IWD 2024: What’s happening

Every feminist’s favourite day of the year is nearly here — International Women’s Day.

Happening on Friday March 8 2024, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a time for people of all genders to gather, protest against gender inequality, celebrate the contribution of women in our community, and rally our strength for the work yet to come. 

Originating in 1910, IWD is synonymous with the feminist movement. The concept came from women’s rights advocate, communist and marxist theorist, Clara Zetkin. As leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, Clara raised the notion at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. Over one hundred representatives from 17 countries unanimously agreed, and so the tradition begun.

Since then, IWD has become a bright point in any feminist’s calendar with events, protests and get-togethers spread way beyond March 8. 

We’ve gathered some key IWD events happening in and around Naarm, Melbourne. From feminist art to music, talks to walking tours, there’s something for everyone. Take a look!


International Women’s Day Rally – End the Silence!
When: Thurs 7 March 2024, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Where: State Library of Victoria, Corner Swanston and LaTrobe Street, Naarm, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
Cost: Free

For too long the patriarchy has tried to silence us. This International Women’s Day we won’t be silent. This International Women’s Day let’s speak out and use our voices for justice, safety, respect and equality for all women. 

Join the IWD rally through Melbourne and demand real action. All women, cis and trans, non-binary and gender diverse folks of all age, size, colour, race, sexuality, identity, religion and culture and allies and comrades are invited to attend the rally.   


Image: Women of Soul

Women of Soul International Women’s Day Show
When: Friday 8 March 2024, 8pm-11pm
Where: Cherry Bar, 68 Little Collins Street Melbourne, VIC 3000
Cost: $27.70

Cherry Bar is thrilled to present Women of Soul — Australia’s premier collective of female songwriters and performers. Witness Melbourne’s own fierce femme ensemble live at Cherry, before they perform at the iconic Byron Blues and Roots Festival in April. Women of Soul bring their powerhouse live show to Cherry, featuring vocalists Chelsea Wilson, Candice Monique, Fem Belling, Carla Troiano, Alzzy and Germaine McCerthy.

For over ten years, Women of Soul have presented original soul music featuring artists such as Mo’Ju, Clairy Browne, Kylie Auldist, Stella Angelico and many more. In 2023 they released their critically acclaimed album ‘Feel Good’. Nominated for the 2024 Australian Music Prize, the album is significant as the first LP in Australia to be entirely composed, performed and produced by an all-female team.

Matriarch IWD Celebration
When: Saturday 9 March 2024, (doors open 5:30pm) 6pm-9pm
Where: Cherry Bar, 68 Little Collins Street Melbourne, VIC 3000
Cost: Full $20 Concession $15 

Matriarch is stoked to be back at Smith’s Alternative to headline their 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) event. With their unique punk/grunge sound and protest songs full of guts, intelligence and humour, Matriarch continues to flip the script for women, especially older women — women have a right to be seen, to be heard and take up a sh*tload of space! Matriarch has played the March4Justice Rally 2021, Greens Election Night 2022, Reclaim the Night 2022 and last year the band toured their latest EP Medusa in NSW and Victoria. They’ve also been blasting the airwaves throughout Australia and landed on Atomic’s Top 100 songs for 2023. Come celebrate International Women’s Day with Matriarch and get a serve of their old and new originals plus a few cheeky covers — it’s going to be HUGE!

Origin of You: Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 and Sui Zhen
When: Tuesday, 26 Mar 2024, 6:30pm – 7:45pm
Where: The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: Full $29 Concession $20

Origin of You by Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 and Becky Sui Zhen is a highly personal musical exploration of lived experiences of migration, motherhood, grief and reconnecting with identity. The album uses three central motifs: 空 (Kōng), or Emptiness; 疼 (Téng), or Pain; 气 (Chi), sometimes known as ‘Energy’ to explore these stories. Live at The Wheeler Centre, Wang and Zhen come together with host Eugenia Lim to talk about their craft, the origins of their collaboration and the importance of storytelling, complete with a mesmerising live performance of their new work.


Image: QVWC

IWD x QVWC Paint Your Feminist Icon Workshop
When: Saturday 9 March 2024 | Session 1. 12pm-2pm | Session 2. 3pm-5pm
Where: Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Cost: $40

QVWC presents Paint your own Feminist Icon at our International Women’s Day painting workshop with renowned artist Camila Paz! Join QVWC for a fun-filled 2 hour workshop painting and celebrating our Feminist heroes. All materials supplied just bring your creative ideas! Limited spots.

