International Women’s Day

Events and activities around Asia-Pacific to celebrate the International Women's Day 2018

Date: Thursday, April 5, 2018

International Women’s Day 2018 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.

Throughout Asia-Pacific, UN Women and partners organized series of events to celebrate an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality, safety and justice, recognizing the tireless work of activists who have been central to this global push for gender equality.


International Women's Day 2018 | Afghanistan

Painting Festival

Afghanistan — A painting festival was held in Kabul on 10-11 March to celebrate International Women's day 2018, organized by UN Women in partnership with other UN agencies. Fifty artists, both men and women, from across Afghanistan gathered for the event in Kabul's Bagh-e Babur Garden.

Artists painted portraits of women to reflect their role in and contribution to society. Waheeda from Jozjan Province said her painting shows that women are both strong and beautiful. Mujtaba from Kabul province explained that his painting reflects the dream of a woman who wants to be a police officer and participate in all political and societal processes. Zainab, another artist, wanted to show through her painting that the world belongs also to women. Mursal's painting is about a policewoman standing in salute in front of group of comrades. Her painting conveys the message that women can also defend the country and that it is not enough to rely only on men. Another artist, Arif, says that an educated mother has an educated family.

HeForShe Run 2018 | Indonesia

HeForShe Run

Indonesia — A themed run was held in Indonesia on 4 March 2018 to support the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women, ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March. Participants could opt for a 5-kilometre or a 10-km course, and the event was held by the Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE) and UN Women. Around 5,000 people participated in the fun run, which was opened by Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Cultural Affairs Puan Maharani, and which brought together male and female runners from the general public, civil society, ambassadors and other representatives of several embassies in Indonesia, as well as the private sector. In addition to the run, a competition for the best slogans to support gender equality and HeForShe commitments was held.

"Gender equality benefits both women and men as well as the entire society," said UN Women Representative Sabine Machl. "It requires everyone to take action... Read more

International Conference: Feminism and Policies for Women's Rights

International Conference: Feminism and Policies for Women's Rights

Indonesia — A public lecture on feminist discourse was followed by a panel discussion on gender equality through the lens of international cooperation to mark International Women's Day on 8 March 2018. The event in Jakarta was organized by the Institut Français d'Indonésie, the Embassy of France and UN Women. It brought together 100 people, including students, teachers, civil society members, activists, the media, representatives from UN agencies and international organizations, as well as ambassadors and other embassy representatives. The first part of the event was a public lecture on the history of women's rights and feminism in Indonesia and globally. The lecture featured two guest lecturers, Professor Claire Joubert from Université Paris 8, and Professor Wening Udasmoro from Jakarta's Gadjah Mada University. The second part of the event was a debate on gender equality as an essential ingredient of democracy with the following guest speakers: François Croquette, French Ambassador for Human Rights; Professor Vennetia Danes, Deputy Minister for Women's Rights Protection; and Doctor Ani Soetjipto, Senior Lecturer from the University of Indonesia. It was moderated by Sabine Machl, UN Women Representative in Indonesia. The event aimed to promote discussion on ensuring the fulfilment of women's rights as well as to highlight trends, success stories and the history of women's movement in fighting for gender equality. Read more

IWD Concert | Bangladesh

IWD 2018 Concert in Bangladesh

Bangladesh — A concert geared towards youth as well as general audiences was held on 8 March in Dhaka on the occasion of International Women's Day. The set of the band Chirkut included a song they wrote for the occasion about "Empowered Women for Peaceful Communities".

Flying the kite

Kite Event for IWD: Make a wish & fly

Bangladesh — Refugee women in Bangladesh flew kites adorned with aspirational messages to celebrate International Women's day. The Rohingya women in the camps around Cox's Bazar had earlier made the kites themselves and written demands and wishes on them. Later in the day, they raised their issues, concerns and needs, and placed them on a common charter of demand. The events were co-ordinated through the Inter-Sector Gender in Humanitarian Action Working Group, co-led by UN Women and UNHCR.


Launch of Gender and Disaster Network

Bangladesh — The Bangladesh chapter of the Gender and Disaster Network (GDN) was launched on 11 March by UN Women Bangladesh and the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies (IDMVS) of the University of Dhaka. The GDN is an online platform and a resource hub where members will be able to access and share data on gender and disaster; Bangladesh's is the only GDN chapter within South Asia. The launch was held on the occasion of International Women's Day, which fell on 8 March, upholding the cause of integrating women's empowerment aspects in disaster management.

