International Women's Day

2016 IWD

International Women’s Day 2018

Theme: Achieve gender equality and empower rural women and girls. Together we can empower rural women in the Pacific.

The 2018 theme for International Women’s Day is Achieve gender equality and empower rural women and girls. Together we can empower rural women in the Pacific. The United Nations observance on 8 March reflects on how to accelerate the 2030 agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It will equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step it up initiative and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

Step it Up issues the following challenge and commitment:

“We envisage a world where all women and girls have equal opportunities and rights by 2030. Step It Up asks government to make national commitments that will close the gender equality gaps- from laws and policies to national action plans and adequate investment. NOW is the time to Step It Up!”

The Sustainable Development Goals, which apply to developed and developing countries alike, were launched in 2015 and include a specific goal for gender equality recognising that women and girls make up more than half the world’s population and they are on the frontlines of poverty, conflict, climate change, food insecurity and global economic crises. The contribution and leadership of women and girls are central to finding a solution to these issues.

However, Pacific women also offer unique skills and knowledge that can play a huge part in ensuring the overall health and prosperity of their families, communities and nations, essential to the achievement of the sustainable development goals.

At IWD events in 2018, we are raising funds for UN Women projects in Papua New Guinea. See details of the current project we are supporting – Meri Seif Bus (Safe Transport for women) in Port Moresby.

For further information, please contact the International Women's Day Co-ordinator, Barbara Bedeschi-Lewando.


Find a 2018 International Women’s Day event in your region

North Island Northland | Auckland | HamiltonTauranga | Gisborne & Hawkes BayRotorua | TaranakiWhanganuiManawatu | Hutt Valley | Kapiti/Horowhenua DistrictWairarapa | Wellington 

South Island Nelson | Marlborough | Canterbury | Otago | Southland

No event in your region?

If you can't join us in person, join us online.  We will be livestreaming the event!  Perhaps you'd like to host a IWD Breakfast of your own and watch the speeches from Parliament at your event?

UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand and the Zonta Club of Wellington invite you and your group to participate in a very special breakfast to celebrate International Women’s Day, Thursday, 8 March 2018, by participating in a free live streaming event.
The event itself will be held at Parliament, hosted by the Minister for Women, the Honourable Julie-Anne Genter.  The keynote speakers will be the Governor General, the Right Honourable Her Excellency Dame Patsy Reddy, and the Right Honourable Helen Clark, formerly Administrator of the United Nations Fund for Development and Prime Minister of New Zealand, in a conversation with Dr Gill Greer, Chief Executive of the National Council for Women.
Live streaming will commence from 7-9am New Zealand time.  It will be an opportunity for women’s groups and schools around New Zealand and in the Pacific to participate in the event, wherever they may be.
Women’s groups may wish to hold their own International Women’s Day breakfast at the same time, and live stream the parliamentary event, while schools may wish to show the broadcast later, to coincide with school schedules.
We would appreciate it if groups and schools would indicate their interest in participating in the live streaming of this celebratory event by Thursday, 18 February 2018, so that we can advise them of the technical details of how to access the live stream, and provide other information about the event.
For more information please contact Noeline Holt or Sue Kedgley

If you are interested in organising an event yourself or have any questions regarding IWD events, please Contact Us.  

What is International Women’s Day?

In 1975 the UN recognised it as a day dedicated to the rights of women, but its beginnings were long before that.  It was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911, and in some countries was soon established as a public holiday.

In New Zealand, International Women’s Day is UN Women’s special day.  With the help of our affiliated organisations events are held across the country to mark the day. A special effort to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011 saw us co-ordinate approximately 65 events in communities, schools and workplaces.

On a more regular basis, UNIFEM NZ, now UN Women NZ, and our affiliated organisations have since 1993 held between 15 and 30 events, usually breakfasts, where women (and a few men) gather. 

  • to hear from local or national speakers on issues that affect women
  • to celebrate women’s achievements
  • to raise funds for UN Women NZ’s projects for the advancement of women
  • to receive messages from the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Director of UN Women (formerly UNIFEM), the UN Women NZ President and the UN Women NZ Patrons
  • and to enjoy each other’s company and support.

UN Women NZ publishes guidelines to holding an event - you can find them as a PDF document, ready for download, below.