Canada's Theme: #BecauseOfYou

International Women’s Day is March 8, an opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards achieving gender equality and celebrate the acts of courage and determination by individuals who have played an extraordinary role in advancing gender equality in their communities. The beginnings of International Women's Day (IWD) trace back to the early twentieth century, emerging from the activities of labour movements in North America and Europe and reflecting a growing call for women to participate equally in society.

The first International Women's Day was observed on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. That day, more than one million women and men showed their support by participating in public events. In the years that followed, other countries began to observe and celebrate this day.

The United Nations recognized 1975 as International Women's Year and began celebrating IWD on March 8, later adopting a resolution designating March 8 as International Women's Day.

Today, International Women's Day, a day of unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action, is celebrated in countries around the world.

Join us in celebrating this year’s theme #BecauseOfYou, which pays tribute to the diverse and inspirational gender equality change-makers we know in our own lives.

This International Women’s Day:

  • Tell us about your family members, colleagues, friends, mentors and community leaders who are helping advance gender equality using the hashtag #BecauseOfYou

  • Nominate a trailblazer who inspires you to be featured in the Women of Impact in Canada Gallery
  • Start a conversation with our social media shareables on your networks and channels using the hashtag #BecauseOfYou

  • Follow us on Twitter or Instagram

  • Take part in an International Women's Day event in your community

  • Learn more about the challenges facing women around the world

  • Donate your time to a local, national or international organization that supports women and gender equality

  • Talk with men and boys about their role as advocates and allies for gender equality

Suggested Activities: Celebrating International Women’s Day

Compiled from:

The following is a list of suggestions to help you celebrate International Women’s Day and the week of March 8th. To help ensure success of any organized event or activity with your students, choose something that suits both your audience and your purpose. Almost every idea can be adapted to suit a classroom setting.

  • Discuss with students the history of International Women’s Day and the purpose for celebrating such a special day.
  • Ask that an announcement be made in the school, along with a brief history of the reason for the day.
  • Write a special diary entry celebrating your won achievements as a woman and what contributions you have made to education.
  • Consider your own economic security. Do you know the facts about your family economics?
  • Explore statistical information about women in the workforce with your older students.
  • Have students make posters to display on International Women’s Day.
  • Share the information you learn about it with someone you think does not understand the need for an “International Women’s Day.”
  • Organize a fundraiser and send the proceeds to support a cause related to the Status of Women. For example, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, which is a Canadian volunteer solidarity group committed to raising awareness to the plight of women in Afghanistan (
  • Spread the word about International Women’s Day by sending an email or e-card greeting to friends, family, and colleagues that includes a link to the Status of Women Canada website (
  • Place a special message on your fax cover sheet, your voicemail, your website, your email signature, on your computer screen saver, or on your employees’ pay envelopes.
  • Use the social media shareables produced by Status of Women Canada.
  • Produce and display your own International Women’s Day poster.
  • Show an appropriate video for your audience on issues of concern to women and hold a discussion afterwards. You may even want to have a special guest participate and lead the discussion.
  • Network and exchange information with local community groups that work to promote women’s equality and rights.
  • Hold a discussion on a topic of concern to the women in your workplace or community. Topics could include: Women and the Internet, Women and the Media, Women in Non-traditional Roles, Wage Gap between Women and Men, Stereotyping and Socio-sexual Roles, Women’s Struggles and Challenges, Balancing Work and Family Responsibilities, Career Choices, Education and Training for Women, Women and Sports, Human Rights of Women, Women and Armed Conflict, Women and the Peace Process, Women and Globalization, Violence against Women, Women and Poverty, Women’s Health Issues, Sharing Power and Decision-Making, Feminism, Gender Relations, Women and Science, Women and the Environment, Women and Research, Women and Volunteer Work.
  • Set up an information fair with displays featuring local resources for women.
  • Hold a “brown-bag” lunch and invite women from several generations to share their personal experiences and efforts to achieve women’s equality.
  • Interview women who have made a positive difference for women in your community or globally. Write an article about them for a local paper or newsletter.
  • Present a show, concert, or a play related to women’s struggles for equality and donate the proceeds to a women’s organization.
  • Organize a photo or art exhibit in your local library, the cafeteria at work or school, etc. featuring works created by women. Invite women’s organizations and the general public to attend the activity.
  • Organize a fundraising event for a women’s organization or shelter.
  • Create your own celebration with a March 8th brunch or potluck lunch.
  • Be a role model! Bring your daughter, your niece, or your grand-daughter to your workplace.
  • Ask the students to work on a project about women’s challenges or gender equality. They could write a composition, a poem, a book report, a speech, or do a research paper.
  • Lead a discussion on what students can do in their home, at school or in the community to bring women closer to equality.
  • Launch a photography, video, drawing, poetry or essay contest in your school. Perhaps a local store could offer a prize.

Helpful Resources: Celebrating International Women’s Day

 Click on the image to view in a separate window

Click here to view bios for these individuals

Please contact Pamela Langille, NSTU Staff Liaison for the Status of Women Committee if you have any questions or require additional information at