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality | Bangladesh

Bangladesh — Dhaka Stock Exchange Ltd., together with International Finance Corporation (IFC), UN Women and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Centre jointly organized an event titled Ring the Bell for Gender Equality on 12 March. The event, to mark International Women's Day earlier in the month, called on businesses everywhere to take action to advance women's empowerment and gender equality. Two panel discussions were held, on how to mobilize more women on boards of directors, and on the role of the public sector in promoting women's empowerment in the private sector.

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality | Thailand

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality | Thailand

Thailand — The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) on 8 March signalled its commitment to further promote business practices that give women greater equality and leadership in listed companies. SET President Kesara Manchusree led business leaders in ringing the bell at the opening of the afternoon market trading session as part of the "Ring the Bell for Gender Equality 2018" campaign held by exchanges worldwide. It was the first time the SET had participated in the annual campaign, timed to coincide with International Women's Day. Read more

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality | Pakistan

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality | Pakistan

Pakistan — The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) commemorated International Women's Day 2018 with a "Ring the Bell" ceremony for the second year. On 8 March, PSX gave its floor to three leading gender diversity promoting organizations: UN Women, the World Bank and Women on Board (WOB) Pakistan, to perform the market-opening ceremony. In ringing the bell for gender equality, the Gong Ceremony was held to express solidarity with the cause of promoting the inclusion of women and the mainstreaming of gender equality in the business world. Read more

International Women’s Day 2018 | PNG

International Women's Day at Gerehu Market, Port Moresby

PNG — On March 8, UN Women in partnership with the local government partner, National Capital District Commission (NCDC) celebrated the International Women's Day at Gerehu Market in Port Moresby. The theme for International Women's Day is "Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives". In line with that theme, UN Women celebrated the tremendous efforts of rural and urban activists who are working tirelessly to transform lives and provide front line support in their communities.

International Women's Day 2018 | Thailand

Seminar on the Role of Women in Thailand 4.0

Thailand — Thailand held a seminar titled Women's Roles in Thailand 4.0 in celebration of International Women's Day. The event was held by the Committee on Social, Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, the Disabled and the Underprivileged Affairs of the National Legislative Assembly. It aimed to raise awareness and promote gender equality and the advancement of the role of women in Thailand amid efforts to reform the economy, including labour, known as the Thailand 4.0 initiative. Read more


Dialogue on Gender Equality in the Workplace

Bangladesh — An event centred around women working in the garment industries was held on 13 March. The event was titled Dialogue on Gender Equality in the Workplace: Success and Challenges of Career Advancement and was held by UN Women in collaboration with CARE Bangladesh. The event started with a presentation of the research findings of female garment workers' career advancement challenges. This was followed by another presentation on how factories can create and strengthen mechanisms to build combined skills to help female garment workers advance their careers. A presentation followed on the importance of addressing workplace harassment to ensure career advancement, and on 50/50 women leadership in the ready-made garment sector, followed by another one on bottlenecks for women's career advancement, and relevant policies and actions.

GEPW behind the scene

Power of Comedy to change social norms

Japan — Japanese pop sensation PIKOTARO teamed up with UN Women to create a clip highlighting the links between gender equality on the one hand, and peace and social justice on the other. The star is best known for his quirky video "pen-pineapple apple-pen", or PPAP, that went viral worldwide and especially across Asia. His new clip, released on video, is titled "Gender Equal Peaceful World" and features original lyrics set to the well-known PPAP tune. Gender equality is the focus of Sustainable Development Goal number 5, while SDG 16 addresses peace, justice and strong institutions. Read more

IWD Community-Focused Radio Event | Pakistan

Community-Focused Radio Event

Pakistan — Female Community Radio volunteers in Pakistan were invited to showcase audio and video pieces to mark International Women's Day (IWD) on 8 March. The volunteers had been working for around a year with the project, supported by UN Women and UN Volunteers. The Community Radio project also marked IWD with a focus on the importance of volunteering, and how volunteers - especially women - share the problems and achievements they have experienced at community level. The work of the volunteers was recognized and promoted for further encouragement. Female volunteers also shared their success stories with others. Read more

FCCT Photo Exhibit | Thailand

Photo Exhibition | Women Migrant Workers of South-East Asia

Thailand — Two photographers were commissioned by UN Women as part of a project to raise public awareness of the challenges women migrant workers face, as well as their personal strength. The photographers travelled across Thailand to capture individual stories of resilience and humanity, featuring women from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar as they pick crops, sew garments or clean hotel rooms to secure a better future for themselves and their families.