IWD Paint & Sip Melbourne
When: Saturday 9 March 2024, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Where: The Smith Prahran, 213 High St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia
Cost: $59 – $119

Join What Were You Wearing (WWYW) for a unique and empowering event that combines artistry, self-expression, and celebration of women. Paint and Sip will take a bold turn this International Women’s Day, as you are invited to channel your inner artist and paint your body on canvas.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a first-time painter, our experienced instructors will guide you through the process, ensuring a supportive and enjoyable atmosphere. There are ticket options to have your body outline redrawn by our artist, or you can opt to draw it yourself.

Profits of this event will be going towards Survivor Healing Groups created by What Were You Wearing. 


IWD & WRAW Fest: Feminist Hall Tour
When: Friday March 08 2024, 12pm-1:30pm
Where: Victorian Trades Hall Council, 54 Victoria St, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia
Cost: Free

For over 150 years, women have been organising in Victoria’s Trades Hall and fighting for equality. Follow the footsteps of union giants like Helen Robertson, Zelda D’Aprano and Gwen Goedecke who inspire the women in the movement to this day at this special International Working Women’s Day Feminist Hall Tour.


Image: Inspiring Girls Australia

Inspiring Girls Australia – International Women’s Day Celebration
Where: The Commons QV, 3 Albert Coates Lane Melbourne, VIC 3000
When: Wednesday 28 February 2024, 6pm – 8pm
Cost: Free

Join Inspiring Girls Australia for a celebration of strength, resilience, and empowerment on International Women’s Day. This inaugural event is not just a celebration, but a powerful gathering to recognise the incredible influence of role models in empowering the next generation of women.

Hear from a interesting lineup of speakers, including accomplished female role models and our Program Development Director, Dr. Tori Miller. Each will share their inspiring stories, experiences, and insights, offering a glimpse into the journey of empowering young girls.

IWD x QVWC Invest in Women – Makes Economic Sense
When: Monday 4 March 2024,  11am – 1pm
Where: Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Cost: $10 

QVWC will host an expert line-up discussing this year’s United Nations IWD theme – Invest in Women! Hosted by well-known journalist Wendy Tuohy, the panel will lead a lively discussion on why it makes economic sense to invest in women, highlighting the key issues women face in achieving economic equity. 

Wendy will be joined by Wil Stracke (Victorian Trades Hall Council), Nadia Mattiazzo (Women with Disabilities Victoria), Emma Dawson (Per Capita) and Jenny Davidson (Council of Single Mothers and their Children) discussing what needs to change to get us closer to world where economic equality exists and why this is so important. The panel discussion will be followed by a light networking lunch. 

International Women’s Day 2024 – Collaborating for Economic Empowerment
When: Monday 4 March 2024,  9:45 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Footscray Community Arts, 45 Moreland St, Footscray VIC 3011, Australia
Cost: Free

The Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council, present Collaborating for Economic Empowerment, an International Women’s Day event. Hear from a panel of inspirational female leaders discussing this year’s theme, ‘Count Her In: Accelerating gender equality through economic empowerment’. 

The event will feature Melinda Davis, COO of Empowered Women in Trades; Aisha Nicolay, Western Bulldogs Community Foundation Board Director, Executive Director at West of Melbourne Economic Alliance (WoMEDA), and Managing Director of Fieri Consulting Pty Ltd; Julia Truong, Founder & Creative Director at JT. Production Management; and Emma Bamblett, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Kinya Lerrk.

Sisterworks International Women’s Day Breakfast
When: Wednesday 6 March 2024, 7:30 am – 9:30 am AEDT
Where: Melbourne Town Hall, 90/130 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Join Sisterworks for an inspiring morning of celebration, empowerment, and connection in support of migrant, refugee, and asylum-seeker women. This event will be a rich discussion on real-world ways to achieve economic empowerment for women, featuring a stellar lineup of speakers and the impactful stories of people who have participated in SisterWorks programs.

This event is a major fundraiser for SisterWorks, with all proceeds helping to provide support to migrant, refugee and asylum-seeker women in becoming economically empowered. Enjoy a delightful sit-down breakfast in the company of like-minded individuals who share a passion for supporting women’s economic empowerment.

Carla Wilshire in conversation with Nyadol Nyuon
When: Wednesday 6 March 2024, 6:30pm
Where: Readings Carlton, Woiwurrung Country, 309 Lygon St, Carlton, Victoria, 3053
Cost: Free, but bookings are essential

To acknowledge International Women’s Day, Readings is pleased to host a discussion between the founding CEO of The Social Policy Group, Carla Wilshire and Australian lawyer and human rights advocate, Nyadol Nyuon. 

