8th March every year is International Women’s Day.

The theme this year is women’s leadership, so we’re celebrating women leaders we love and sharing ways you can Act for Equal.

But #IWD didn’t originate as a celebration – it came from a place of protest, in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

It’s good to celebrate the achievements we have made in the women’s movement – but it’s even more important that we stay conscious of the road ahead of us and make sure we’re taking action to achieve change.

Ways you can take action this IWD

UN Women is the global organisation working at every level of society to allow women and girls equal access to Safety, Choice and a Voice.

Read on to find out how you can join the UN Women UK community and #ActforEqual in each of these areas this year.


UN Women runs programmes worldwide helping to both support survivors of violence, and prevent it for the future. This has been more important than ever during the pandemic, as reports domestic abuse and sexual exploitation soared due to extended lockdown and financial strain on communities.

Our new data shows that the vast majority of women and girls in the UK have experienced violence and harassment in public spaces. Read more about our Safe Spaces Now project here.

Do you want to make public spaces safer for women and girls?
Join us and UK Parliament on evening of 10th March to help build safer public spaces for women and girls.
Get your free ticket here.

Sign our open letter to Government and corporate leaders demanding that more is done to keep women and girls safe as we build back, and be part of delivering this message to Government, here.


Women deserve to have the choice over the careers they do, be properly supported with equal pay and opportunities in these careers, and have jurisdiction over their own bodies and reproductive rights.

Donate to our worldwide programmes, helping give women valuable career skills allowing them to reach their full potential in leadership roles.

Find out to what extent you’re sharing the load with our unpaid care work calculator, and let us know how you did by tagging us on social media @UNWomenUK.

Sign up as a volunteer with UN Women UK, and learn new skills from the nonprofit and development sector while making a difference to the lives of women and girls worldwide. We’ll be in touch when the right opportunity comes up for you.

A voice

This year, UN Women UK has selected a delegation of 1,000 women and girls from several thousand applications, to attend Commission on the Status of Women, a meeting of Member States and over 700 side events, as official delegates.

In November, we will also be taking a delegation to the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, ensuring women leaders have a seat at the table for discussions of climate resilience and justice.

2021 is your year to have your voice heard. Missed your opportunity to join us? Sign up here to be part of the community, and when our online activism hub launches you’ll be first to have the chance to take part in the discussions and protests for change.

IWD activities

Looking for something to do with your friends and colleagues to mark International Women’s Day?

Join us and UK Parliament for our official online IWD event discussing safer spaces for women on 10th March.

Try our film screening here and discussion questions about how we can get more women in political leadership (optional donation).

Or read more about the state of women’s rights and help educate those around you:

  • Read this summary of the current status of women’s rights
  • Unpack how gender inequality affects women’s everyday lives.
  • Visualize the data on women’s representation across the world.
  • Read this book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, or this book by Melinda Gates.
  • Check out this UN Women report on gender equality in the wake of COVID-19.