5 Ideas for celebrating International Women's Day in the workplace

If you do a simple Google search of the word “balance,” you’ll get a variety of different answers that can be interpreted in different ways. But the one that speaks the most to me, especially in the spirit of International Women’s Day, is this one:

"Balance drives a better world." 

Our mission here at Reward Gateway is to make the world a better place to work, which aligns nicely with this year’s campaign, #BalanceforBetter. When considering ways to celebrate International Women’s Day at work, it’s important to team up, brainstorm and get the creative energy flowing.

In my role as Experience Manager here at RG, I worked with the others on my team to determine ways to celebrate in our offices around the globe. There are countless ways to get your employees involved and excited. To get you started, here are five ideas for celebrating International Women’s Day at your own organisation.

1. Ask everyone to wear purple
2. Decorate the office
3. Take pictures to share on social
4. Thank your people
5. Invite a motivational speaker

1. Ask everyone to wear purple

Keeping with the theme of purple, ask all of your employees (both male and female!) to wear purple in support of the day. This is a day that’s centered around inclusivity and balance – wearing purple is a super easy (and effective) way to set the tone in the office.

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It’s especially powerful if your leaders and senior managers dress the part and show their support for the day to create the environment for balance. Use this day as an opportunity and conversation starter to help you begin to create balance among leadership teams. Just take it from our own CEO, Doug Butler, who’s proudly wearing his purple and setting the standard for others in the organisation to do the same 💜.

2. Decorate the office


A surefire way to get your employees in the celebration mode is to decorate your office in purple (one of the colors of International Women’s Day).

Put inspirational posters around the space, place purple balloons on tables or create your own mood board. You could even have a gathering the night before and make these decorations in groups as a way to encourage team bonding.


When someone in the company goes above and beyond to support a particular cause, we want to showcase that. For example, one of the Experience Managers in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Ivo, shared a photo of himself holding a branded sign, wearing his purple and showing his support.We share this internally and on our TV monitors across our offices. This is a great way to put a further spotlight on the cause and demonstrate our support.


3. Take pictures to share on social

The International Women’s Day website encourages people to share their #BalanceforBetter and #IWD2019 photos on social media and spread the message. With the theme of balance, people are encouraged to stand with their arms up and mimic a balance beam of sorts to symbolize that everyone has a part to play in shaping the future of the world. Here’s an example from their website to use as inspiration at your own organisation.


Just like Ivo did in the above picture, create opportunities for your people to take relevant and fun photos to share with their networks. In each of our offices this year, we’ve created a photobooth-style area for employees to express themselves in their own way with props and signs.

4. Thank your people

Take a moment on International Women’s Day to say thank you to all of the people in your organisation who help support your purpose, mission and values. Some low-cost employee recognition ideas include:

  • - Setting up massage stations
  • - Dropping flowers off on employees’ desks
  • - Thanking the individuals who help make your days more enjoyable
  • - Providing a healthy lunch
  • - Offering a mid-day yoga or exercise class

Learn more about our reward and recognition solutions »

"In the spirit of balance, yoga will have your people feeling more centered and relaxed – and who doesn’t like that?"


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5. Invite a motivational speaker

One way to motivate your people is by inviting a speaker to come present to your employees, offer advice and provide insight for what the 2019 #BalanceforBetter means for the workplace. For our Boston and Rochester offices, we’ve linked up with a local organisation called One for Women, a company that empowers women-owned businesses and believes one small gesture can have a big impact. We’re excited to welcome new ideas and fresh perspectives.

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If inviting a motivational speaker to the office isn’t in the cards for you, try playing various Ted Talks on a loop to expose people to the ideas and challenges of women today and why this day is important (there’s no shortage of them!). One video we played last year in our offices was the “He Named Me Malala” documentary, which is nothing short of inspirational.

Remember, celebrating International Women’s Day shouldn’t come just once a year – we should always be striving towards a more inclusive and diverse workplace. Everyone can take part in celebrating and put their best foot forward to work towards a more balanced (and engaged) workforce. I’d love to hear how you’re celebrating at your own organisation, feel free to leave ideas in the comments section below.

Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in 2019, pre-COVID-19. Please stay safe and well with proper social distancing and safety guidelines!

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