International Women’s Day (IWD) is held on March 8 every year, celebrating the achievements of women from around the world. The first International Women's Day was held in 1911 with one million people. Now, IWD belongs to all groups, everywhere. This is also a day where we ask ourselves, how can we make a difference and help women achieve their life’s aspirations with an equal voice that is heard with respect, and given an equal opportunity to succeed?

This year’s theme #balanceforbetter calls for action to accelerate gender balance; a necessity for our economies, communities and future generation of women. Let’s see gender-balanced management boards, gender-balanced wealth, gender-balanced governments and gender-balanced students in STEMM disciplines. We are proud of UNSW’s commitment to gender equity, and excited to continue to make a positive difference by job-sharing the Gender Diversity Champion role for 2019 - 2020. We have big plans to ahead. “We really hope to improve the opportunities for all women at UNSW and want to support female colleagues to reach their career aspirations. We are passionate about improving gender equity by broadening opportunities, finding role models and mentors. There is a chance for everyone to thrive in a gender balanced workplace”.


We all have a shared responsibility to help achieve gender equity. Think of March 8 as a moment to have a conversation with your peers or colleagues as to what you can do to in your division, school or faculty to achieve #balanceforbetter. And remember to check out the UNSW events for IWD 2019 and get involved!

Happy International Women’s Day!


Janelle Wheat

UNSW Gender Champion (co-lead)
Deputy Dean and Associate Professor – Education, Faculty of Science

Adrienne Torda

UNSW Gender Champion (co-lead)
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine

#IWD2019


This collective group of students and staff (academics and professional) are challenging the status quo in their own way, making the way for a better balance, better world. We are reminded that anything is possible, in any field, when there is a determination to succeed. We can be leaders, study, have a career, drive change and care for those we love. The Division of Equity Diversity & Inclusion would like to thank everyone who agreed to be part of this video.

[AS SEEN ON THE VIDEO] Nadhirah Daud, Hang Banh, Prof. Sarah Kenderdine, Jane Miller, Associate Prof. Xiaojing Xao, Prof.Veena Sahajwalla, Dr Rosemary Kayes, Prof. Megan Davis, Prof. Emma Johnston, Tara Djokic, Dayna Duncan, Felicity Barnes, Riya Dalal, Rebecca Harcourt, Prof. Michelle Simmons, ADFA cadets, Prof. Susan Thompson, Dr.Mari Kondo.

What UNSW is doing for #balanceforbetter

We are actively committed to advancing gender equity for our students and staff at UNSW.

You Can messages from UNSW students & staff

Professor Eileen Baldry

DVC, Division of Equity Diversity & Inclusion

When we all work together towards gender equity we can change our culture and communities. When women and men partner across class and race divides we can achieve greater equity for all women.

Hang Thi Banh

PhD student in Economics. I did my undergraduate in Vietnam, Masters in Italy, Internship in USA & PhD in Australia.

You can dream big and achieve your dreams, you just need to keep working on your dreams step by step, and welcome failures. When I was a child living in a small rural area in Vietnam, I dreamt of traveling the world. And, I made it!

Felicity Barnes

Head of Student Hub Management, helping students manage their studies

You can make your own career and family goals a priority, no matter how late you start and make your work fit your life. You can help others with less privilege than you to build structures that support the work life balance desires of all women.

Nadhirah Daud

Current FASS/Law student, Chair of Arc, passionate social justice advocate

You Can change the world. Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way and know that even small changes within your local communities can trigger larger societal changes.

Dayna Duncan

Current Bmed/MD IV student, UNSW Medical Society President 2019, passionate advocate for rural health equality

The biggest changes often come from the smallest communities. No matter who you are, as long as you have passionate people around you can make a difference.

Jane Miller

Executive Director, Alumni and Engagement Division of Philanthropy, providing demonstrable value to our 300,000 plus alumni beyond graduation and building philanthropic capacity longer term

I have the privilege of meeting many amazing UNSW women graduates in my role. I am inspired by their courage, resilience and creativity. We profile these outstanding women to show our current students what is achievable. When you give back, you can change lives.

IWD events

Discover what’s on this International Women’s Day at UNSW and get involved.

4 March / 10:00am – 11:30am

Faculty of Art & Social Sciences

Room 119, John Goodsell Building UNSW

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5 March / 10.00am-11:30am

Kindling Girls’ Passion for STEMM

Roundhouse Club Bar

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6 March / 3:15pm – 4:15pm

The Business School

Business School Lounge

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7 March / 10.00am - 11.30am

Women in STEM celebration

AGSM Courtyard, enter via Gate 11 Botany Rd, UNSW Kensington Campus

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7 March / 5.00pm

UNSW Canberra Prize for Best Female Student in Mathematics

Adams Auditorium, UNSW Canberra

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8 March / 8.00am – 9.30am

UNSW International Women’s Day Breakfast

Location: Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia Building

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8 March / 9.30am - 3.00pm

Annual Women in Science Symposium

Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray St, Darling Harbour, Sydney

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8 March / 9.30am - 10.30am

International Women’s Day morning tea - UNSW Canberra @ ADFA SR06

SR06, UNSW Canberra

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8 March / 10:30am

Law Faculty

Staff Common Room, Level 2, UNSW Law School

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8 March / Launch event at 10:30am - 11:30am and then open until 5.00pm

Facing Equality Portrait Project

Red Centre West Wing, Ground Floor Gallery

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8 March / 12.00 – 2.00pm

Faculty of Medicine

Kirby Seminar Room on level 6 Wallace Wurth

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12 March / 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Promoting gender equity in health

