International Women’s Day 2023

Cracking the Code: Innovation for a Gender Equal Future

International Women’s Day Toolkit 2023

The International Women’s Day Toolkit 2023 has been created to support organisations and communities in the Loddon Mallee Region to participate in and lead events and activities as part of International Women’s Day – 8 March 2023. It contains some key information about International Women’s Day (IWD) and this year’s theme, some tips for how you and your organisation or community group can be involved, recommended books, films, podcasts and tv shows, and a suite of online campaign resources.

Download the Toolkit HERE.

OR view the toolkit online HERE.

Campaign Resources

Download and utilise the campaign resources, including social media tiles, Zoom backgrounds and email banners developed for the Loddon Mallee region HERE.

About International Women’s Day

Every year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world on the 8th of March. It is a day to recognise how far we’ve come in achieving rights for women, while also highlighting and inspiring the actions needed to continue the work toward a gender equal future. 

The very first International Women’s Day was held in 1911, with marches held in North America and across Europe aimed at gaining better working conditions and voting rights for women.  

International Women’s Day has expanded in prominence and reach over the years. The growing international women’s movement has helped make International Women’s Day a central point for action, to build support for women’s rights and their full participation in the economy, politics, and community. 

International Women’s Day in Australia 

Australia’s first International Women’s Day was held in 1928 in Sydney. Organised by the Militant Women’s Movement, women called for equal pay for equal work, an 8-hour working day, and paid leave. The next year the event spread to Brisbane.  In 1931 annual marches were launched in both Sydney and Melbourne, with both marches continuing to be held today.  

About the Theme
Cracking the Code: Innovation for a Gender Equal Future

UN Women Australia’s International Women’s Day theme for 2023 is ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future’. 

Based on the priority theme for the United Nations 67th Commission on the Status of Women –Cracking the Code highlights the role that innovative ideas, inclusive technologies, and accessible education can play in combatting the discrimination and marginalisation of women across the globe. 

Innovation is a driver of change. By embracing new technologies and championing the unique skills and knowledge of women in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM), we can accelerate our progress towards a gender equal future.  

By ensuring equal access to education for women and girls and creating clear pathways and inclusive workplaces for women in STEM, we can leverage the transformative power of inclusive innovation, so critical to cracking the code to gender equality. 

To learn more about this year’s IWD theme’s application in Australia, view this video discussion between UN Women Australia CEO, Simone Clarke and Belinda Lofts, Senior Director, Data Services Engineering at Optus, where they examine the role innovation can play in accelerating the pace of change towards equality, and the importance of Cracking the Code for women and girls everywhere:

I’ve noticed that there are two themes for IWD. Why is that? 

 Increasingly there has been uncertainty around the annual IWD theme due to the emergence and prominence of a profit-based entity – the first website that will appear when anyone google searches “International Women’s Day. This entity has been created by company Aurora Ventures to “help drive a more female friendly angle to their [clients’] brands”, with Amazon and Avon among their clients.  

It is important we remember that International Women’s Day on 8 March has been marked as Global Day of Observance by the United Nations. The UN Women theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) each year is tied to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) – the largest gathering of activists, governments, philanthropic and corporate stakeholders working to advance gender equality. 

Cracking the Code: Key Messages 

In order to assist in your activities and online campaigns we have listed some simple key messages relating to the United Nations theme Cracking the Code: Innovation for a Gender Equal Future: 

  •  Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are for everybody.
  • In order to innovate for a gender equal future, we need to remove barriers to technology for girls and women.
  • Career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which are notoriously male-dominated fields, are often not considered options for women and girls – not because they don’t want to, but because they’re often not persuaded to.
  • Due to deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs about gender, boys are more often encouraged to engage in science, math, technology and engineering through playing with blocks, cars and trucks and dressing up as superheroes, doctors and astronauts. At the same time, girls are encouraged to do arts and crafts, dress up as princesses and engage in imaginative play with dolls, cooking and caregiving. It is important to provide all children with a diverse range of toys and offer educational opportunities that ensure we are raising all kids equally.
  • Women pursuing careers within fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) continue to face barriers towards success. There is a growing need to highlight these challenges and provide encouragement to women and girls pursuing these career paths.
  • Innovation and technology can play a key role in advancing gender equality in our region and beyond.
  • By ensuring equal access to education for women and girls and creating clear pathways and inclusive workplaces for women in STEM, we can leverage the transformative power of inclusive innovation, so critical to cracking the code to gender equality. 

IWD in 2022
Last year WHLM produced a short film to align with the UN theme: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. 

In this short film we talked to three young women, each living in different parts of the Loddon Mallee region. The aim of this work was to spark discussions about climate change with the young women in our lives – in our homes, workplaces and communities.  

As one of the most pressing issues of our time, more and more young women are engaging in the issues that are going to affect them more than any other previous generation, and more than their peers. Without gender equality today, a sustainable and equal future remains beyond our reach

Why Get Involved in IWD? 

Because we are not there yet.

Although we have come a long way since International Women’s Day was launched in 1911, there is still work to be done to achieve a gender equal future for women and girls in the Loddon Mallee region, in Australia, and across the globe. 

IWD is an important opportunity for us all to celebrate women’s achievements, to educate the general public around the history of the women’s movement, and to mobilise decision makers and communities to address gender inequality. 

Because the rights we have are not secure.

Progress is too often accompanied by setbacks. Sometimes, even once laws and rights are established, they are ignored anyway. For example: 

  • Despite domestic violence laws, public awareness and access to legal protections, Australian men are still killing their partners or former partners at the rate of one a week. 
  • Here in Australia reproductive health access varies by state, with many women and girls having limited or no access to abortion services. Meanwhile, in the United States we saw multiple states overturning this access and placing a complete ban on abortion in 2022. 

Because progress hasn’t been equal. 

While some women feel that they have not encountered disadvantages or systemic barriers to their success, or faced discrimination or harassment due to their gender, this is not the experience of all women. 

Gender inequality impacts people in different ways. The impact of gender inequality on women can be further compounded by other forms of disadvantage and discrimination due to factors such as ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, rurality, social class and sexual orientation. 

Gender equality is achieved when all people, regardless of gender, can access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities as each other. Everyone stands to benefit from gender equality, including women, men and gender diverse people of all ages, abilities, sexual orientation and cultural identities. 

IWD Toolkit
IWD Campaign Resources
About the Theme
Register Your IWD Event
IWD Breakfast – Bendigo
Support Services