UN Women is working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other organizations to improve the conditions of women migrant workers, both within the bloc and in other destination countries such as the Middle East. Read more

Asia-Pacific Commemoration of International Women’s Day 2018

Asia-Pacific Commemoration of International Women's Day 2018

Thailand — In commemoration of International Women's Day 2018, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UN Women and the UN RCM Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women held a joint event to discuss the progress made for women's rights, women's empowerment and gender equality under the global theme: "Time is Now: rural and urban activists transforming women's lives". Read more

Referendum outside of Bougainville to main peace

Celebration of Women's Role in PNG Peace

PNG — To mark International Women's Day, executives of Papua New Guinea's National Council for Women along with the Secretary for Department for Peace Agreement and Implementation met on 8 March to reflect on the significant contributions women have played to maintain peace and contribute towards development of Papua New Guinea as young nation.

Kween on the Field

Kween on the Field

Viet Nam — In commemoration of Zero Discrimination Day and International Women's Day, UN Women together with the group "Women make differences" held a Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LBTQ) soccer tournament under the slogan "Kween on the Field" on 10-11 March to raise awareness about a public safe space for women and girls and show support to the LBTQ community.

A photo contest on Rural Women & Sustainable Development

Photo Contest on Rural Women

Viet Nam — In commemoration of International Women's Day 2018, UN Women, with the support of the Embassies of Australia and Canada to Viet Nam, organized a photo contest under the title Rural Women & Sustainable Development, with the aim to recognize rural women's contribution to growth and prosperity of Viet Nam. Read more

Empowering Rural Women for Vietnam's Sustainable Development | Viet Nam

Empowering Rural Women for Vietnam's Sustainable Development

Viet Nam — Stakeholders gathered in Ha Noi to mark International Women's Day on 8 March, for a policy dialogue titled "Empowering Rural Women for Vietnam's Sustainable Development." The event was held by the United Nations in Viet Nam together with Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the Viet Nam National Committee for the Advancement of Women. It provided recommendations and suggestions, in particular on how to promote the active engagement of rural women in decision making, as well as their economic empowerment and their role in improving the response to climate change.

The important role of women in clean agriculture production workshop | Viet Nam

The Important Role of Women in Clean Agriculture

Viet Nam — UN Women and the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development held a workshop on 6 March to highlight the important role of women in clean agriculture production and to discuss difficulties as well as challenges that rural women face when running large-scale agriculture production facilities, and in applying technology.

Solidarity March: #TempuTooOna & #HauBele

Solidarity March #HauBele

Timor-Leste — UN Women and partners organized a solidarity march in Dili to pay homage to female veterans of the struggle for the young nation's independence. The event aimed to correct the previously inadequate recognition of the women's role, and promote women's potential as leaders in the development of the nation. The solidarity march was also to encourage greater gender parity in the Government structure and promote special temporary measures to ensure rights activists of all gender identities receive support to succeed in their roles.

Weaving a better future

Weaving a Better Future

Timor-Leste — A panel discussion and textile exhibition were held to inform future policy and laws with the aim to further recognize women's traditional knowledge and support their economic empowerment. This builds on recommendations made following a UN Women analysis, with key stakeholders, of the potential of the weaving sector to contribute to women's economic empowerment.

Empowering Women: 6th Nepal Human Rights International  Film festival

Human Rights International Film Festival

Nepal — The Sixth Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival (NHRIFF) was held 7-10 March 2018 in Kathmandu. Around 70 selected films from around the globe on human rights issues, especially on gender equality, were screened. Each screening was followed by a discussion with the respective film maker. Read more

Media Interaction, 6 March 2018 | Nepal

Media Interaction

Nepal — A media interaction was organized on 6 March 2018 at the premises of UN Women Nepal to mark International Women's Day 2018. The interaction also intended to strengthen the visibility and position of UN Women as a reliable partner and a thought leader in gender equality and women's empowerment among policy makers as well as rightsholders in Nepal. The media was further engaged to help mobilize awareness and action in challenging the beliefs and social practices that underlie gender inequality in Nepal and to bring about social norm change.

Cambodia Celebrating Women's Strength Festival

Festival: Strength of Cambodian Women!

