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How to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 in Canberra

On 8 March every year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world and here, in Canberra.

The day of reflection and action is considered a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

There are a great variety of women-centred events planned around Canberra in coming weeks, from business breakfasts through to art exhibitions.

The list below is arranged by date. Some events are free, others are ticketed, and registration is required in most instances due to COVID-19.

This article was originally published mid-February. It was updated 19 March to include more events.

Business Chicks Canberra IWD with Julia Gillard

Friends, colleagues and clients will share a morning with former prime minister Julia Gillard.

When: Tuesday 16 February 7-9am

Where: QT Canberra

Cost: Ticket prices start at $125

Full details online.

Know My Name Lineages Talk with Elspeth Pitt

Hear from exhibition co-curator Elspeth Pitt as she explores connections between Australian women artists depicted in Know my Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to now.

When: Thursday 25 February 12.45-1.30pm

Where: National Gallery of Australia

Cost: Free with bookings

Full details online.

Canberra Multicultural Women’s Forum in conversation with Jan Fran

Jan Fran is a Walkley-award winning journalist and TV presenter. She will discuss her experience in Australian media and her approach to advocacy as a person of colour from a multicultural background.

When: Saturday 27 February 9-11am

Where: QT Canberra

Cost: $30

Further info online.

Women in Information and Communications ACT IWD Breakfast

The topic for this breakfast is #ChooseToChallenge. Speakers will discuss how they have challenged themselves, stereotypes and “norms” on their career journey.

When: Wednesday 3 March 7.30-9am

Where: Pialligo Estate

Cost: Ticket prices start at $55

Further info online.

IWD Networking Event with Elizabeth Broderick

Women in Media Canberra presents Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s longest-serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015) and current Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls.

When: Thursday 4 March 6.30-8.30pm

Where: National Press Club of Australia

Cost: $49

Full details online.

UN Women Canberra IWD Lunch 2021

The official UN Women theme for IWD 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” Speakers will include 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame, Australian Indigenous Governance Institute CEO Michelle Deshong, and Ambassador for Gender Equality Julie-Ann Guivarra.

When: Friday 5 March 12.15-2.45pm

Where: Exhibition Hall, National Convention Centre

Cost: Prices vary, starting at $109. Tickets to attend online rather than in-person are also available.

Full details at UNWomen.org.au

#ChooseToChallenge Panel Discussion by Christine Marr

Featuring Bookssorted Group CEO Christine Marr, Alyawarre woman and advocate Pat Anderson AO, stylist Rosie McKay and facilitated by Sheena Ireland.

When: Friday 5 March, 7.00-8.30am

Where: QT, London Circuit

Cost: $75, with proceeds donated to Lifeline Canberra

Full details online.

Canberra Outlet presents Inspire with Samantha Wills

Canberra Outlet in partnership with The Cbrwoman will host its second annual Inspire event, a day of activities and talks touching on mindset, mental health, business, branding, fitness and food. The keynote will be delivered by writer and creative director Samantha Wills. Tickets include morning tea, a taco lunch from local restaurant TERRA, drinks, and a premium goodie bag.

When: Friday 5 March, 9.30am-3.30pm

Where: The Social Club, Kingston

Cost: $100

Full details on the event page.

I Am Strong Artist Talk: Angharad Dean and Tara Cheyne MLA

Minister for the Arts and for Human Rights, Tara Cheyne, will speak at M16 Artspace followed by exhibiting artist Angharad Dean. Dean’s nude portraiture calls for a halt to exploitation, violence, and the idea that the ideal female body is young and slim. “With age comes wisdom, strength and a supple round body,” Dean says.

When: Monday, 8 March, 11am – 12pm

Where: M16 Artspace, Griffith

Cost: Free

Register and read the full details on the event page.

Canberra Women in Business 31 day celebration of women

Canberra Women in Business (CWB) aims to promote women across the community throughout March as women across the world come together for International Women’s Day. CWB will highlight a different woman in the community each day in March and members who would like to participate are asked to get in touch.

The first CWB IWD event is a discussion between Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson and CWB President Sheena Ireland, about mental health support for women in business.

When: Tuesday 9 March, 5.30-7pm

Where: Online via Zoom

Cost: $26 (the cost of a life-changing call) with proceeds going to Lifeline Canberra

Register online.

CWB will end its IWD 2021 campaign with celebratory drinks and a toast to all members. Keep an eye out in March for event details and save the date – 31 March, 5.30pm.

