Text: Celebrating out VSO Women, Happy International Womans Day

International Women’s Day takes place on the 8th March. A day celebrated around the world, It is a time to reflect, a time to mobilise and a time to act.

The global campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s day is #EmbraceEquity, but what does this mean?

Equality means that each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. However, equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and different resources and opportunities are needed to reach an equal outcome.

Did you know?

Despite being half way to 2030 – the deadline for meeting the SDGs, progress on women’s rights remains painfully slow...


An extra 10 million girls are estimated to be at risk of becoming child brides as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, 200 million girls are still married before the age of 18.


26% of women over the age of 15 have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by a partner at least once in their lifetime.  


Globally, 129 million children are out of school, including 32 million of primary school age.


Only 24% of national representatives, and one third of elected local officials are women.

Inspirational women

Read our blogs celebrating International Women's Day 2023. Hear from some inspiring female volunteers who are changing the world, learn more about the achievements women have made this year and get your next feminist book and film recommendation!

Janefer Boke outside Nyamekongoroto catch-up centre, Migori, southwest Kenya
Paul Wambugu

5 facts about women's rights around the world

While much progress has been made towards creating equality for women, the fight continues. In this blog, we celebrate some key achievements of women around the world and understand how much further we have to go...

Children reading on a step in Tanzania
Steve Scorer

Inspiring books and films to check out this International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a day to commemorate the social, political, and economic achievements of women all around the world. To celebrate, we have compiled a list of five inspiring women-centric films and books that we recommend you check out!

Kenyan youth group
Paul Wambugu/Obscuramedia

5 inspiring female volunteers to celebrate this International Women's Day

On International Women's Day 2023, we want to recognise our female volunteers at VSO and celebrate the power of female volunteerism. Meet five inspiring female volunteers.

What's going on where you are?

Girls at the She Club, a safe space for girls to learn about SRHR
Chosa Mweemba

VSO country activities are taking place around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and the United Nations observance of IWD under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality. The activities celebrate women innovators in technology, address the digital gender gap in widening social and economic inequalities, explore issues of gender-based violence online and address the barriers that vulnerable and marginalized women and girls face in achieving gender equity. 

Find out what’s happening and where

How VSO is promoting equity in our programming:

  • VSO is training community health workers in sign language, so that young women in Rwanda are able to understand how to access sexual and reproductive health services.
  • VSO community volunteers are mentoring girls who are out of school through a “big sisters” model in Nepal.
  • VSO volunteers on the CLARITY project in Tanzania are addressing the challenges that exclude women, youth, and people with disabilities from equally benefiting from local economies.
  • Engaging parents of children with disabilities on their value of their education in Kenya.

We can all #EmbraceEquity

Collective activism is what drives change, and forging gender equity isn’t just for women. Share your #EmbraceEquity pose with us on Twitter and tag @VSO_Intl.

Project Assistant of VSO Tanzania, Lilian Sospeter, embracing equity
Group leaders and community members in Tanzania embrace equity
Youth Engagement Officer (ACTIVE) Lilian Sospeter sharing her Embrace Equity pose at the VSO Tanzania Dar es Salaam office (left). Non-traditional actors (NTAs) and community volunteers in Buhemba village at Mara region (right).
Representatives from the CLARITY project embrace equity
VSO Philippines Project Manager, Jocelyn U, embraces equity
Representative of marginalized groups from the CLARITY project from Lwamgasa village in Geita who are currently facilitating community-led dialogues (left). VSO Philippines Project Manager, Jocelyn U sharing her Embrace Equity pose (right).

A holistic approach to transforming the lives of women

Across our three practice areas - education, health and livelihoods - promoting gender equality is embedded in everything we do. From helping out of school girls return to school, promoting women's independence through supporting female-led businesses, to raising awareness in communities around women's rights - women and girls are essential to VSO's mission to create a fair world for everyone. Hear from three inspiring women, who are transforming perceptions of gender in their communities.

youth health champion Yvonne
Chosa Mweemba

Meet our health champions: Yvonne Katwishi

Meet Yvonne, a health champion who's improving access to sexual and reproductive health for youth in her community, and empowering girls and boys in rural Zambia to make informed decisions about their sexual health.

Nisha in the classroom

Breaking down stereotypes of people with disabilities

15 years old Nisha is a resident of Sakraul, Nepal living with a disability. People in her community used to call her names which hurt her feelings and broke her confidence down. Now she's returned to school and the communities sees that she can do anything. Read her story.

Vy at her juice shop

Migration was not our first choice, but my family have found a way to improve our livelihood at home

Vy Mok, a 56-year-old farmer from Cambodia, attended an agro-processing workshop through VSO's RECOVER project and now she and her daughters are supporting their family through her juice making business.

Life at VSO Julia Lalla-Maharajh

Hear from our new board Chair, Julia Lalla-Maharajh OBE

Julia is a true advocate for women's rights and, in her own words, unapologetically feminist. Her work advocating for the abolishment of female genital cutting is challenging social norms and helping girls and women to reach their full potential, giving them agency and power.

Julia's journey at VSO

How can I help?