International Women’s Day 2021

UN Women Australia’s 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) events took place concurrently on Friday 5 March.  Live events were held in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and, for the first time, these were livestreamed to a virtual hub.  We also held our inaugural Day of Giving to mark International Women’s Day on Monday 8 March.

IWD 2021 theme: Women in Leadership
The global UN Women theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 was “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.  Women bear the brunt of problems ranging from poverty to climate change, but they also possess assets and talents to solve them.

This theme celebrated the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future.

Across the globe, women are leading organisations and institutions carrying out effective and inclusive COVID-19 responses, from the highest levels of decision-making through to frontline service delivery. Women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table, and make invaluable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that work better for all.

At our IWD events we shared incredible stories from speakers who inspire, lead and are committed to making a difference every day.   You can view these stories in the videos below. 

Accelerating gender equality
At our IWD events we launched our 10-year gender equality acceleration strategy, Every. Day. Women. with our #WhenWillSheBeRight campaign video.  This is a reminder of the slow rate of progress on gender equality and galvanises action to achieving our mission of 100 years of progress in ten.  You can find out more about this strategy here.

The difference IWD 2021 made for the world’s women and girls
For women across the Pacific, the impacts of COVID-19 have been exacerbated by a halt in tourism and several cyclones that caused widespread damage to property and livelihoods. UN Women’s Markets for Change program works to empower women to become leaders in their workplace and community and improve the safety and operations of local markets that form the backbone of Pacific economies.

UN Women Australia’s 2021 IWD campaign raised $400,000 to advance UN Women’s agenda, including the Markets for Change program, making a real difference in the lives of Pacific women.


Grace Tame 
Australian of the Year 2021 – Event: Sydney

* Trigger Warning – please be aware that this video refers to childhood sexual abuse and trauma which some viewers may find distressing*

Zahra Al Hilaly
Youth Representative for UN Women’s Global Generation Equality Task Force – Event: Perth

Elizabeth Broderick AO
Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls – Event: Sydney

Michelle Deshong
Indigenous Advocate for Gender Equality – Event: Canberra

Dr Kirstin Ferguson
Australian Company Director & Writer – Event: Brisbane

*Trigger warning – please be aware that this video refers to sexual abuse which some viewers may find distressing*

Marion Fulker
CEO Committee for Perth – Event: Perth. The Filling the Pool research report referenced in Marion’s presentation can be found here. 

Julie-Ann Guivarra
Ambassador for Gender Equality – Event: Canberra

Kate Jenkins
Sex Discrimination Commissioner – Event: Melbourne. Publications referenced in Kate’s presentation can be found here.

Isobel Marshall and Eloise Hall
Co-Founders of TABOO – Event: Virtual

Yasmin Poole
Award winning speaker, writer and youth advocate – Event: Sydney

Jamila Rizvi
Author, speaker and equality campaigner – Event: Melbourne

Natasha Stott Despoja AO
Founding Chair of Our Watch and Member of CEDAW

Janelle Weissman
Executive Director of UN Women Australia

Senator Marise Payne
Foreign Minister & Minister for Women


For more photos from our IWD 2021 events, click here



UN Women Australia IWD Media Package

UN Women Australia IWD Factsheet