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International Women’s Day 2018: what’s happening in Canberra

Alexa Sommerville

International Women’s Day is a chance for women across the world (or in this case, Canberra) to gather, celebrate and look to the future. 

So on Thursday 8 March, why head not along to one of these amazing events? There are heaps to choose from, which perfectly suits the 2018 theme of ‘Leave no woman behind’.

Learning to climb trees save lives

Did you know that more boys than girls survived the Boxing Day tsunami simply because girls didn’t know how to climb trees? When women and children are 14 times more likely to die or be injured in the wake of a natural disaster it’s vital that women have a voice in humanitarian and disaster planning and response.

This conversation is part of the global celebrations marking International Women’s Day 2018, when Canberra will be privileged to hear from one of UN Women’s leading crisis prevention and response experts, Hiba Qasas, at the UN Women International Women’s Day lunch on Thursday 8 March.

The lunch discussion aligns with the 2018 International Women’s Day theme to ‘Leave no woman behind.’ Research shows that when women are involved in prevention and crisis response, it leads to better outcomes and lowers risk.

Together with MC Tracey Spicer – well-known as a journalist, author and television presenter – Ms Qasas will discuss the impact of disasters on women and girls, and highlight the important roles that women play in risk reduction, rebuilding, rehabilitation and peace processes.

It’s set to be a robust and entertaining discussion – Tracey Spicer is renowned for the courage of her convictions, her passion for social justice, commitment to equality as well as a wicked sense of humour.

By attending the Canberra International Women’s Day lunch and making a donation, Canberrans can be part of the global acceleration of gender equality and help support UN Women’s work to make sure women are central to planning, response and recovery efforts – which means everyone benefits.

The Canberra UN Women International Women’s Day lunch will be held on Thursday 8 March 11.30am – 2pm at the National Convention Centre.

Ticket sales close today – Friday 23 February. Secure your table or seat at:


Elizabeth Lee. Photographed by Martin Ollman for HerCanberra Magazine.

In the lead up to International Women’s Day 2018 Capital Giving invites you to join for an evening of storytelling by four strong & influential Canberra leading women of multicultural backgrounds. The event will be facilitated by Journalist & Broadcaster Jolene Laverty and will include an interactive Q&A session with our storytellers, champagne, non-alcoholic drinks and nibbles.

Panel members include:

  • Elizabeth Lee – Liberal Member for Kurrajong
  • Anne Martin – Director Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre, ANU
  • Cindy Reese Mitchell – Social Impact Strategist, General Manager The Mill House Social Enterprise Incubator, UC
  • Camille Aniversario – Author INVINCIBLE She, Managing owner PIP & LOU, The Canberra Dessert Designer

Happening Thursday 1 March from 5pm–7.15pm at The Level – Endeavour House, 1 Franklin Street, Griffith. Tickets cost $52.78.

See the website for more information.


ACS is excited to host an International Women’s Day (IWD) breakfast event on 6 March 2018.

At this event, Sarah Polhill (CIO of the Royal Australian Mint) will speak about effective leadership strategies for building culture. And Sarah-Louise MacDonald (Senior Business Architect, Pegasystems) will speak about the opportunities and challenges ahead for women working in technology.

Please join them for an informative and celebratory IWD2018 event.

Happening Tuesday 6 March from 7am–9am at National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes. Tickets $20 for ACS members and $60 for non-members.

See the website for more information.


In 2018, Zelda La Grange, Presidential Aide and executive assistant to the late Nelson Mandela, will at the AHRI International Women’s Day (IWD) breakfast.

La Grange will share her insights from a long career in the male-dominated world of politics.

International Women’s Day continues to be a rallying point for improving the economic, political and social futures of women. Every year, AHRI’s IWD breakfast events bring together HR professionals and business leaders to honour this international celebration of women.

Draw inspiration from La Grange’s personal story while she shares some private and public moments during her time at the side of international statesman, Nelson Mandela, and talks about how this has changed her life.

La Grange was hand-picked by President Mandela to remain in his services beyond retirement. She played an important role in the formation of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and received several awards for her dedication and service to the late Nelson Mandela. She currently serves as the patron for the First for Women Foundation, and is a non-executive director of the non-profit organisation Healing Hands.

Happening Wednesday 7 March from 7.30am–9.45am at QT Canberra, 1 London Circuit, Canberra City. Tickets between $129-$159pp. Registration closes Wednesday 28 February.

See the website for more details.


The UnionsACT Women’s Committee and We Are Union Women Activist Network would like to invite you to an International Women’s Day Movie Night and Panel Discussion event. Listen to a group of powerful and passionate union women discussing the ongoing fight for justice and equality. Among these women will be Kara Keys, National Campaign Coordinator at the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and Jacqui Agius, Senior Industrial Officer at ACT Australian Education Union.

Come along and watch the inspiring film ‘Battle of the Sexes’ which depicts a collective and intersectional feminist fight for equality for women on the tennis court.

Happening Wednesday 7 March from 6.30pm–9pm at Palace Electric Cinema, 2 Phillip Law Street, Acton. Tickets from $29.96-$47.29pp.

See the website for more details.


