International Women’s Day – 8 March

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March each year. This global day connects women around the world and aims to inspire them to achieve their full potential. The day celebrates the collective power of women past, present and future. This page explores library resources looking at women’s issues — now and then.

The 2020 theme is "An equal world is an enabled world".

Christchurch events

All about Women Sunday 8 March 1pm to 3.15pm

Tūranga is going to live screen two speakers from the All about Women event at the Sydney Opera House Sunday 8 March.
1pm to 2pm - The gendered brain - Gina Rippon
2.15pm to 3.15pm The forgotten women of astronomy - Jo Dunkley

Pop in to Auaha Hīhī / Spark Place on He Hononga | Connection, Ground Level, Tūranga.

Enabling gender equality: Diverse Perspectives
Monday 9 March 5.30pm to 7.30pm at Auaha Hīhī Spark Place, Tūranga

This interactive panel event creates space to explore diverse perspectives on gender equality. It brings together a diverse panel of change makers and people of influence in their own spheres to share their perspectives on gender equality - what it means, why it matters, how this can be enabled and what we might also do to scale this.

Karen Farrell, Senior public sector leader and founding member of Southern Government Women's Network
Pat Barwick
, former Black Sticks women’s captain and coach
Zahra Hussaini
, Community leader involved with Uniting Canterbury Women, Canterbury Resilience Foundation and Who is Hussain? Christchurch
Te Ao Marama (Jodi) Apiata
, passionate connector of dots spanning Matauranga Maori, Whanau Maori, Rangatahi, Community

Library resources

Have a look at our list of books we love by and about women.

The following subject headings link to titles about the history of women and their rights:

Christchurch City Libraries also has copies of magazines such as Ms. For more women’s studies and feminist magazines, search Feminism — periodicals.

Cover of Men explain things to me Cover Cover of How to be a woman Cover of Vagenda Cover of What should we tell our daughters? Cover of Everyday sexismCatalogue record for The witches are comingCatalogue record for Shrill

International Women's Day reading and listening


Contemporary Women’s Issues
This resource offers full-text articles that bring together content from mainstream magazines, “grey” literature, and the alternative press — with a focus on the critical issues and events that influence women’s lives in more than 190 countries.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context
This resource offers full-text articles from many perspectives on major contentious social, political, and technological issues. Some topics that particularly affect women are the gender gap, women’s health, and women’s rights.

Internet Gateway listing of sites including women in business, women’s and gender studies and women’s health

Women’s societies and clubs
Local groups for women listed on our community information directory CINCH.

Women and the vote in New Zealand

Kate Sheppard memorial
Kate Sheppard National Memorial. Friday 19 September 2014. Flickr 2014-09-19-IMG_2216

New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world to grant the vote to all adult women. Search the library catalogue for books on suffragists and women’s suffrage.

New Zealand women and the vote
Information on women and suffrage from New Zealand History Online.

Women’s Suffrage Petition
The petition was organised in 1893, and was described by Kate Sheppard as "a monster petition" demanding the right for women to vote. A digital image of the actual petition held at National Archives. Search for the names of women who signed the petition at New Zealand History Online.

Women’s Suffrage Movement
Article from 1966 An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock.

Kate Sheppard

Christchurch’s Kate Sheppard was the leader and main figurehead of the suffragist movement in New Zealand.

Kate Sheppard
Books about Kate Sheppard in our catalogue.

Kate Sheppard and Votes for Women
Information about Kate Sheppard’s life and work.

Over one hundred years of IWD

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Europe in 1911 on 19 March. More than one million men and women attended rallies to campaign for women’s rights and to end discrimination.

The United States already had a National Women’s Day, started in 1909 by the Socialist Party. In 1911 a fire in New York killed more than 140 working women, drawing further attention to poor working conditions and legislation. The pursuit of workers’ rights and the right for women to vote and to hold public office became the focus for International Women’s Day causes.

These days International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women, but recognises the continuing disparity between women’s and men’s income levels, and the need for more women to participate in both political and economic spheres.

The United Nations first celebrated IWD in 1975, during International Women’s Year. IWD is a public holiday in a number of countries, including China and Russia.

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