Here's to strong women

Turn up Beyoncé’s Run the World and wear your best power suit this International Women’s Day.

This Friday, 8 March, marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. 

President and co-founder of Lean In Rachel Thomas said the day is also about calling for equality.

"Women are half the population, but we don't hold nearly half the power,” Ms Thomas said.

“In classrooms, boardrooms, labs, assembly halls, newsrooms, and living rooms, women still have to fight for equality - because systemic barriers, including gender bias, continue to stand in our way.”

Here’s what you need to know about International Women’s Day.

When was the first IWD?

The first IWD gathering was held in 1911 and was supported by more than a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland who took to the streets to demand the right to vote and hold public office.

Prior to this, the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes and other groups campaigned for women's equality on a national level.

Why do we celebrate IWD on 8 March?

When women in Soviet Russia gained the right to vote on 8 March 1917, the day became a national Russian holiday. 

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member sates to recognise March 8 as the United Nations Day for women’s rights and world peace.

What’s the theme for IWD 2019?

This year’s theme is Balance For Better, which recognises that gender balance is essential for economies, business and communities to thrive.

Is there an International Men’s Day?

International Men’s Day (IMD) is celebrated on 19 November. However, as men hold a position of privilege in society, it doesn’t receive as much media coverage or recognition as IWD.

The objective of IMD is to focus on men’s health, improve gender relations and highlight positive male role models.

How can I get involved in IWD?

  • Take the Pledge for Parity to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, challenge bias and value men and women’s contributions equally.
  • Attend an IWD event in your community.
  • Host an IWD morning tea at your workplace.
  • Join the #Balanceforbetter social media campaign.

Fearless, energetic and unconventional – learn how RACQ Bank CEO Michelle Bagnall is smashing glass ceilings and executive stereotypes in Episode 12 of the Your shout podcast.