Come and celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 with YWCA Canberra and Griffin Legal and help us #PressForProgress with the launch YWCA Canberra’s report, Lead the Change: the pathway to gender equality.

One year on from when the ACT historically achieved gender parity in the Legislative Assembly, we look back to reflect on how the ACT government has progressed with gender equality since the formation of the historical 9th legislative assembly. As a Territory that has proven itself as a national leader of inclusivity and diversity, we now ask the question, what will it take for the ACT to really, lead the change in gender equality?

Lead the Change: the pathway to gender equality takes stock of how the ACT is progressing in gender equality and aims to continue the conversation on what it would take for the ACT to embrace the opportunity to lead the way.

Join a conversation with four women leaders from diverse industries and sectors as they trace their own personal leadership journeys, reflecting on the systemic challenges and enabling factors that have brought us to where we are today, and how together we can move forward to continue to progress gender equality in the ACT. After the conversation, there will be time to mingle and enjoy morning tea.

Happening Wednesday 7 March from 10am–12pm at The Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, 180 London Circuit, Canberra City.

Check out the website for more details.


Whether you Wuthered in July 2017 or you plan to in July 2018, this is another opportunity to dance Wuthering Heights – this time to help celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 and launch Liz Lea’s dance show, “RED“.

To participate, you’ll need to learn/refresh the choreography from videos and/or rehearsals and assemble a red costume. As ever, this is a 100% inclusive dance experience – you just need to give the dancing your very best shot and enjoy it.

But remember the big, public main event will be the official, global TMWHDE on 14 July 2018 in Civic Square.

Happening Thursday 8 March from 6pm–7pm at Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon.

See the Facebook event for more information.


Lights up on RED – a new one-woman dance show from award-winning artist Liz Lea.

RED is fearless.

RED is fierce.

RED is powerful.

RED is fraught and is broken, and is still running.

Is she mad? Is she immoral? Is she imagining it? Or simply misbehaving?

RED is an elusive, fractious and fabulous interdisciplinary performance, binging on the bawdy and banishing the banal.

A tale told by one woman with a particular take on the temporal workings of the body, how time passes for us all.  

Happening Thursday 8–11 March from 8pm–9pm at QL2 Theatre, Gorman House Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon. Tickets between $20-$25pp.

See Facebook event for more information.


On Thursday 8 March 2018, join the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian P. Schmidt, and a panel of leading ANU women to discuss Changing the Culture of Gender at ANU. The discussion will be followed by morning tea.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is held annually on 8 March to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Happening Thursday 8 March from 9.30am–11.30am at University House Common Room, 1 Balmain Cresccent, Acton. Free entry. Registration required for the morning tea and/or panel discussion.

See the website for more information.


The Pharmacy Guild – ACT Branch invites you to join them to celebrate the contributions and achievements of the women in our workplaces, partners, mothers, sisters and daughters.

They have secured local Canberran, Caitlin Figueiredo as their guest speaker. Among her many achievements, Caitlin is the youngest member of the United Nation’s Inter-Agency Task Force for Youth Development, a UN gender equality facilitator to 50 youth from 28 countries, and was named Global Change-maker for Gender Equality by Michelle Obama and The White House.

Happening Thursday 8 March from 7pm–10pm at On Red Restaurant, 50 Red Hill Drive, Red Hill Lookout. Tickets cost $90pp.

Check out the website for more details.


UN Women National Committee (NC) Australia hosts Australia’s largest International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations in March each year. IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women. It is also a day to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development.

IWD also provides an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise funds to foster meaningful change into the future.

Happening Thursday 8 March from 11.30am–2pm at National Convention Centre, 31 Constitution Avenue, Canberra City. Tickets cost $81–$98pp.

See the website for more information.


Celebrating International Women’s Day and launching the SI ACT & Monaro Grant – A Better World for Women.

This is the ideal occasion to network with friends and colleagues and be entertained by a panel of International Ambassadors discussing creating A Better World for Women. Business attire. Drinks and canapés provided.

Thursday 8 March from 5.30pm–7pm at University House, 1 Balmain Crescent, Acton. Cost is $51.64pp.

Check out the website for further details.


This International Women’s Day, the Fighting For Justice Foundation are calling on men to stand up and call an end to the culture of sexual abuse, assault, exploitation and commodification.

Hear from therapeutic and legal specialists and a Celebrity Ambassador.

Get along to hear how you can collaborate with them to curb demand and end human trafficking! Learn how to sponsor a participant by donating a scholarship.

Happening Saturday 10 March from 7.30pm–9.30pm at Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen. Tickets cost $65.40pp.

See the website for more information.


Alexa Sommerville

Canberra raised Alexa Sommerville has almost completed her Bachelor of Communication in Journalism degree. After five months on exchange in the UK, Alexa fell in love with solo travel and has mastered the art of daydreaming either about her next getaway or her next meal. She enjoys watching health documentaries, online shopping and old-school film photography, but not as much as she does annoying her mother by using every ingredient in the pantry to bake her latest healthy food obsession. Alexa hopes one day to be writing about traveling, or eating, or writing while she travels and eats. More about the Author

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