ideas as jumping-off points to help you plan an event that celebrates women’s achievements, raises awareness about workplace bias, and takes action for equality. We hope these will motivate you to organize your own amazing functions — on International Women’s Day and beyond.
Nonprofits celebrate International Women’s Day
Environmental issues impact all of society — but women in particular. That’s why The Zonta Club of Glens Falls is focusing its 6th annual International Women’s Day Event on climate change.
“Our focus is to bring an understanding of how women are disproportionately affected by these impacts worldwide,” says Lorraine Abess, President of the Zonta Club of Glens Falls (part of Zonta International, a service organization of professionals in 63 countries). “Studies highlight women’s lack of access to essential resources such as food, water, shelter, and earning potential as a consequence of climate change. Of course, women in third world countries are most affected.”
The Zonta Club knows women are stronger when they work together — so they’re partnering with two other organizations for their event. They’re working alongside the Soroptimists of the Adirondacks, a volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls; and the American Association of University Women, which promotes equality and education for women and girls.
According to Abess, the partnership just made sense. “Our missions align, and International Women’s Day is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness and shine a light on women, our accomplishments, and our continuing struggles.”
The three organizations have put together a panel of environmental experts who will speak on women’s role in the fight against climate change. Abess describes the panelists as “dynamic environmental activists” who she believes can make a difference by challenging the status quo.
All three of the organizers are focused on building community, so the programming isn’t just educational. There’s a strong social component as well, and attendees can learn about membership and participate in fun giveaways. The Zonta Club of Glens Falls has also organized a raffle to raise money for one of the panelist’s organizations, North Country Earth Action, giving motivated attendees a way to get more involved.
Abess says that motivation and increased involvement will be her main markers of the event’s success. “My hope is that everyone leaves inspired with a to-do list of individual actions that will help them become advocates for climate change.”
How you can raise awareness and celebrate women
Ready to start your own to-do list? Celebrate International Women’s Day this year by planning an event that focuses on gender bias or highlights the achievements of women. Here are 10 inspiring ideas and activities to help you get started.
1. Host a Q&A with a group of change-making women
Bring together a group of successful and innovative women to showcase talent and innovation. Look to a variety of industries and start a discussion about the ways gender bias manifests itself in the workplace — particularly in fields that are tough for women to break into.
That’s what Bowens, an Australian retailer specializing in timber and building supplies, is doing this year. They’re hosting their second “Women in Trade” event, which aims to “celebrate women working in construction while encouraging the next generation of women to get involved in traditionally male-dominated trades.”
Follow our tips for finding great speakers to make sure your attendees are excited and engaged as they learn about exciting advancements in their field.
2. Plan a workshop to incite change
According to the UN Refugee Agency, grassroots organizations are important for innovation. Inspire your attendees to get involved in local efforts and organizations that support women.
That’s what social impact entrepreneur Vinna Best did when she the UK-based CURLYTREATS festival in 2013. After she experienced professional bias for wearing her Afro hair naturally, she decided to take a stand and empower other Black women. Over the years, says Best, “The event has developed into an intergenerational safe space where the Black women and young girls can connect, converse, contribute, and collaborate in real life — without judgment.” Best has created new programs that focus on the bias that Black women face in the world and the workplace.
Try some of our fun ideas to spice up your workshop and get people excited about giving back.
3. Host a panel where experts and thought leaders discuss bias
If you’re planning a corporate event, consider having panelists discuss an important topic like gender bias in the workplace — even if it’s not International Women’s Day. Now more than ever, organizations need to have frank conversations about the way bias impacts their employees.
According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2020 report, women, particularly women of color, are more likely to have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis. By exploring these issues year-round, you can contribute to the conversation and inspire your attendees.
4. Highlight intersectionality
As the Zonta Group of Glens Falls’s event highlights, women’s issues overlap with other important issues in the world, like systemic racism and climate change. By focusing on intersectionality — the way in which someone’s different layers of identity affect their experience — you’ll highlight how women’s issues are connected to the fight to increase diversity, drive sustainability, and effect change in our political or corporate systems.
