Media advisory: International Women’s Day 2019

THEME: Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change


Media Inquiries
Oisika Chakrabarti, +1 646 781-4522, oisika.chakrabarti[at]
Sharon Grobeisen,+1 646 781-4753, sharon.grobeisen[at]
Zina Alam, +1 646 781-4783, zina.alam[at]
Maxime Robin, +1 646-781-4833, maxime.robin[at]

On 8 March, UN Women is observing International Women’s Day to celebrate the tireless work of activists who are central to the global push for gender equality and who strive every day to make women’s rights a reality.

This year’s theme, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” is being reflected during UN Women events around the world, along with the official commemoration event held at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York. Participants include UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and other senior UN officials, as well as innovation leaders and gender experts.

Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 63rd  session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”, the theme for International Women’s Day 2019 explores the ways in which innovation can work for gender equality, boost investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build public services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls.

According to UN Women research, these thematic agendas are critical at a time when social innovations have the potential of providing unprecedented solutions to meet the needs of marginalized women and those at the bottom of the pyramid:

  • 740 million women currently make their living in the informal economy with limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity and income security.
  • Women do 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men, with only 41 per cent of the world’s mothers with newborns receiving maternity benefits.
  • One in three women are likely to face violence in their lifetimes, yet public services, urban planning and transport systems are rarely planned with women’s safety and mobility in mind. 

Members of the media are invited to attend or follow the commemoration events below.

UN International Women’s Day 2019 commemoration with UN officials, activists, and artistes

When: 8 March 2019, 10 a.m.-12.30 p.m.
Where: ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, (46th St and 1st Ave), New York

This event is meant to identify innovative solutions led by the UN system and its partners to help advance gender equality and transform women’s lives. Participants include:

  • António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
  • María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President, UN General Assembly
  • Geraldine Byrne Nason, Chair, 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women,
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
  • Venus Ilagan, Secretary-General of Rehabilitation International
  • Ellen Ochoa, Veteran Astronaut and Former Director, Johnson Space Centre
  • Lorraine Twohill, Chief Marketing Officer, Google
  • Elizabeth Hausler, Founder and CEO, Build Change
  • Kiara Nirghin, Student, Scientist and Innovator

As part of a panel discussion on innovation and women’s empowerment, Google is premiering the trailer of a new four-part virtual reality series about women’s rights activists around the world. The four films, produced by Google in collaboration with UN Women, are set to debut on International Women’s Day both online and in a multimedia exhibit at the UN headquarters.

The event also features musical performances by Drew Olivia Tillman, Indira Mahajan, Everett Suttle and Broadway singers.

The UN commemoration event is open to the media, but space is limited. To attend the event, please register. More information here:

[ Please note UN media accreditation is needed to attend all events at the UN headquarters:]

The event will also be webcast live on: and

UN Women’s Launch of the She Innovates Global Programme in partnership with the Global Innovation Coalition for Change

When: 8 March, 1.45 – 5.30 p.m.
Where: The Mezzanine, 55 Broadway, Ground Floor, New York

On International Women's Day, UN Women in partnership with the Global Innovation Coalition for Change, are launching the She Innovates Global Programme. This afternoon event features incredible stories of innovation and impact and shares how you can get involved in the programme.

Participants include, among others:

  • Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
  • Mina Seetharaman, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Creative Officer, The Economist Group
  • Yolande Piazza, CEO, Citi Fintech
  • Wade Davis, former NFL Player, Diversity and Inclusion consultant and UN Women Champion for Innovation
  • Mary Abigail (Abby) Wambach, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup
  • Arielle Gross, Business Lead, Global Business Marketing and Creative, Facebook Inc.

Ring the Bell events at Stock Exchange

When: 7 March, 2-4 p.m.
Where: Nasdaq Market Site, 4 Times Square, New York, and at nearly 70 stock exchange locations around the world

For the fifth consecutive year, stock exchanges around the world are joining UN Women and its partners—IFC, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, UN Global CompactWorld Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs—in celebrating International Women’s Day. By ringing their market opening or closing bell, stock exchanges are aiming to draw attention to the critical role that businesses and markets can play in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. NASDAQ is hosting a closing bell ceremony in support of UN Women and as a proud signatory of the Women’s Empowerment Principles. The market closing bell is being preceded by a 90-minute event with a fireside chat and a panel discussion on innovation and gender equality.

Participants include:

  • Asa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women

Ring the Bell events in other countries can be found here.

For more information, editorial content and assets on International Women’s Day, visit:

UN Women and Media Reception: Celebrating Gender Equality in Media

When: 7 March, 6.30–8:00 p.m.
Where: The Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations, 245 East, 47th Street, on the 44th floor

With unprecedented grassroots movements and campaigns such #MeToo and #TimesUp—along with #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc, #TotalShutDown, among others—UN Women wants to celebrate leading journalists and global media outlets that have been stepping up to tell powerful gender-sensitive stories; ultimately, helping to change the narrative around the real, pervasive issue of sexual harassment, violence and abuse against women and girls whose voices have been silenced, stigmatized and shamed for far too long.

Participants include

  • François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
  • Sami Bougacha, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations a.i.
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
  • Isha Sesay, Founder of W.E. Can Lead, and former CNN International anchor and correspondent is the special co-host.

Photo Exhibition by UN Women: Equality is our goal, access is our right

When: 6 – 27 March
Where: UN Visitors’ Lobby at the United Nations Headquarters

For the first week of the exhibition, from 8-15 March, the exhibition will also host the screening of four Virtual Reality films on women’s rights defenders, Courage to Question, produced by Google in collaboration with UN Women.

Photo Exhibition by UN Women: Deliver equality: It’s our right!

When: 11 – 22 March
Where: 1B Corridor (hallway near CR11 and CR12) at the United Nations Headquarters

Poster series on the key messages of the CSW 63 priority theme produced by UN Women.