Berg Family Foundation Seminar Room, Level 6 Wallace Wurth Building UNSW Kensington Campus

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16 March / 3:00pm

Artist in Conversation

UNSW Galleries, Paddington Campus

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UNSW International Women’s Day Breakfast

UNSW will host a special breakfast event featuring The Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley QC AO. Justice Beazley was recently appointed as the incoming Governor of New South Wales and she will assume the role in May 2019. This honour comes after a distinguished career in the legal profession, having served as a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia and the NSW Court of Appeal, and as the first female President of the Court of Appeals.
This event will be hosted by Professor Eileen Baldry (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity Diversity and Inclusion), and will also feature the recently appointed UNSW Gender Champions Associate Professor Adrienne Torda and Associate Professor Janelle Wheat, and Ruby Leonard (Women's Officer on the 2019 UNSW Student Representative Council). A light breakfast will be served from 8:00am and the event will commence at 8:30am.

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Women in STEM celebration

This special event will be co-hosted by the Women in Engineering, Women in Science and Women in Technology student societies. The brunch will include inspiring addresses from two keynote speakers, including Senator Mehreen Faruqi and UNSW’s talented STEM students. It provides an opportunity to interact with our high-performing students from a range of STEM disciplines.

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Faculty of Medicine

Dr Amanda Henry, Gender Champion on MEDIC, will MC, a panel of diverse women at different career stages from the Medicine Faculty talking about their professional journey and experiences. The panel will feature:

The winner of Medicine’s 2019 Apte Scholarship will be announced at the event

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SPARK: Kindling Girls’ Passion for STEMM

SPARK is an event that will feature female STEMM researchers from the UNSW Faculties of Science, Engineering, and Medicine talking about what makes them passionate about their research in a lightning-style format. This event is funded in part by Women NSW. Note: Priority for in-person attendance will be high-school girls; live streaming will be available to the UNSW and broader community.

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Artist in Conversation

From 15 March - 1 June, UNSW Galleries will be presenting ‘Rhythm Sequence’, the first career survey of Australian artist Gemma Smith. On the opening weekend of the exhibition, learn more about this exhibition in a special in-conversation between the artist and independent writer, curator and broadcaster Julie Ewington. An authority on contemporary Australian art, especially art by women, Ewington’s interests extend from feminism to cosmopolitanism, from installation to jewellery, from museum projects to cultural resistance.

More information
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Facing Equality Portrait Project

The Facing Equality Portrait Project seeks, as part of UNSW’s Grand Challenges program, to challenge our notions of equality by combining photographic portraits with personal reflections from a diverse range of alumni and members of the UNSW community. The exhibition is part of Built Environment’s International Women’s Day celebrations and is open to everyone. The exhibition will relocate to Red Centre West Wing ground floor gallery space and run for an extended period again in April. Entry is free.

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The Business School

Audience: Business School Staff Only
In the lead up to International Women’s Day, the Business School is hosting an afternoon tea networking and panel event. The theme for the event is “You Can…” and two female speakers from the faculty will be sharing their career story while one of the Faculty’s male champions for change will talk about the role men can play in stepping up beside women to build a gender equal world.

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Faculty of Art & Social Sciences

Audience: All welcome
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." (Gloria Steinem)
Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world is key. Join us for a panel discussion on the theme of gender and intersectionality as part of International Women's Day 2019. Moderated by Professor Sue Dodds, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, four outstanding women will speak on their experiences and work in this context. Register now

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Promoting gender equity in health

Audience: All welcome
The Kirby Institute is bringing together a panel of outstanding speakers who continue to create positive health change for women. The seminar will explore how understanding and improving women’s health needs to be a focus for all people working in the health sector.
Speakers include: Julie Hamblin (Lawyer and expert in health law), Hawa Camara (Kirby Institute), B-Ann Echevarria (NSW Refugee Health Service), Eloise Brook (The Gender Centre). All voices are welcome and encouraged to reflect on how achieving equity in the health sector could lead to better health outcomes, for women and society as a whole. RVSP: recpt@kirby.unsw.edu.au by Friday 8 March 2019.

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International Women’s Day morning tea - UNSW Canberra @ ADFA SR06

The morning tea will feature Dr Sue Williamson as special guest speaker and will see the awarding of the Dorothy Greene Prize which recognises outstanding research by women at UNSW Canberra.

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UNSW Canberra Prize for Best Female Student in Mathematics

Parents, teachers and principals will be present for the Best Female Student in Mathematics prize-giving ceremony which coincides with World Maths Day. UNSW Canberra, together with industry partner and prize sponsor, Northrup Grumman, will recognise and celebrate the strength of female students in mathematics by awarding the 2019 UNSW Canberra Prize for Best Female Student in Mathematics.

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Law Faculty

The UNSW Law Society will host a panel discussion on building a gender-balanced world. The panel speakers include:

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Law Faculty

The museum together with the University of New South Wales Faculty of Science will be running their highly successful annual Women in Science Symposium in 2019. The symposium's aim is to encourageh high school aged girls to 'look beyond the lab coats' and see the many varied possibilities available for careers in STEM. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a Young Scientists discussion session and be given exclusive tours through the museum with specially crafted activities.

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Face the facts

Did you know? The Australian Human Rights Commission reported revealing ‘Face the Facts’ which highlight both the significant progress Australian women have made towards a #balance for better and the challenges ahead.