Cambodia — Cambodian civil society organizations (CSOs) celebrated arts and creativity in a festival under the slogan Strength of Cambodian Women! with kind support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and technical support from UN Women Cambodia.

The CSOs took the opportunity to celebrate women's achievements and engage young women and men in working for gender equality. Through spectacular performances of new Cambodian artists from Siem Reap, and seven TED Talks on issues such as: women in the household and national economy; women in the media; women's bodies: freedom from violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights; engaging men: men sharing responsibility; what can men gain from new gender norms; and beyond binary: LGBT rights. Read more

She Leads India

She Leads India

India — An event in New Delhi celebrated women achievers, women in public life, parliamentarians, chief executives, entrepreneurs and artists who have made a difference in transforming their communities, businesses and other respective fields. The conference included candid discussions about patriarchal structures, the struggles women face in political life, and various barriers that women entrepreneurs come across when setting up businesses. Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Representative of UN Women, was part of the panel titled Women's Voice and the Importance of Collective Action. She spoke about the various kinds of financial abuse meted out to women. Other panellists included: Sheila Dikshit, the longest-serving female Chief Minister in Delhi; comedian Aditi Mittal; Business woman, author and entrepreneur Rashmi Bansal; Owner of the Artists Collective Ihitashri Shandiliya; social entrepreneur Priyanka Raina; and founder of mental health advocacy group MPower Neerja Birla.

Youth Adda on SDGs | India

Youth Adda on SDGs

India — UN Women in collaboration with UNV India, Pravah, ComMutiny, and Restless Development organised a Youth Adda, or discussion platform, on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at Delhi University's School of Social Work. Around 80 youth took part in the Adda, which mainly focused on SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. It also addressed the gender perspective, which is the subject of SDG 5.

3ie Delhi Seminar Series 2018 | India

3ie Delhi Seminar Series 2018

India — UN Women participated in a special seminar on the occasion of International Women's Day (IWD) hosted by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). The seminar was organized in connection with the year's IWD theme: "Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives." Madhulika Singh, Monitoring and Evaluation Analyst from the UN Women Multi-Country Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, presented the impact assessment of the Shaurya Dal: a government-backed programme implemented in the state of Madhya Pradesh from 2015-2017. The seminar was attended by 50 participants mainly representing civil society organizations and academia.

Gender Equality Summit UNGC | India

Gender Equality Meeting Organized by the UN Global Compact

India — UN Women participated in the Gender Equality Summit 2018 titled Gender Equality: A Key Differentiator for Sustainable Growth. Over 250 delegates attended, including a wide range of management executives as well as policy makers, government officials, academics, and non-governmental organizations. A special address was delivered by Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Satyam also launched a gaps analysis tool relating to the Women's Empowerment Principles.

Speed mentoring

Speed Mentoring

Lao PDR — This event was organized by five women ambassadors in Lao PDR, with support from UN Women. The event gathered 20 women leaders as mentors from the government, UN Women, the UN Population Fund UNFPA and the World Food Programme, the private sector, civil society and the international community and 30-40 young Lao women university students and young women at the beginning of their working career. Mentors sat at a table and the young women moved from table to table every 10 minutes to put their questions to them and get to know the experiences of these inspiring women.

Lao Women's Union main IWD event in Vientiane Capital

Lao Women's Union in Vientiane Capital

Lao PDR — The main event in Lao PDR to mark International Women's Day focussed on women's health issues and rural and urban women advocates for promoting women's empowerment. UN Women contributed with financial and technical support, in addition to an information stand with publications from UN Women and the UN Population Fund UNFPA.

IWD celebrations in Savannakhet

IWD Celebrations in Laos PDR

Lao PDR — International Women's Day (IWD) was marked by a two-part event:1) Official IWD event with the Lao Women's Union, where a UN Women representative delivered opening remarks on behalf of the UN; 2) "Human library" event with a focus on the many different themes related to rural women's economic empowerment.