In Time to Reboot: Feminism in the Algorithm Age, Carla Wilshire unpacks the uncomfortable parallels between a digital culture we find impossible to resist and the decline of gender equity – questioning whether the digital revolution is killing feminism. The book explores how the algorithms favoured by Big Tech are dramatically recasting our relationships and our personal values, and how AI trained on biassed data is generating a new wave of male privilege. It questions whether the technology that is meant to both guide us today and show us the future is, in fact, pushing women backwards—and if so, look at how we can fix this. 

Ronli Sifris in conversation with Mary Crooks
When: Thursday 7 March 2024, 6:30pm
Where: Readings Hawthorn, Woiwurrung Country, 687 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122
Cost: Free, but bookings are essential

Together with the Victorian Women’s Trust, Readings is delighted to offer you an International Women’s Day discussion between Ronli Sifris, Associate Professor in Monash University’s Faculty of Law and Deputy Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law in conversation with the Executive Director of the Victorian Women’s Trust, Mary Crooks.

The overturning of Roe v Wade sent shockwaves internationally, and Ronli Sifris in Towards Reproductive Justice addresses the impact of this decision on Australians and how they might consider their right to safe, protected and accessible abortions in this country. Sifris frames the right to terminate a pregnancy as a human rights issue and in the book she examines both the legal and policy developments which contribute to the advancement of reproductive rights in Australia and those which detract from this crucial goal.

Change Our Game International Women’s Day 2024
When: Friday 8 March 2024, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm AEDT
Where: Melbourne Town Hall, 90/130 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Note: tickets to the physical event have sold out, virtual tickets are still available 

Presented by Change Our Game, this event will explore the IWD 2024, ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’. Panellists will discuss the importance of investing in women’s sport; economic opportunities for women across the sporting ecosystem; equal pay; corporate investment; athlete endorsements; and media coverage in women’s sports. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Rebecca F. Kuang: Yellowface [In person live stream]
When: Tuesday 12 March 2024, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Where: The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: Full $18 / Concession $13

Investigating diversity, racism and cultural appropriation with the thrilling pace of a Twitter meltdown, Rebecca F. Kuang’s 2023 novel Yellowface has captivated readers across literary and BookTok communities alike. At her only Melbourne event, Kuang will discuss her successful career, plagiarism, privilege, and the state of the publishing industry with host Beverley Wang.

A New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author, Kuang’s previous works include the Poppy War trilogy and the dark academia novel Babel: An Arcane History, both of which garnered rave reviews. Yellowface is her fifth novel. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from a literary trailblazer about why she won’t write in the same genre twice and the overdue conversations she’s ignited in the publishing world. 


Image: Alva Geikie pictured next to the Zelda statue

The Papers of Alva Geikie
A Women’s Liberation Archive, now placed in the State Library of Victoria
When: Thursday 7 March 2024,  4.30pm – 6pm
Where: Victorian Women’s Trust, 137a Queens Parade, Wurundjeri Country, Clifton Hill
Cost: Free
RSVP: 26 Feb — places are limited. Call (03) 9642 0422 or email women@vwt.org.au to reserve your place.

Alva Geikie is one of the last of the feminist activists who began the Women’s Action Committee in 1968, a forerunner of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Melbourne. The State Library has accepted Alva’s vast collection of original documents, photographs, speeches and newsletters, as a significant research and educational archival resource for future generations. Her two volume history The Women’s Action Committee and the Women’s Liberation Movement, Melbourne 1969-1975 comprises the core of the archive and will be celebrated at this promotional launch.


Image: QVWC

IWD x QVWC Banner Making Workshop
When: Wednesday 6 March 2024, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Where Birnbeal, Ground Floor
Cost: $5

Got something to say? Come gather, talk and make friends at QVWC’s International Women’s Day Banner workshop. Make your own protest sign, all materials supplied and kids welcome! Mini signs & colouring sheets supplied. Workshop participants get 15% off at QVWC SHOP on the day. Reserve your spot by 1 March. Use your banners and join the IWD March on Thursday 7 March, 5.30PM leaving from QVWC.


Got an IWD event you’d like to tell us about? Get in touch: allyson@vwt.org.au

The image shows a woman wearing glasses and smiling. She is sitting near a chair outdoors. Why not on the chair? We'll never know.Ally Oliver-Perham

When she’s not managing communications at VWT, you will find Ally cheerfully bouncing on her toddler’s trampoline (with or without said toddler) or sneaking in few pages of a book. With a passion for gender equality, Ally’s interested in meaningful ways we can work together for social good.

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