Vinna Best is doing just that. She wants this year’s CURLYTREATS festival to address the discrimination that Black women experience, specifically that of the “angry Black woman” stereotype. “Black women experience discrimination…because of our race, and…our gender — and other intersecting identities. Often, there are subtle, subconscious, and conscious ways where we’re overlooked, underestimated and devalued.”
5. Organize an author reading with women writers
The 2019 VIDA count demonstrates that gender disparities continue to persist in the literary community: only two major literary periodicals published 50% women or more in 2019, and one of those periodicals is now defunct.
Hosting a reading, whether in-person or live-streamed, gives your audience the opportunity to hear great women writers read their latest work. You can also set up a Q&A with the author or pose questions regarding important issues in publishing, such as bias, racism, and representation.
6. Give back to your community
Interested in raising funds for women’s rights through your event? There are many great organizations to support, whether they focus on the growth and development of young girls or actively work on issues that impact women. To give back with a more hands-on approach, research local women’s shelters and volunteer your time or find out what donations they need the most.
Consider hosting a donation drive alongside your event. Many women’s shelters are always looking for essentials like feminine products, deodorant, and shampoo and conditioner. Since so many women have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, host a women’s networking event or job fair offering help with resume writing and preparing for interviews, like the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County is doing with their International Women’s Business Summit & Job Fair.
7. Highlight women in your industry
Get inspired by women who laid the groundwork in your industry. Plan a corporate International Women’s Day event such as a lunch-and-learn where attendees dive into women’s contributions to the field. Incorporate International Women’s Day history to educate attendees about the day itself. Keep it close to home by inviting women in your community or company with executive positions to share their experiences and serve as role models.
Blackhearts & Sparrows, a specialty wine and beer store in Victoria, Australia, knows that women are central to the brewing industry. That’s why they’re hosting a Future Brewer event to launch a West Coast-style IPA made by the brand Coconspirators. The beer, called “The Brewer,” will feature a female brewer on the front of the can in a nod to women’s contributions to the field. According to Blackhearts & Sparrows’ Senior Beer Buyer Cherry Noble, “a portion of the proceeds will go toward a scholarship program through Pink Boots, which helps women receive formal beer training and education.”
8. Put together a showcase or concert featuring works by women
Spotlight creative women’s artistic achievements with a concert, art show, or author reading. Consider different ideas for social events that entertain and highlight women artists. You can even curate the art you’re showcasing according to a theme that fits with your event’s mission or International Women’s Day goals.
If possible, consider weaving in information about the ways women artists have been marginalized due to bias so attendees better understand the importance of uplifting the voices of women.
9. Celebrate the women with a self-care event
Honor the women you see every day by planning a women’s social event with the goal of rest and relaxation. Reach out to spas that have packages for corporate or group events and local yoga and meditation practitioners. Fitness and meditation sessions can often be streamed online, if necessary, and can help your colleagues take a break and claim some quality time for themselves.
The CURLYTREATS festival is focusing on self-care in 2022. “Black women are known to put the needs of everyone else first,” says Best. “There’s an unrealistic expectation for Black women to resilient, independent, self-sacrificing, and have unwavering strength…At the event, the wellness space emphasizes that we matter, too. [It] reminds us to be kind to ourselves and affirms that we are worthy, valuable, and deserving of self-care, too. We are helping Black women explore what it means to relax!”
10. Get children involved in a fun workshop
For family-friendly or school age-appropriate events, keep kids interested with activities aimed at their age group. We have a great guide for marketing events to today’s parents, but once the kids are at the event, they’re the ones you’ll need to wow.
Keep things interactive with a topical game such as Bingo designed around influential women in science or literature, or read books that promote girl power to young children. Give kids the opportunity to talk about what they know about International Women’s Day and the ways they may have experienced gender bias.