How to Create a Meaningful Internal International Women’s Day Campaign

Caitlin Kirwan

Internal Comms & Engagement Expert

15 Feb 2024

Internal IWD.

Fast approaching on March 8, International Women's Day (IWD) is seen as one of the biggest employee engagement days of the year. So what can employers do to ensure their internal IWD communications are truly meaningful and not just lip service?  

Internal campaigns in support of International Women’s Day have become commonplace within organizations, as programs supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging become more formalized.

IWD is a day of collective global activism and celebration that has been taking place since March 1911. It provides a great opportunity for companies to reinforce their commitment to women’s advancement, highlight the impact of key steps being taken, identify further action areas, and celebrate the achievements of female employees.  

However, internal communication and employee engagement professionals must make a conscious effort to ensure their IWD campaign is truly meaningful. Organizations cannot simply jump on the IWD bandwagon by sharing communications and messaging that lack authenticity or purpose.

Content should be valuable, insightful, and reinforced by action.

This blog post explores the theme for IWD 2024 and considers how internal communicators can create meaningful and quality content for their employees.

Let’s dive in!


The theme for IWD 2024 is Inspire Inclusion.

It’s built around the aim of collectively forging a more inclusive world for women by inspiring others to understand and value women’s inclusion.

But research shows that 70% of employees don’t feel included in the workplace, and 40% have turned down a job due to concerns about inclusion. There is still a lot of work to be done, and awareness days, like IWD, help move us all toward a working world where all employees feel included.

You can order your free event pack here containing loads of helpful resources and materials to celebrate IWD within your organization.

What to avoid with your IWD campaign

Let’s start with what not to do.

To put it bluntly, running a communications campaign for International Women’s Day without authenticity or purpose can do more harm than good. Investing large amounts of budget into a video or event that promotes something that isn’t being actively supported by the leadership team can damage employee engagement.

The messaging in your IWD communications needs to be reflective of the actions the organization is taking and the commitments the senior leadership team has made.

While it can still be fun and engaging to decorate your office and encourage employees to wear purple for the day, these kinds of activities need to be supported by educational content that encourages positive cultural change.

Prioritizing entertainment over meaningful and educational content can easily result in employees seeing the organization’s IWD efforts as lip service. It’s important not to lose sight of the overall objectives of International Women’s Day by jumping on the bandwagon of viral poses or themed bake sales.

Creating meaningful content for International Women’s Day

These tips and ideas will help you #InspireInclusion within your organization and celebrate International Women’s Day in a way that really matters.

1. Be clear on your objectives

As leadership expert Simon Sinek advocates, we should always start with why.

Establishing clear objectives for your IWD campaign will help keep you focused and will define what success looks like. Objectives drive tactics, and having this kind of clarity up-front will enable you to be strategic about the campaign.

Are you aiming to increase employee awareness of the organization's resources and policies that support gender balance? Or is the aim to educate employees on societal biases faced by women, that they might not be aware of? Perhaps the campaign will be focused on a new program being launched to help develop more women into leadership positions, or maybe you aim to encourage employees to sign up to volunteer for a women’s charity.

Whatever your objectives for the IWD campaign, defining them early in the process will help you shape your messaging and decide on the best channels to use.

2. Focus on education and awareness

International Women’s Day offers a fantastic opportunity to increase awareness and educate your employees on the importance of gender balance and issues impacting women in the workplace.

Making this a core part of your campaign is a great way to bring meaning and purpose to the communication.

Why not consider –

  • Sharing real-life stories that amplify the voices of women in your organization
  • Organizing workshops or lunch-and-learn sessions that spotlight important topics such as menopause, reproductive rights, and forced marriage
  • Launching a poll or quiz on your employee app to get people talking about women's rights
  • Arranging an IWD All Hands with a CEO Q&A about what actions are being taken to achieve better gender balance within the organization.
3. Invite external expertise

Inviting an external expert to come into your organization to speak as part of your IWD campaign is an engaging way to spark conversation and increase awareness. An impartial external speaker can be a refreshing addition, as they can discuss their areas of expertise and encourage positive change.

They could be a researcher specializing in a particular inclusion-focused topic, the chairperson of a women’s charity, or even the CEO of an organization that has successfully supported an equal balance of men and women in their leadership team.

Consider inviting the guest speaker to join a senior leadership meeting or connect with the CEO ahead of the IWD event to make sure their message lands with the senior decision-makers in the business.

There’s nothing more frustrating than joining a company-wide event with an inspiring speaker and knowing that their message will never get back to your CEO!

4. Promote existing policies and procedures

International Women’s Day presents a great opportunity to promote your existing practices, procedures, and policies that support gender balance and women in the workplace.

It’s not always necessary to launch something new and shiny to have an impact – you’d be surprised how many employees are unaware of the existing supports and benefits available to them.

Remind employees about the commitment the organization has made to supporting women in the workplace, and highlight the things that are already in place but may have been forgotten.

For example, perhaps you launched a new ‘family friendly’ procedure in previous years to encourage shared parental leave or job sharing. Or does the organization offer paid time off for family milestones, such as a child’s first day of school? Maybe the organization launched a new menopause policy last year, or is mid-way through a women in leadership development program.   

You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel, and your IWD campaign can still be impactful without needing a ‘big splash’ by launching something new. Think about ways that you can compile all of these kinds of programs, policies, and supports into a central place within your intranet as part of the campaign.

Roll out your internal IWD campaign on Workvivo

For more guidance and support, our practical guide to inclusive communication at work is a great resource that you can regularly refer back to.

Changing a company’s culture and reframing its commitment to being or becoming an inclusive environment and an equitable workplace won’t happen overnight: these are significant, wide-ranging endeavors that take careful thought, planning, and execution.

Workvivo is designed to create a more connected and inclusive work culture, inspiring connection and building community for all employees across all geographies. Get in touch to find out more about how our technology can help you reach and engage your entire workforce!  

Blog - Create a Meaningful IWD Campaign2.png