IWD Talk show

IWD Talkshow

Indonesia — A panel was held to mark International Women's Day, titled Inspirational Women Discuss Achievements and Challenges in Promoting and Achieving the Empowerment of Women. Investing in women's empowerment is a direct path towards reaching gender equality. Many women have made enormous contributions to society, through businesses, in technology, as entrepreneurs or employees or by working to empower others. However, despite some progress we still find women's rights and empowerment is far from reality in most countries. Read more

2018 China Women in Leadership Summit

2018 China Women in Leadership Meeting

China — The 2018 China Women in Leadership Summit was held on 6 March ahead of International Women's Day. It was organized by leading recruitment platform, Zhilianzhaopin, UN Women and China Central Television Two, under the theme "Her World, Her Power, More Than This". Former Olympic table tennis champion Deng Yaping and other accomplished professionals from various fields shared their stories, encouraging career women to break gender stereotypes and gender discrimination. A live stream of this event gained more than 22 million views.

Women and Business Forum

Women and Business Forum

China — To celebrate International Women's Day 2018, the Canadian Embassy to China organized an event under the theme "Women and Business" to discuss women's role in business and their status in social economics. Speakers invited to join the discussion included Chief Economist and Vice President of the Conference Board of Canada Glen Hodgson, Country Programme Manager of UN Women China Julie Broussard, Chief Executive of China's leading recruitment platform Zhilianzhaopin Guo Sheng, and other successful professionals. A group of experts shared their work experience and underlined the importance of increasing women's participation in economy development and gender equality.

She Leads, She Empowers

She Leads, She Empowers

China — A Live Salon was held for 2018 International Women's Day. The forum focussed on how to promote leadership for women, and was held by UN Women China and China Radio International. Speakers included: Julie Broussard, Country Programme Manager of UN Women China; Hung Huang, author, blogger, media figure and publisher; Virginia Tan, the co-founder and President of Lean In China; Liu Nan, Chief Executive of shopping portal; and Michael McComb, Vice President Communications of SAP Greater China. They all shared their inspiring stories and gave advice for young people on how to better develop their careers. A live stream of this event gained more than 170,000 views.


New Protocol to Improve Services for Survivors of Gender-based Violence

Fiji — Women and children in Fiji confronted by violence will have improved access to timely and relevant services with the launch of a new Service Delivery Protocol on International Women's Day.Read more

OP-ED International Women's Day

Fiji — Message by Aleta Miller, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office based in Fiji, for International Women's Day.

Notable achievements to close the gap in gender equality in the Pacific include the fact that there are now more girls then ever enrolled in schools and graduating. There are more women running businesses, and women taking up senior professional roles. Another big achievement in recent years was... Read more

Youth, Student Bands Speak Out Against Sexual Violence in Public Spaces

Youth, Student Bands Speak Out Against Sexual Violence in Public Spaces

Philippines — In celebration of the International Women’s Month 2018, student bands from different universities of Metro Manila wrote songs about safe and violence-free public spaces for women and girls. Participating bands wanted to deliver profound messages on sexual harassment.

“All genders at any age can be a victim or harasser but women are more likely to be a victim of sexual harassment,” said MAJesties Band, grand winner of the Battle of the Bands competition. “Intimidating someone sexually even in smallest ways, like wolf-whistling and staring with sexual intents, and invading someone’s personal sexual space can be a form of sexual harassment,” the band added.

Student leaders from De La Salle University, together with the UN Women Safe Cities Metro Manila Programme, also joined in speaking out against sexual harassment and sexual violence in public spaces.

Sweden joints forces with UN Environment and UN Women to build a climate resilient Asia-Pacific

Sweden joints forces with UNEP and UN Women to build a climate resilient Asia-Pacific

Thailand — IThe Government of Sweden is joining forces with UN Women and UN Environment to ensure fulfilment of human rights and gender equality in climate change and disasters risk reduction efforts in line with the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve these ambitious goals, increased technical capacity will be necessary for national governments, CSOs, regional institutions and other stakeholders to meet these commitments and achieve sustainable development.

Enabling women to be a part of climate change and disaster risk reduction actions and become renewable energy entrepreneurs means giving them a key to unlocking a brighter, more climate resilient future. This is true not just for women alone, but also for building resilient communities. Having access to clean energy has a multiplier effect that spills over into livelihoods, health, education and even safety and security of women... Read more

IWD celebration is still ongoing in Lao PDR!

IWD celebration is still ongoing!

Lao PDR — The Lao Disabled Women's Development Centre organized on 31st March an International Women's Day event in collaboration many international and national organizations and UN Women participated with an information booth.

After an official opening the founder and director of LDWDC, Madame Chanhpheng Sivila, disabled talented artists entertained with music and dance performances and a popular petanque competition also took place. The IWD event reached out to the public on the rights of women with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups.