National and International Commemorative Dates

Human Trafficking Day International Women's Day BPWC's Equal Pay Day National Volunteer Week Equal Pay Day World Day Against Child Labour World Day Against Trafficking BPW Day Int'l Equal Pay Day Gender Equality Week Women's History Month #MMIWG | #SISVigils Day of the Girl Child Persons Day #16Days/#OrangeTheWorld December 6 Human Rights Day BPW Events

Below is a list of some of the national and international commemorative dates relevant to BPW's mandate.

Annual Updates

Refer to the source website(s) below and in the downloadable list for an annual update on theme, hashtags and graphics. Many agencies/organizations provide sample social media posts and graphics that BPW Canada clubs and provinces can utilize.

Downloadable Date List

Click here to view and download a more extensive list of dates that includes website resources and brief descriptions.

Awareness Day Media Packages

Available to BPW Canada clubs, login required.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - February 22 | #KnowHumanTrafficking


On February 22, 2007, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion condemning the trafficking of women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

The House of Commons proclaimed February 22 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the magnitude of modern-day slavery in Canada and abroad and encourage Canadians to take steps to combat human trafficking. 

Human Trafficking is a BPW Canada Priority Issue. Learn More.

International Women's Day - March 8 | #IWD


"International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8. The day has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911. The day is not country, group or organization specific - and belongs to all groups collectively 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. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day...". ~ Source

Themes: UN Women IWD Canada

2020's IWD UN Women Theme is I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights

generation equality

"The theme is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Adopted in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, the Beijing Platform for Action is recognized as the most progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere.

The year 2020 is a pivotal year for advancing gender equality worldwide, as the global community takes stock of progress made for women’s rights since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action. It will also mark several other galvanizing moments in the gender equality movement: a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; and the 10th anniversary of UN Women’s establishment.

The emerging global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world. Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality..." ~ Source

2020's International Women's Day Theme: #EachforEqual


"An equal world is an enabled world.
Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
Let's all be #EachforEqual." ~ Source

2019's IWD theme: #BalanceForBetter.  

2018's #IWD theme: #PressForProgress. 

International Women's Day in Canada

Govt Canada IWD2020"Empowering women and girls to equally participate in economic, social and political life benefits people of all genders. It increases economic prosperity, promotes peace and security, upholds fairness and justice in our society, and ultimately creates happier and healthier communities.

This International Women’s Day we are shining a light on grassroots efforts to advance gender equality in communities across the country and honouring Canadians who are finding powerful ways, both big and small, to drive positive change right at the source.

Join us in celebrating this year’s theme #BecauseOfYou, which pays tribute to the diverse and inspirational gender equality change-makers we know in our own lives." ~ Source

There are 9 Social Media Shareables available featuring each campaign trailblazer: athlete Christine Sinclair, LGen Chris Whitecross, Diversity Advocate Kathryn Foss, Businesswoman Ann Devine, UN High-Level Commissioner Dr. Alaa Murabit, Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Donna Strickland, Moosehide Campaign Co-Founder Raven Lacerte, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer, and Senator Chantal Petitclerc.

2019 IWD theme: #InnovateForChange

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BPW Canada's Equal Pay Day - March 18 | #EqualPayDay


What is Equal Pay Day? Equal Pay Day illustrates how far into the next year a woman, on average, must work to earn the same amount a man made in the previous year. BPW Canada's membership approved a resolution to declare March 18th as Equal Pay Day in Canada. 

Motion 70, placed on Notice since September 28, 2016, to declare March 18th as Equal Pay Day, Text of the Motion:

"That, in the opinion of the House, the government should designate March 18 of each year Equal Pay Day." Latest Activity: Placed on Notice (2016.09.28).

As of 2019, the Government of Canada has designated April 9 as Canada's Equal Pay Day.

Learn More ...

National Volunteer Week - April | #NVW

BPW Canada

"National Volunteer Week (NVW) is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers...When we look at the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Canada and others committed to achieving by 2030, there is not a single goal that does not involve volunteers. Whether working to eliminate hunger, promoting quality education or reducing inequalities." ~ Source 

List of upcoming NVW's.

Canada's Equal Pay Day - April 9 | #EqualPayDay

2019's Government's Statement

Equal Pay Day Statement from Employment and Social Development Canada April 9, 2019: Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Statement: “On Equal Pay Day, it is important to note how far Canadian women have come in the last 40 years. Greater participation of women in the workforce has accounted for about one-third of Canada’s economic growth. Advancing gender equality is not just good for women, it is good for all here to read the entire statement.

World Day Against Child Labour - June 12

BPW Canada

2020: COVID-19: Protect children from child labour, now more than ever! In 2020, the World Day will be conducted as a virtual campaign and is being organized jointly with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA).

The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them. ~ Source

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons - July 30 | #EndHumanTrafficking

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020

In 2020, the "focus on the first responders to human trafficking. These are the people who work in different sectors - identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the essential role of first responders has become even more important, particularly as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made their work even more difficult. Still, their contribution is often overlooked and unrecognized." ~ Source

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

"...Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims...Data also shows that trafficking happens all around us as the share of persons trafficked within their own country has doubled in recent years to 58 per cent of all detected victims...

