International Women's Day

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.  The events, usually breakfasts are a forum

  • 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, the UN Women NZ President and the UN Women NZ Patrons
  • and to enjoy each other’s company and support.

International Women's Day 2019

The 2019 theme for International Women’s Day is Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.

The theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

The achievement of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Based on current trajectories, existing interventions will not suffice to achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman and no girl is left behind.

Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities, yet trends indicate a growing gender digital divide and women are under-represented in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design. It prevents them from developing and influencing gender-responsive innovations to achieve transformative gains for society. From mobile banking to artificial intelligence and the internet of things, it is vital that women’s ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovations that shape our future societies.

Echoing the CSW63 Priority theme, IWD 2019 will look to industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, gender equality activists, and women innovators to examine the ways in which innovation can remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality, encourage investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls. On 8 March 2019, join us as we celebrate a future in which innovation and technology creates unprecedented opportunities for women and girls to play an active role in building more inclusive systems, efficient services and sustainable infrastructure to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and gender equality.

Our 2019 events of which there will be more than 60 across New Zealand and overseas, raise funds for the UN Women Meri Seif bus project in Papua New Guinea.

UN Women NZ publishes guidelines to holding an event, watch this page for more information about the 2019 International Women's Day.  If you are interested in organising an event yourself or have any questions regarding IWD events, please Contact Us.