Charity sector highlights from International Women’s Day

08 Mar 2018 Voices

Syrie Barnardo

On International Women's Day we have looked at some of the ways charities are marking the day and celebrating all the inspiring women that work for their organisations. Here is a, by no means exhaustive, list of some of the highlights.


This International Women’s Day Women for Women International is celebrating with its campaign #messagetomysister, which aims to make sure that as many women as possible receive a message of support.

It is giving the opportunity to write a message on their website which is then sent to women living under siege or in refugee camps, and the outside world. Women for Women International started with a simple-letter writing campaign to women in these situations.

A case study from Women for Women International on one of its previous campaigns #SheInspiresMe, appears in March's Fundraising Magazine which is out today. To mark International Women's Day, the article has been put in front of the paywall for a limited time. Read it here.



International 'When's International Men's Day?' Day

Comedian Richard Herring is spending today replying to everyone on Twitter who asks when International Men’s Day is (it is 19 November FYI) and directing people to his JustGiving page where he is raising money for the domestic abuse charity refuge.

Writing on his page, he said: “Every International Women's Day, for a few years now I have gone on Twitter to search for people asking, ‘When's International Men's Day?’ to let them know that that is on November 19th. Weirdly most of them only seem to care about this on International Women's Day and when November 19th comes along they do nothing. I think some of them think that there wouldn't be an International Men's Day. But there is one. It's on November 19th.

“I do this so that everyone else can get on with celebrating International Women's Day and using it to raise awareness of the issues that affect women. And trying to achieve equality.”

At the time of publishing, he had raised over £55,000 for the charity.



Spirit of 2012

Funding charity Spirit of 2012 has today announced plans to stage a centenary exhibition in Manchester, birthplace of the suffrage movement, which will celebrate 100 years since some women won the right to vote in the UK.

Called ‘Spirited’, the exhibition will focus on the young social activists that were at the heart of the first-wave movement for change, looking at their role in the fight for female suffrage and the ongoing battle for gender equality over the past century.

Called ‘Spirited’, the exhibition will focus on the young social activists that were at the heart of the first-wave movement for change, looking at their role in the fight for female suffrage and the ongoing battle for gender equality over the past century.


Sightsavers, which aims to prevent avoidable blindness and empowers people with disabilities, is using International Women’s Day to highlight that 55 per cent of the 36 million blind people in the world are women. In a Twitter thread it is showcasing women on the frontline protecting sight and fighting for disability rights.



Remembering Syrie Barnardo

For both International Women's Day and Women's History Month, Barnardo's is remembering the stories of women who had vital roles in supporting vulnerable children, including Syrie Barnardo, wife of Dr Thomas Barnardo.

Although Thomas Barnardo’s vision more than 150 years ago may have been to help all destitute children, his early work focussed mainly on boys. It wasn’t until he married Sara ‘Syrie’ Louise Elmslie that Barnardo’s was able to care properly for the thousands of girls living on the streets or in abject poverty around London’s East End.

Syrie’s involvement in Barnardo’s opened the door for thousands of girls who would otherwise have been forced into begging or prostitution to earn money. 

Other stories the charity is celebarting are those of Margaret McElroy, who set up her own Guide Company to provide opportunities for disabled girls, and Effie Bentham, who established a scheme to get working people to donate 'a farthing a week' direct from the wages, she died aged 97 in 1970, having raised over £7m for Barnardo's.



And more

Brooklands Museum is tweeting the stories of women who worked at Brooklands racecourse during the First World War, which coincided with the end of its Women in Work exhibition.


Girlguiding Scotland has partnered with Women 5050 to “empower the next generation of female leaders in politics and beyond”.

The partnership is also to celebrate 100 years since women got the vote, and the Year of Young People.

They’ve launched a campaign and interactive resource called Citizen Girl, which aims to empower girls to “discover why their voice matters and how they can make a change”; learn more about political processes, representation and equality with fun challenges; and think about how they can be the leaders of tomorrow in areas including politics, business, tech, and the media.



Target Ovarian Cancer is using International Women’s Day, which takes place during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, to encourage women to look out for the symptoms of the disease and help save lives.



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