YWCA presents Our Lives, Our Futures: Gender Equality in the Age of COVID-19

Building on a tradition of using this global day to focus on the lives and stories of Canberra women, YWCA Canberra will screen a short documentary and host an expert panel discussion facilitated by Alex Sloane AM, former ABC radio broadcaster.

When: Wednesday 10 March 9.30-10.45am

Where: Kambri Cultural Centre (ANU)

Cost: Free

Further info online at YWCA Canberra.

ANU College of Law Panel: #WomenLead in Law

An all-female alumni panel including Elizabeth Carroll, Melanie Poole and Heather Roberts will discuss what it takes to forge a career in law, and be a leader in a traditionally male-dominated field.

The 45-minute panel discussion will be followed by a 30-minute networking session where a light lunch will be provided. Those who can’t join in-person can tune in via Zoom to watch the event live.

When: Wednesday 10 March 12-1.15pm

Where: Moot Courts, ANU College of Law

Cost: Free and open to the public

Full details on ANU College of Law site.

The Joyful Business Club Breakfast: Women in leadership with Jennifer Wittwer CSM, FAHRI

Author, money coach, podcaster and former diplomat Serina Bird will moderate a chat with Jennifer Wittwer CSM, FAHRI, who served as an officer in the navy for 40 years, including as a gender adviser to NATO operations in Afghanistan. She was also seconded to UN Women in New York as a policy specialist on peacekeeping, sexual exploitation and abuse.

When: Wednesday 10 March, 7-8.30am

Where: Pavilion on Northbourne Hotel

Cost: $38

All the details on the event page.

IWD Breakfast by Canberra and Goulburn Catholic Women’s Taskforce

Light breakfast, tea and coffee provided. Guest speaker Madeleine Banister will talk about her experience at the UN Commission on the Status of Women 2019.

When: Thursday 11 March 7.30-9am

Where: St Vincent Parish Centre, Aranda

Cost: Free, or donation of $20

Full details online.

Women Who Rock for Charity: 12 hours, 11 bands, 3 shows, 3 charities

Save the day, the whole day, to spend with 11 local acts performing Live @ The Polo to raise funds for DVCS, Beryl Women Inc and Karinya House. Featuring performances from The Black Souls, Slagatha Christie, Matriarch and more.

When: Saturday 13 March, 12pm to midnight

Where: The Polish Club, 38 David Street Turner

Cost: $20.95 per show, $18.40 for early birds. If you’d like to attend more than one show contact Nicky at Milestone Entertainment (Canberra) to negotiate a special deal.

Head to the Milestone Entertainment Facebook page for more details and the full line-ups.

‘Alo – You Enlighten Me’: IWD Celebration with buffet lunch

In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 ‘Women in Leadership’, Alo Enlightened Women team is inviting you to join a buffet lunch. Get inspired by discussion and workshop on leadership, enjoy live performances and the grand launch of designer clothing from Sydney and Canberra. Alo aims to uphold and promote gender equality, women’s leadership and empowerment, specifically within the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. 

When: Sunday 14 March 12-4pm

Where: Canberra Rex Hotel Ballroom

Cost: $70 per person due by 1 March

Full details on the event page.

ANU Women’s Alumni Network presents ‘Women Lead’

The late ANU Alumna The Hon. Susan Ryan AO demonstrated that ‘a woman’s place is in the Senate’. Join this ANU Alumni Impact Makers discussion on women in politics and leadership, and hear incredible stories from women who inspire, lead and are committed to making a difference every day.

When: Monday 15 March 12-1pm

Where: Online via Zoom

Cost: Free and open to the public

Full details and registration form online.

Choose to Challenge for International Women’s Day

A challenged world is an alert world. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge at this dinner with special guests.

When: Dinner Thursday March 11 from 6.30

Where: Canberra Labor Club Belconnen

Cost: Tickets are $78 including a three course dinner and entertainment

Full details https://www.laborclub.com.au/dining/international-womens-day/?portfolioCats=20,43,45,44

Well-known Canberran politicians Yvette Berry, Elizabeth Lee and Rachel Stephen-Smith will speak about their journey to leadership at this event supported by Canberra Women In Business (CWB), South Asian Federation ACT (SAFACT), Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) and Social Outcomes Lab (SOULAB).

Attendees will also enjoy a presentation on contemporary Aboriginal painting by First Nations artist Sarah Richards.

When: Saturday 27 March, 2-4.30pm

Where: National Portrait Gallery

Cost: $20 + booking fee

Secure a place by 21 March by visiting the events page to register.

Are you hosting a public International Women’s Day event in Canberra this year? Let us know by emailing [email protected]

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