International Women's Day

International Women's Day, celebrated annually across the globe on 8 March, is dedicated to promoting action for gender equality and honouring women's achievements. 

How can I join in? 

For 2021, you are invited to join in the global social media campaign and participate in a range of online events organised by staff and students from across the Heriot-Watt community.

Social media campaign

This year’s theme #ChoosetoChallenge invites us to take a personal role in helping forge a gender equal world for all women, recognising women's different lived experiences. 

You can share your commitment to gender equality on social media using the hashtags #ChooseToChallenge and #HWUEquality

For example you might choose to:

  • Champion undergraduate women by supporting, encouraging or mentoring and by becoming an active champion over the rest of the 2021. 
  • Challenge everyday sexism. For this you can use the hashtag #StandUpStepIn alongside #ChoosetoChallenge and #HWUEquality
  • Celebrate Heriot-Watt women staff and students by recognising sporting, academic, leadership and other achievements over 2021.

Online events

All events are free to attend and open to people of all genders unless otherwise stated.

A BSL interpretation service is available for British Sign Language users attending HWU events - please contact

Tackling the workforce gender gap,  5 March, 11:00-12:00

This panel discussion, will look at the critical area of tackling the workforce gender gap. The issue of gender inequality across many sectors, particularly STEM, is well known. This webinar will look at how employers can tackle this issue, and how it is now even more important than ever.

Register for 'Tackling the workforce gender gap' on Eventbrite

Organised by Heriot-Watt Graduate Apprenticeships Team in collaboration with Equate Scotland and Skills Development Scotland.

Watt Women Society welcomes Donna Kennedy, 8 March at 18:00

Donna Kennedy is currently the Regional Director for Vets Now. But she is most widely known for her time on the Scotland Women’s Rugby team. Donna Kennedy (former Scottish Rugby Player) joins Watt Women Society to discuss her life, career and how health & wellbeing has impacted her life.

Register for 'Watt Women Society welcomes Donna Kennedy' on Eventbrite

Open event organised by the Watt Women Society. See their website for details of other events for female STEM students include yoga, baking and a debate on imposter syndrome.

Women in Data Science (WiDS) UAE, 8 March and 20 March

WiDS UAE 2021 is an independent event organized to coincide with the annual Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference held at Stanford University and an estimated 150+ locations worldwide.

The conference aims to inspire and educate data scientists and to support women in the field. It will feature outstanding women in the UAE undertaking cutting-edge work in this field, provide an opportunity to hear about the latest data science-related research and applications in several domains, and provide a forum for networking.

Register for 'Women in Data Science (WiDS) UAE' on IBM Community

Organised by Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) and Heriot-Watt University Dubai. 

How the Annual Fund and Mary Burton Fund can support female STEM students and broader equality at HWU, 9 March, 12:15 – 13:15

The Heriot-Watt Annual Fund and the Mary Burton Fund are two potential sources of funding to support women students at Heriot-Watt with their extra-curricular activities and career development.  

The Mary Burton Fund supports women students in STEM specifically; the Annual Fund has a broader remit and is open to all students.

Join us to find out more about how these funds can support female STEM students and broader equality projects, and how to apply.  
With Eve MacDonald from the Heriot-Watt University Alumni and Development Team.

Register for 'How the Annual Fund and Mary Burton Fund can support female STEM students' on Eventbrite.

Organised by Heriot-Watt Alumni and Development Team and HWU Athena Swan.

Challenges and celebrations: CMI Women - Scotland, 24 March at 18:30

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. But we need to remember that we are all different and have different experiences and needs at work, and at home. 

Please join for a conversation with three very different women, to address our challenges, celebrate our achievements, and what actions can we take to help ourselves and each other.

Register for 'Challenges and celebrations: CMI Women - Scotland' on Eventbrite

Organised by the Chartered Management Institute. Speakers include Prof Kate Sang, Director of Centre for Research on Employment, Work and the Professions.

Menopause awareness for managers, 26 May and 1 October

A new pilot initiative, we launch this for International Women’s Day. Sessions are later in the year. 

For all people managers, this course will help you to understand how the menopause can affect people in the workplace and how you can support team members going through the menopause.

It will build your confidence so that you can talk to colleagues about the impact of their menopausal symptoms on their mental wellbeing and performance and help them develop coping strategies.

Register for Menopause awareness for managers on 26 May 13:00-15:00

Register for Menopause awareness for managers on 1 October 09:30-11:30

Organised by Heriot-Watt Professional and Organisational Development Team.