In 2010, the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat this scourge. The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide. One of the crucial provisions in the Plan is the establishment of a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking, especially women and children...

In 2013, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action. Member States also adopted resolution A/RES/68/192 and designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons...

In September 2015, the world adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and embraced goals and targets on trafficking in persons. These goals call for an end to trafficking and violence against children; as well as the need for measures against human trafficking, and they strive for the elimination of all forms of violence against and exploitation of women and girls." ~ Source

BPW Day - August 26 | #BPWDay


The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW or BPW International) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, on August 26, 1930. Each August 26th BPW members worldwide celebrate BPW, by wearing yellow, sharing photos on social media with hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride. Look for BPW Canada #BPWDay photos @canadabpw. BPW is worldwide networks!

International Equal Pay Day - September 18

international equal pay day

On December 2019 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to name September 18 as International Equal Pay Day.

First International Equal Pay will take place on September 18, 2020.

"International Equal Pay Day, celebrated for the first time this 18 September, represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls." ~ Source

Canada's Gender Equality Week - Fourth Week in September | #BecauseOfYou

gender equality week

"September 20 to 26, 2020 marks Gender Equality Week, an opportunity to raise awareness of the important contributions women and gender diverse communities have made to the growth, development, character and identity of Canada; to celebrate the significant achievements and accomplishments that we have made in advancing gender equality; and to reconfirm our commitment to address persistent gender equality gaps in our country...This year’s theme, #BecauseOfYou, celebrates the many trailblazers, activists and advocates who are working to advance gender equality in their communities." ~ Source

Learn More...

Women's History Month - October | #BecauseOfYou

BPW Canada

"October is Women’s History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the women and girls from our past, and our present, who are contributing to a better, more inclusive Canada." ~ Source

The 2020 theme #BecauseOfYou, celebrates women and girls in Canada who have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on our country. Women trailblazers pictured in above image: Esther Marjorie Hill, Gisèle Lamoureux, Joy Kogawa, Nellie Cournoyea and Portia White.

Women in Canadian History Timeline: "From early trailblazers to today’s powerful agents of change, from the long journey for women’s suffrage towards equality of rights and opportunities for all, women have and continue to blaze a trail to create a better, more equal world for everyone." ~ Source

Women of Impact in Canada, an online gallery "which recognizes the contributions and achievements of 100 exceptional Canadian women and girls who have made an impact in politics, the arts and sciences, and countless other fields. ~ Source

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)/Sisters in Spirit Vigils - October 4 | #MMIWG | #SISvigils

nwac oct4

"October 4th is a day when we honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, support grieving families, and create opportunities for healing. The violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada is a national tragedy. United, we will demand action on an issue that impacts us all!"

Learn More...

International Day of the Girl Child - October 11 | #DayOfTheGirl

International Day of the Girl

"On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights." ~ Source

2020: "...under the theme, 'My Voice, Our Equal Future', let’s seize the opportunity to be inspired by what adolescent girls see as the change they want, the solutions- big and small- they are leading and demanding across the globe..." ~ Source

Learn more...

Persons Day - October 18 | #PersonsDay

famous 5

October 18th "marks the day in 1929 when the historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “persons” was handed down by Canada’s highest court of appeal. This gave women the right to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and paved the way for women's increased participation in public and political life...In 1927, five women – who have since become known as the Famous Five – launched a legal challenge that would mark a turning point for equality rights in Canada. Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards were journalists, politicians, reformers and activists from Alberta who asked the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the following question: does the word “person” in Section 24 of the BNA Act include female persons? After five weeks of debate, the Supreme Court decided that the word “person” did not include women...

On October 18, 1929, Lord Sankey, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, announced the decision:

'The exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word ‘person’ should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?'

With this milestone victory, the Famous Five not only won the right for women to serve in the Senate, but also helped pave the way for women to participate equally in all aspects of life in Canada." ~ Source

Honour the Famous Five with a Pink Tea.  How to Host Your Pink Tea, developed by the Famous 5 Foundation.

pink tea

International: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence: November 25 to December 6 | #16Days/#OrangeTheWorld



Countries around the world have awareness campaigns for #16days: begins on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and end on International Human Rights Day on December 10. These campaigns are inspired by the UN Women's #OrangeTheWorld campaign. Canada's 2019 theme for the 16 Days was #OurActionsMatter.

In 2020, the UNiTE campaign's theme is Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect! Read 2020's concept note.

Learn More...

December 6: Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women | #december6

dec6 your actions matter

They died because they were women...Learn More...

December 10: Human Rights Day | #StandUp4HumanRights



"Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world." ~ Source

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Upcoming Events


#MMIWG - Sisters in Spirit

Know Human Trafficking

#IWD2019 - #BalanceForBetter

#IWD2019 - #ItTakesWTA

#IWD2019 - #IStandWithHer

#IWD2019 - UN Video Message


#IWD2018 - #PressForProgress

#IWD2018 "How Do We?"

#IWD2017 - #TheRaceIsOn

Equal Pay Day | #EqualPayDay

Equal Pay Day | #EqualPay

National Volunteer Week & SDG's

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

BPW Canada


Women's History Month

International Day of the Girl Child