International Women’s Day is this Wednesday, and many businesses and organisations across South Yorkshire are hosting events to spotlight women in the area and discuss gender-based equality.

The region will be bustling with activity and discussions this week promoting equality and equity.

Across the city, events include a ‘Solidarity Through Song and Dance’ disco by Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund; a ‘Rising Above Gender and Racial Bias’ conference by Black Northern Women; and an ‘International Women’s Day’ panel discussion by In Good Company.

Shane Young, Head of Commercial and Partnerships at, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce said: “Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there. It’s about being included and a sense of belonging.”

Equity, as opposed to equality, recognises that circumstances and other factors mean that not everyone has equal access to opportunities – even if everyone is offered equal opportunities.

Officially created in 1911, International Women’s Day was made as a response to the worldwide suffrage movement of the early-20th century. The date, 8 March was initially used by left-wing movements and countries before being adopted by the global liberal feminist movement in the mid-20th century.

In the 21st century, the day is used to reflect on key issues that impact people who identify as a woman, from reproductive rights to abuse, to workplace sexism. While not a national holiday in the UK, it is marked off as a government-imposed holiday day in some countries and provinces, including Madagascar and the German capital Berlin. 

Various South Yorkshire-based organisations are approaching this year’s theme in different ways. Some are explicitly having conversations about intersectionality and equity, whilst others are encouraging women to speak about their own experiences, so they can think about how these themes impact their lives. 

Doncaster-based organisation My Network For Women is hosting a free event, including talks, stalls, panel discussions, and skills-based networking at Cast Community Theatre at 10am on Wednesday.

The group, which helps connect professional and creative women, is hosting an International Women’s Day special networking event, featuring skill-building workshops and talks. Ideas and skills around natural healing, therapy, creating flowers, and business coaches will be included. 

May King Tsang, Director and Media Contact, from My Network For Women champions and empowers women from the Doncaster area.

She said: “Every year we do an International Women’s Day event. It’s always about helping women, and non-binary people, in various aspects of their business. We want people to be inspired, to learn, and to network. There will be a speaking panel at the end to encourage discussion about networking and what it’s like to take up these professions as women.” 

Ms Tsang will be teaching a workshop about using the concept of ‘FOMO’ in social media marketing. There will be a raffle to raise money for The British Red Cross, to support Syria and Turkey earthquake relief. Prizes include therapy sessions, mentoring sessions, and workshop packages. 

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce is hosting a conversation at the Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham.

Shane Young said the annual International Women’s Day event is a “flagship” occasion in the organisation’s calendar, and each year they learn from the speakers’ tales of lived experience.

There will be poetry as well as talks from Dame Julie Kenny DBE DL, Kelly Wooller from ACW Medical Services, and Claire Louise Dickinson – Director of AESSEA, which are designed to “lobby for accelerated gender parity” and “celebrate women’s achievements”. 

He said: “The speakers have been selected to inspire and motivate attendees in the room. They bring their own unique story and business journey that will inspire our local business community.”

These are just a few of the events going on across the region but there are plenty of others to choose from here, each with its own angle and focus.