International Women’s Day 2023 | 8 Inspiring Movies to Watch & Much More!

4 Women Friends for International Women's Day

Recently I re-watched two movies from the 1970s: Soylent Green (1973) and Logan’s Run (1976). And apart from the terrible special effects (and occasionally, acting) I was shocked by the treatment of women in them.

Because despite the fact that both these movies were set in the future (one in 2022, one in 2274) women were still treated as property in one (literally called “furniture” and considered part of an apartment’s fixtures!). And in both movies, women deferred to and looked up adoringly at men—who abused their power and were controlling—as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

It seems that the people (largely men) writing, directing and acting in movies at the time were literally unable to imagine a future world where gender roles were any different from their current one…

So it makes me particularly excited this year to share this year’s annual International Women’s Day resource article with inspiring movies, quotes, the 2023 themes, questions to consider and more!

In this International Women’s Day article you’ll find:

A Little International Women’s Day (IWD) History

Theresa Malkiel (circa 1910)

Theresa Malkiel (circa 1910)

According to Wikipedia the first Women’s Day observance—a “National Women’s Day” was in February 1909 in New York, USA. It was organized by the Socialist Party of America—and was the idea of a suffragist, workers activist and proponent of adult education for women: Theresa Malkiel. Ukranian born, she started as a factory worker and eventually became a leader within the Socialist party.

Considered so important, The United Nations adopted International Women’s Day in 1975. It occurs annually on March 8, and in many parts of the world it’s also an official holiday. And depending on where you are in the world, IWD might be an acknowledgement and celebration of historical—and more recent—achievements by women. And/or it might be an ongoing movement to ensure that women are seen and treated as equals.

According to

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

2023 IWD Themes

  • The theme for 2023 at is #EmbraceEquity. “The goal of equity is to change systemic and structural barriers that get in the way of people’s ability to thrive.”
  • The United Nations theme for IWD in 2023 is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” The goal is to recognize that girls and women are being left behind re: education in—and access to—digital technologies. The digital revolution presents a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. In addition, we need to protect the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and address online gender-based violence.

IWD at Fierce Kindness in 2023

International Women’s Day is an annual reminder that we still have a way to go to achieve gender equality, and that we all play a part.

Get started with these 2 thought-provoking videos:

  1. A charming, powerful and entertaining TED Talk: We Should all be Feminists (30m) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Watch this in honour of International Women’s Day with your girlfriends, colleagues, children and partner!
  2. And a short, hypnotic and challenging watch: Be a Lady They Said (2m 51s) read by Cynthia Nixon
    • NOTE: NOT for young children! This short video has sexualised nudity and words some people might find offensive.
    • Who will you share this with?

Understanding Equity ‘v’ Equality

And in 2023 we’ve chose to focus on the #EmbraceEquity theme which explores the idea of equity ‘v’ equality (which I had to research!). So here’s what I learned:

If we think about equity in terms of people’s opportunities in life:

  • Equality means everyone should have the SAME opportunities for a happy life.
  • Equity takes this one step further and acknowledges that not everyone starts from the same starting point.

In order to reach Equity, different people need different levels of support depending on where they are starting from/what they experienced along the way. And, in some cases, we may need to dismantle societal/historical/racist/gendered structures that benefit some people at the expense of others.

So while Equality is important, Equity acknowledges that the playing field is not level: where we are born (the social and economic circumstances), our gender, physical abilities, skin colour and sexual orientation make it more difficult for some people to achieve the same goals (through no fault of their own).

And yet again, I am both humbled and inspired to do what I can to be part of the solution—both personally and in my work.

A couple of examples to consider to understand Equality ‘v’ Equity

If an event is required to provide washrooms for attendees:

  • Equality might mean that one standard toilet is provided for every 50 attendees.
  • Equity would mean ensuring that (some) washrooms are disability-friendly.

When our children want to study at University:

  • Equality might mean anyone can apply to attend and the fees are the same for everyone. Which sounds fair but…
  • One way to move toward Equity could be that fees are based on parents’ incomes so that those from disadvantaged backgrounds (whose parents never stood a chance of saving up for university fees) could attend with the same ease as those who have a trust fund.

Here are 5 Inspiring Quotes for International Women’s Day 2023

Last year, the tennis great Serena Williams announced her retirement. Not only a sports star, she is an inspiration to women everywhere with her feistiness. She is unapologetic about her strength, her size/build, her personality AND she is bursting with determination, supports women—and believes in self-care.

She is an epitome of Fierce Kindness!

Click each quote graphic below to get/save a larger version of each quote to share!

Then use one (or all) of these hashtags: #IWD2023, #EmbraceEquity, #WomensDay, #InternationalWomensDay and #SeeHer.

  1. “Is greatness winning? Is it losing? Is it recovery? It’s all of them, plus being good to yourself.” Serena Williams
  2. “I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.” Serena Williams
  3. “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.” Serena Williams
  4. “If Plan A isn’t working, I have Plan B, Plan C, and even Plan D.” Serena Williams
  5.  “I’m not a size two. It’s OK to look strong and to be sexy and to be a woman and to be unbreakable—all those things.” Serena Williams

Serena Williams Quote 1

Serena Williams Quote 2

Serena Williams Quote 3

Serena Williams Quote 4

Serena Williams Quote 5

Here are 8 Great Movies to Watch

These movies are all about strength in women, and some are based on real feisty women who made a difference. I also tried to ensure these movies represent a diverse range of womanhood—race, size, beauty and age. Note: The links below take you to IMDb (Internet Movie Database) to learn more about each movie.

