Why and how should companies celebrate international women’s day in the office?

International Women’s day is quickly approaching, and this year falls on Sunday the 8th March. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women whilst highlighting the progress that is still required to achieve gender equality. 


The United Nations first celebrated International Women’s Day in 1975. Since then it has grown to be celebrated all over the world. Although society has taken great steps towards gender equality, the day highlights that there is still progress to be made. 

Here are our top 5 tips on how to celebrate international women’s day in the office

  1. Utilise internal and external communications
  2. Organise a celebration for stakeholders 
  3. Hold a dress down/dress in purple day
  4. Charity participation
  5. Say thank you

Why should companies celebrate international women’s day? 

As we wait to find out exactly how Brexit will impact the industry, skill shortages are still a prevalent issue.  What is quickly becoming clearer, is that the answer to post-Brexit success may well lie in employee diversity and inclusion. Ensuring your company has a progressive ethos will help the progression towards a more gender-equal world. 

It’s been well documented that gender diversity brings a whole range of benefits to business and boosted productivity. This however only exists in the context where gender diversity is viewed as normality.

Ultimately, increased diversity will benefit the workplace and wider society. Diversity leads to innovation, improved performance and economic benefits.


1. Internal and external communications

Ensuring your employees and customers/clients are well informed is key. Promoting the support of IWD will build confidence and greater connection between your business and its stakeholders. 

A simple company-wide email can update all employees on the details of the day, and also any initiatives the business is running to do with it. 

Utilise your company's social media to promote your key messages about IWD and the benefits of a gender-diverse workforce. Research into relevant and trending hashtags to ensure that your messages are seen and heard by as many people as possible. It’s not just about jumping on the trend via social, you will need to have some factual and important messaging to share. Perhaps it’s an inspirational case study of a female leader within your business for example. This year’s official theme is #eachforeaqual - look at how this related to your business and its workforce.


2. Organise a celebration for stakeholders

If appropriate and time allows, organise an IWD themed breakfast, lunch, dinner or seminar. You can invite speakers along to discuss the importance of employee diversity, what they’re doing to create a more diverse workplace or perhaps their journey of being a woman in the particular industry they are in. 

These types of networking events/panel discussions can be great for both internal and external stakeholders and can remain low cost if you hold it within your own offices. 


3. Hold a dress down/ dress in purple day

The colour purple is historically used to symbolise the efforts to achieve gender equality, and therefore is used alongside IWD. Encourage your employees to wear as much purple as possible on/around international women’s day. This is a simple way to show your support without being too disruptive to business a usual. Event packs are also available at https://www.internationalwomensday.com/EventPacks


4. Organise a charity participation

There are multiple ways to collect money or goods for charities. You can hold a bake sale, a dress down day as mentioned above, or perhaps you can even offer the opportunity for employees to go off-site and volunteer at women’s refuges or charities surrounding women in need. 

You could simply set up a donation page that links to your chosen charity that employees can donate to. 


5. Say thank you 

Encourage employees to send a simple thank you to those that inspire, encourage or just simply help them on day-to-day tasks. Your company can offer designed e-card templates that are accessible for all employees to send a thank you note to their chosen inspiring female in the business.