Illustration of diverse women marching for international women's day

Illustrations By Louise Reimer

10 Toronto and GTA events for International Women’s Day

IWD ’18 is here! Check out these 10 local activities to help you celebrate

Women are always at the front of revolutions.” That’s Buthayna Kamel, Egypt’s first female presidential candidate, dropping straight wisdom about who’s really getting things done when it comes to social justice—and she’s right. No matter what point in history, where you are in the world or whether the revolution in question is low-key and quiet or bold and kick-ass, women have led the way. That’s what we’re commemorating on International Women’s Day. Here are 10 awesome local activities to help you figure out how you should celebrate this year. Illustration of women celebrating international women's day

Women’s Night (FREE!)

The babes behind feminist film and panel series Bechdel Tested have teamed up with Toronto’s Swan Dive bar to put together a night of feminist fun in celebration of IWD. Women’s Night features special cocktails (with alcohol and without), women-centric tunes from two awesome DJs and bottomless snacks—with no cover all night! March 8, 9 p.m. Admission is free. Swan Dive, 1631 Dundas St. W., Toronto. 

Treat Yo’ Self 

Revel in self-love at this girl power-focused fair. Hosted by Burger Pawty, a local food brand that hosts women-friendly pop-up events, it’s the perfect place to score one of the brand’s signature pink waffle burgers, check out the Burger Pawty x Mimp Magazine pop-up shop and grab a donut off the donut wall. Oh, and document the evening with a stop at the selfie station, of course. March 8, 7 p.m. $40. Goods & Cargo1485 Dupont St., Toronto. 

FMW International Women’s Day Gala 

The Federation of Muslim Women honours some of their community’s best and brightest at their annual IWD gala. Grab your ticket to join the festivities and celebrate Muslim women across Canada who have made a positive impact in a multitude of ways. March 8, 6:30 p.m. From $50. Verdi Convention Centre, 3550 Derry Rd. E., Mississauga. 

Reimagining Women’s Rights (FREE!) 

What conversations do we really need to be having about intersectionality, inclusion, and diversity in 2018? Global News’ Supriya Dwivedi leads what promises to be a smart and spirited discussion with a panel of diverse folks, from physics prof A.W. Peet to academic Minha Ha to director and public health pro Kyisha Williams. March 8, 9:30 a.m. Senate Chambers Ross Building, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto.  

A Better Man Screening 

In documentary A Better Man, filmmaker Attiya Khan confronts her abusive ex-partner, Steve—and in the process, gives viewers an honest look at what survivors experience, and why men choose to use violence. Before the film, enjoy a cocktail reception featuring art by the women of The Redwood shelter, and afterwards, take part in a powerful panel discussion. March 8, 6:30 p.m. $25. Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto.  

International Women’s Day Talk & March (FREE!)

Human trafficking is an under-the-radar but incredibly common problem in our communities. This event, organized by the Aurora/Newmarket chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women, is doing its part to stop it. Hear from Fiona Jack, a sex trafficking prevention trainer from Covenant House youth shelter, and then enjoy a potluck lunch and a march of sisterhood and solidarity to Newmarket’s Water Street Bridge. March 8, 10:30 a.m. Admission is free. Trinity United Church Hall, 471 Park Ave., Newmarket. 

Illustration of different women discussing women's issues

The Vagina Dialogues 

Get the lowdown about parts down low from naturopathic doctor Marnie Luck, who will be answering questions about vaginal and hormonal health. But not just any questions—this event is strictly about the topics “health class never taught you and questions Google can’t answer.” Tickets include drinks, yummy food and a swag bag—and the coolest part? Proceeds will be donated to Sistering, a drop-in centre supporting women who are homeless or precariously housed. Because who doesn’t want to have fun and do good? March 8, 7 p.m. $85. The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., Toronto. 

Mats of Kindness (FREE!) 

We can’t think of a nicer way to celebrate IWD than with a charity-minded crafternoon hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association of Richmond Hill. At this ladies-only event, attendees weave milk bags into sleeping mats, which the group then donates to Milk Bags Unlimited, a Canadian charity that sends the mats to people experiencing homelessness here at home, Syrian refugees in Europe and those who have survived natural disasters overseas. In case you’re wondering why milk bags, it turns out they make for waterproof, long-lasting and surprisingly comfortable mats. And if that wasn’t enough altruism for you, the group is also accepting donations of unopened feminine hygiene products for local women’s shelters. March 10, 1 p.m. Admission is free. St. Mary’s Anglican Church, 10030 Yonge St., Richmond Hill. 

Women Recognizing Women

Hear a keynote from health educator Dr. Enid Collins, take in performances from singer Cass Noelle and spoken word artist Lamoi and enjoy a delicious dinner as you celebrate the power of women courtesy of the Jamaican Canadian AssociationMarch 11, 2 p.m. $40. The JCA Centre, 995 Arrow Rd., Toronto. 

#DevTO International Women’s Day Talks

This annual, IWD-themed talk, now in its fourth year, gives women in tech the chance to connect, cheer one another on—and soak up some serious career inspo. This year, attendees will hear from STEM superstars like Huda Idrees, the founder and CEO of Dot Health, a “real-time personal health data platform” and Alicia Carr, a grandmother of eight who learned to build apps by watching YouTube—and put that know-how to use by building a domestic violence app that gives women experiencing intimate partner violence the tools to make a safe and secure exit plan. March 12, 6 p.m. $25. Toronto Masonic Temple, 888 Yonge St., Toronto.