How to Celebrate International Women's Day 2023

Words by
Sphere Editors

6th March 2023

International Women's Day on 8th March has become a clarion call to remind us that women and girls around the world still have a fight on their hands when it comes to equality and equity. Here SPHERE highlights events and causes to get behind for this year's IWD, from the Women of the World Festival at The Southbank, to Michelle Obama's new podcast on Audible. 

Above everything else that may be commercialised about International Women's day, the day itself and those around it are dedicated to talks, debates, parties, tours, networking events and career initiatives helping women come together and raise each other up.

Women of the World Festival 
Roxane gay
Roxane Gay is hosting a one-woman show for one night only on Sunday March 12th at 7.30pm

Jude Kelly's WOW festival is the place to be the weekend after International Women's Day, with the Southbank Centre opening its doors to three days of events, talks and fun from 10-12 March. Now in it's 13th year, Kelly's broad-ranging program highlights the might of this event, and there is something for everyone. Whether you want to listen to contemporary jazz, brings the kids for some girl-friendly storytime with Lauren Child and "The Little Matchgirl Strikes Back", talk about sex-positivity with Oloni, or just for laughs with "Off Air" from Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, its all here.

The weekend culminates with a one-woman show from American writer, professor, editor, and social commentator Roxane Gay, the author best-selling essay collection, Bad Feminist. 

Women of the World Festival, March 10-12. 

Bella Freud's Charity T-Shirt
Bella Freud T-shirt
"Women Hold Up Half The Sky" T-shirt, £95, by Bella Freud 20% of sales of the T-shirt will to the Prince's Trust #ChangeAGirlsLife campaign.

For the fourth year running around International Women's Day, Bella Freud have partnered with The Prince’s Trust for their #ChangeAGirlsLife campaign. Taking inspiration from the book 'Feminist Posters, 1974-1990', by the See Red Women's Workshop  Freud has used an image from this book to highlight IWD, shining a light on non-commercial feminist art in the process. “See Red were not about selling a product or even getting over a party-political message," explains Bella.

"They were about something far more complex and far more difficult. They aimed to convey ideas about a transformed society in which relations of gender, race and class would no longer be marked by inequality and subordination.”

Each T-shirt sold in March will help to raise money to help young women in the UK facing enormous challenges to have a much brighter future. 

Bella Freud IWD T-Shirt 

Firebird & Friends Restaurant 
Firebird & Friends
Female-owned restaurant Firebird is marking International Women's Day with a dinner by female chefs to raise money for the UN Women Ukrainian Fund.

On 8th March, Firebird, Soho’s female-owned, open-fire restaurant and natural wine bar will host the inaugural Firebird & Friends. Founders Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina have invited a leading line-up of women in the hospitality industry to join them in hosting a one-off dinner in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Caia’s Head Chef Jessica Donovan, Where The Pancakes Are Founder Patricia Trijbits, Updown Farmhouse’s Sommelier Ruth Leigh and Chef Pippa MacDonald, previously of Angela Harnett's Merchants Tavern, will join Madina and Anna for an intimate evening of small plates paired with natural wines.

Tickets £65 for a four course set menu


Oscar wining costume designer Sandy Powell by Sadie Lee, showing as part of Unadylike at D Contemporary
Unladylike at D Contemporary

In celebration of International Women’s Day, this group exhibition of women artists pursues the idea of the human body as a metaphor for the transcendent female representation in art through sexuality, gender, and the aging body.

Surfacing the complexities of the ever-evolving relationship between body and identity, a series of intimate portraits encourages us to embrace ourselves and discuss taboos. Work featured includes portraits by Sadie Lee of Oscar-winning costume designer and recent recipient of a BAFTAS fellowship, Sandy Powell. Nudes from Celia Mora explore imagery showcasing performative poses where the role of the muse is inverted. 

Unladylike, featuring Abigail Norris, Celia Mora, Sadie Lee and Elizabeth Dimitroff, until 25th March. 
D Contemporary

The Light Podcast with Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
The Light Podcast launches on March 7 in time for International Women's Day 2023

Michelle Obama is surely the de facto International Women's Day voice, and in time for International Women's Day she launches a new podcast on Audible featuring recordings from the tour to promote her latest bestseller, The Light We Carry.

Listen in from March 7th to hear conversations with Ellen DeGeneres, Tyler Perry, Conan O’Brien and Oprah Winfrey exploring themes connected to race, gender, and visibility and the importance of lighting up for others to reveal the richness and potential around us.

Listen now, and sign up to future episodes on Audible.