An opportunity to focus on the issues facing women today: ABC Women’s Day coverage

The ABC will mark International Women’s Day (IWD) next Monday 8 March 2021 with all-female line-ups and programs that celebrate the achievements of women and girls in Australia and around the world.

Most of the ABC’s radio networks, including ABC Classic, Radio National, triple j and its eight capital city stations, will feature female presenters across the day, along with female guests and artists.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson says gender bias and inequality are still evident in many parts of Australian society. 

“Each year, International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to focus on the issues facing women today.   The ABC is uniquely placed to explore these issues and engage Australians in discussions on how we achieve gender parity and our individual contributions towards that goal  It is also a day to celebrate the contributions of women in all walks of Australian life and our programming reflects that.”

Featured programs on ABC Radio, iView and the ABC’s digital and social media platforms, will explore IWD’s 2021 theme of “Choose to Challenge” – calling out gender bias and inequality.

Highlights include:

ABC Radio

A one-hour special presented by ABC Radio Sydney’s Breakfast presenter, Wendy Harmer, in conversation with Leah Purcell, Anna Bligh, Tina Arena, Dr Christine Lai, AOTY Local Hero Rosemary Kariuki and Rabbi Ellyse Borghi around the themes of power, passion and resilience. Social media platforms will also feature animated videos of their stories by young female graphic designers.

ABC Classic

A four-day Festival of Female Composers starting on Friday 5 March, includes a Classic Live broadcast with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at 3.00pm on Saturday 6 March.  The network will also feature an all-female presenter line-up on the day and will premiere six new works composed by Australian women, commissioned as part of the ABC’s Fresh Start Fund.

Double J and triple j

Both networks have collaborated to present a list of ‘50 Game-Changing Women of Australian Music’.  Music programming across the two networks will feature all-women musicians for 24 hours across the day.  Special guest co-hosts Jess Perkins and Ash McGregor will join triple j’s Drive and Lunch  shows respectively and an all-female Like A Version playlist will be featured in the triple j app.  

Radio National

An all-female line-up from 5.30am to midnight plus the launch of a new series of the popular Fierce Girls podcast – with more inspiring stories of some of Australia’s most extraordinary women.  The first episode, narrated by Pia Miranda, tells the story of Jean Robertson and Kathleen Howell, the first women to drive across Australia.

ABC Jazz

Female artists featured on Mornings.

ABC Country

Female country music artists featured across the day.

ABC Sport

ABC Sport’s digital radio channel will focus on women’s sport.

ABC listen

Features a collection of podcasts and on-demand audio from across the ABC, including Radio National, ABC Classic, Double J and ABC Audio Studios. 


A special episode of the podcast series Days Like These looking at the life of Pauline Menczer, described as the “ugly duckling” of pro women’s surfing.

ABC iview

ABC iview will feature a collection of programs that tell the stories and achievements of women from all walks of life, including female-led dramas; documentaries featuring extraordinary women doing extraordinary things; and insightful historical documentaries in the Women’s History Month collection.

The launch of Brazen Hussies, a one-hour documentary narrated by Sigrid Thornton, celebrating the legacy of the bold women of the Women’s Liberation Movement, who re-ignited the feminist revolution in Australia.

Girls Change the World on ABC ME iview – a selection of empowering stories about inspiring girls.

Go Girls Go on ABC Kids iview – celebrating our youngest female Australians.

A collection of videos for primary and secondary students on Education on iview, celebrating the diverse achievements of women around the world.


A special Q+A episode “All About Women” brings together a diverse panel of women to discuss the big issues of the day, screening at 8.30pm on Thursday 4 March on ABC Main Channel and on iview.

Joining Hamish on the panel are Isabel Allende, internationally-acclaimed author and feminist; Susan McDonald, Queensland National Party Senator; Anne Aly, WA Labor MP; Samantha Maiden, National Political Editor; Dhanya Mani, Lawyer and former NSW Liberal Party staffer; and Kate Crawford, academic and leading artificial intelligence expert. There will also be a live performance by Somalian poet Hani Abdile.

Other coverage includes reporting on gender diversity issues by Nassim Khadem from The Business and digital features examining the true worth of women’s unpaid labour and profiling the women behind the COVID-19 vaccine. The International Women’s Day edition of ABC NEWS Channel’s The World will feature all-female guests.


Photo credit: ‘Brazen Hussies’ Anne Roberts, Tribune, Mitchell Library


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