3 Movies Featuring Real Women’s Achievements The Woman King Movie Poster

  1. The Woman King (2022). Although I’m not a fan of proving that women can be just as violent as men—The Woman King follows the Agojie, a highly skilled all-female warrior tribe who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. In the movie General Nanisca (played by Viola Davis) trains the next generation for a battle to survive and maintain their way of life. This movie is quite violent so not one to watch with youngsters… Directed by a woman (Gina Prince-Bythewood). (2h 15m) Official trailer on IMDb >>
  2. She Said (2022). The story of two New York Times journalists (Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor) who publish sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein. A launch pad for the #MeToo movement, this movie has had great reviews and celebrates two brave women determined to make a difference. Directed by a woman (Maria Schrader) (2h 9m) Official trailer on IMDb >>
  3. Till (2022). Based on a true story of Mamie Till-Mobley, mother seeking justice for her 14 year old son’s lynching. Also directed by a woman (Chinonye Chukwu) (2h 10m). Here’s the official trailer on IMDb >>

3 Fun, Fantastical Movies with Strong Women LeadsThe Princess Movie Poster

  1. The Princess (2022). This will NOT be what you’re expecting! This movie has a very highly trained, (yet still emotionally vulnerable), warrior princess who fights to save her family. This movie is violent from the get-go with some gore (but doesn’t linger). Watch with teenagers! Find it on Hulu as well as DisneyPlus(!) and while the production feels a little “B” movie, I thoroughly enjoyed this teenage girl kicks-butt and proves them all wrong movie. (1h 34m) Official trailer on IMDb here >>
  2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022). I loved the first Black Panther movie—in particular the warrior women, but was disappointed that we still focused on a “King”. So, in this follow-up Queen Ramonda must protect the kingdom of Wakanda from world powers interfering, and find a new way forward, in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. (2h 41m) Official trailer on IMDb here >>
  3. Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). This movie won’t be for everyone. It’s mind-bending and pretty ‘out there’ with multiple worlds and some rather silly stunts. But Michelle Yeoh is excellent as a middle-aged and somewhat bitter laundromat owner who is a martial experts in a parallel life. She must go between different universes and use her skills to save existence itself! (2h 18m) Official trailer on IMDb here >>

Empress-ive: Movies about Women Learning to Live (and enjoy themselves!)

  1. Corsage (2022). A fictionalised account of Empress Elisabeth of Austria who, once celebrated for her beauty, turns 40 and is officially considered ‘old’. She decides to take her life into her own hands. Not the usual period piece, instead our Empress rebels… (1h 54m) Official trailer on IMDb here >> NOTE: This movie is in German and you may need subtitles!
  2. Booksmart (2019). I love that in this high school movie the lead is not only female but larger-sized AND she’s funny and confident. Perhaps overly so—and with her best friend she must learn how to have fun and let go of her own prejudices as they try to pack in all the fun they didn’t have at high school into one night… (1h 42m) Official trailer on IMDb here >>

For even more movie ideas:


Questions to “Go Deeper” this IWD

If you want to go a bit deeper yourself, or create discussion with your children, loved ones, colleagues or friends, here are a few powerful questions for this year’s International Women’s Day:

Celebrating Women

  • Which aspects of IWD most interest you? ie. celebrating women’s achievements, highlighting remaining issues, the 2023 themes around Equity and Digital Access or something else?
  • What women’s achievements can you name from history?
  • How do you seek out and celebrate women’s achievements today?
  • If you are a woman, what could you do to own your own achievements?
  • What do you think we should focus on to make the world a fairer place for women?

IWD 2023

  • What are you doing to celebrate International Women’s Day this year?
  • If you are a man: How will you use this year’s IWD to shift how you think about women?
  • If you are a woman, how will you use IWD to shift what you think and feel about womanhood?
  • For women and men: What are your limiting beliefs and prejudices around women?
    • Consider what prejudices or limiting beliefs might you have around women, beauty and sexuality, skin colour, size, age, education, ability, roles etc.
  • What do you do when you notice gender bias, discrimination or stereotyping?
  • Are you willing to actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping when you see it? If not, why not?

Don’t worry about what you should do, worry about what you can do. Gloria Steinem

Equity ‘v’ Equality

  • Where in your life have you experienced “Equality“, yet it didn’t feel right or fair?
  • Can you think of an experience or situation where “Equity” would have made a big difference to you?
  • Where in your life have you seen “Equality” at work, but had misgivings or thought something wasn’t quite right?
  • What are your concerns around “Equity“? Why do you think that is?

So, what will you do for International Women’s Day this year?

Will you gather with friends for International Women’s Day this year?

Will you pass on Cynthia Nixon’s Be a Lady They Said or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should all be Feminists TED Talk?

How about watching a movie with the people you love (your friends/children/partner): one that highlights female courage, achievements—and/or struggles?

Perhaps you’ll discuss or journal around the 2023 theme/s and how they might apply to or in your life? (see the questions above).

Wrap-upFierce Kindness Logo

While we continue to make steps forward, we know we still have a way to go to achieve equality, equity and gender parity.

Our opportunities in life, in part, depend on where you grow up in the world/country/state or even what part of a town you grow up in. People are born with different physical abilities. And this and our gender, sexual orientation and skin colour affects our experience of life, how other people see and treat us—and the opportunities available to us.

This year’s IWD invites us to consider that Equal treatment is not enough. And as you consider what you can do to help build Equity in our world, I’ll leave you with a quote to ponder.

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. Alice Walker

If you liked this International Women’s Day article, you may also like:

Image of Happy Women Friends for International Women’s Day by Southworks via Shutterstock

Image of Theresa Malkiel by Unknown via Marxists Internet Archive Photo Gallery

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