International Women's Day

2016 IWD

International Women’s Day 2017

Theme: Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50:50 by 2030

The 2017 theme for International Women’s Day is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50:50 by 2030. 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.

The national New Zealand focus for 2017 is the theme “Violence against Women: An Equality and Human Rights Violation”.  UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand calls on you to help us eradicate violence against women and help women to achieve lives of equality and human dignity.  This year’s proceedings will go towards the Pacific Regional Ending Violence against Women Facility Fund, also known as the Pacific Regional EVAW Facility Fund is a specialized regional facility to support Pacific Island governments and civil society organisations to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls using a human rights and gender-responsive approach.

The time is right to accelerate work in this area and to Step it Up to end violence against women and girls in the Pacific.

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


Find a 2017 International Women’s Day event in your region

North Island Northland | Auckland | Tauranga | Rotorua | WhanganuiManawatu | Lower Hutt | Kapiti/Horowhenua DistrictWairarapa | Wellington 

South Island Nelson | Marlborough | Canterbury | Otago | Southland

No event in your region?

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.