International Women's Day(IWD) has its roots in the labour movement at the beginning of the 20th century. The first International Women's Day was launched on 8 March 1911 in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkin, Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. International Women's Day was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate women's achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatrical performances, fashion parades and more.

International Women’s Day 2019

The theme for International Women's Day 2019 is #BalanceForBetter, and aims to celebrate women's achievements whilst calling for a more gender-balanced world. IWD is asking people across the world to tweet selfies in the 'balance pose'. 

How to get involved

Throughout the week running up to International Women's Day, get involved and tweet balance pose selfies from your workplaces, staff rooms, classrooms, union meetings and other events. The more creative the better! Get your colleagues involved and remember to include the following hashtags in your tweets: #NEUWomen, #BalanceForBetter, #IWD2019 #sexisminschools.  

Tweet a picture of yourself holding one of these posters to show your support to end #sexisminschools.

IWD poster

TUC Women's Conference is taking place from 6th-8th March, with IWD taking place on the final day. NEU has a delegation attending the event and to discuss key issues affecting women in workplaces in the UK and beyond. Please follow debates on Twitter and get involved - share, comment, debate!

During the week running up to IWD, @NEU_Women will be tweeting about some of the key research and campaigns NEU is involved in around women's equality. We will be focusing on Sexual Harrassment in Schools and how we can take action. Download our report on sexism in schools here.

Resources for Schools and Colleges on International Women's Day

The IWD website has a variety of fantastic classroom resources available to teach about the fight for gender equality. Is IWD being recognised at your workplace? Please get in touch if you are planning any activity to celebrate the day, or if you will be using the resources. Contact if there are activities planned at your workplace. 

Events across UK

Celebrating International Women's Day are taking place across the UK, and a selection are listed below. If your District or local Women's Network is arranging or contributing to an event which is not listed here, please get in touch with us.


Wyldwood Arts presents May

Friday 8 March at 19:30 -  Wallsend Memorial Hall & People's Centre - Travel back to the early 20th Century and uncover a forgotten piece of women's history. Based on a true story, May from Wyldwood Arts has a unique take on the fight for women’s rights.  

International Women's Day Event

Friday 8 March -17:00 - 20:00 in  Hartlepool Borough Hall - Celebrate International Women’s Day with Unison and Hartlepool Borough Council. Open to all, this free event is an opportunity to mark the day and explore gender equality. Please contact Lesley Hamilton on 07525749719 /  for further information.

International Women's Day with the Women's Banner Group

Friday 8 March at 17:00 in Redhills - The historic home of the Durham Miners' Association hosts a special International Women’s Day celebration, featuring guest speaker Emily Thornberry MP, and the premiere of a new film about the Women's Banner Group. 

International Women's Day Event Highlighting Period Poverty

Friday 8 March at 15:00 - 18:00 in Tynemouth Metro Station - North Tyneside Women's Voices are hosting an event to help people find out what period poverty means and how they can be part of the solution. 

North West

International Women's Day Conference - Be Ready, Be Resilient, Be Remarkable! March 1, Chester. Led by the Women Leaders Association (WLA ).

Remembering resistance: a century of women's protest in the North of England, March 2, Salford 2-4pm

The Telling - Vision: the Imagined Testimony of Hildegard von Bingen, March 8, Liverpool 7:30pm

Fylde Coast International Women's Day Festival, March 9, Blackpool - Washington Group and Blackpool 6th Form College

WOMAN ON FIRE - a play about suffragette Edith Rigby, 16th March, The Plaza Theatre, Stockport


TUC Midlands' Women at Work Week

4 March -  TUC meeting with the Bank of England -  This meeting is an opportunity for women activists to meet with the Regional Agent of the Bank of England to discuss the impact of the economy on women workers. This event will take place from 11am until 1pm at the TUC Offices, 47 Summer Lane, Birmingham B19 3TH. To register to attend place contact Michelle Kesterton at

5 March – Visit to House of Commons to meet with the Parliamentary Labour Party - The special meeting with the Midlands Labour Party Parliamentary Party is an opportunity for women workers to meet politicians and give them feedback on issues facing women workers today. The meeting is taking place in the House of Commons from 2pm. To book your place contact Michelle at

7 March- Mary Macarthur Lecture, a performance of the Townsend Theatre Productions, Rouse Ye Women - This year’s Mary Macarthur Lecture is a special performance of Rouse Ye Women the story of Mary Macarthur and the Women Chainmakers which is touring across the country. The event is being held at the Netherton Arts Centre and starts at 7.30pm.  Click here for ticket information or call 0794935910. 

8 March – Calling Time on Women’s Wasted Potential, a tribute to Mary Alys, confirmed speakers include Lilian Greenwood MP, Kate Hudson CWU and Hannah Packam NEU - An opportunity to hear from leading figures in the labour movement on their experiences and how they got them, along with ideas about removing the barriers for women within the labour movement. This event will have refreshments and is free. It will from 6.30pm until 8.30pm with networking opportunities after. The venue will be the Nottingham Mechanics Institute. To register for this event please contact Michelle at

South West 

‘Rouse Ye Women!' play, which is a folk opera portraying the Women Chainmakers’ strike. Tour dates that have been publicised for this are:

Feb 20 - 8.00pm - Dorchester Arts Centre

Feb 21 - 7.30pm - The Plough Arts Centre Great Torrington

Feb 23 - The Lighthouse Poole

Apr 17 - Rondo Theatre Bath


International Women’s Day - A Celebration of Working Women - Saturday 9th March 2019, 11.00am-4.00pm at NEU HQ, Hamilton House

The TUC LESE Women’s Rights Committee are hosting a celebration of working women at Hamilton House the Headquarters of the National Education Union.  The event is FREE but you do need to register.  We welcome both women and men at our events.  Once you have registered yourself please let everyone else know by forwarding this flyer.  If your union group would like to make a donation towards the cost of running the event I can help

Sally Groves author of Trico: A Victory to Remember - a remarkable story of four hundred women and their supporters who, in 1976 went on strike for 21 weeks to win equal pay.

Peggy-Anne Fraser vice-chair TUC LESE Women’s Rights Committee will present a heart-warming, insightful talk on Women of the Windrush Generation

Refreshments on arrival

To book a place, email or telephone 020 7468 1218

More events

Further dates available for other regions can be found here.