About International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a day that is observed annually at the United Nations and is designated by many countries as a national holiday. It began as a remembrance and celebration of the struggle faced by women around the world in the name of equality, justice, peace and development. Though the role of women around the world has continued to evolve in the nine decades since the inception of International Women’s Day, women in the 21st century still face many obstacles in the advancement of their status worldwide. Regardless of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, the desire and need for progressive change is universal.
Since 2002, the International Trade Club of Chicago, WorldChicago and Union League Club of Chicago have worked together to present this annual Fair and Luncheon on March 8 (or the nearest weekday if it falls on a weekend).
From an exchange of words and ideas to a luncheon involving thousands of guests over a decade, the leaders of the host organizations are thrilled to welcome you to our Chicago Celebrates International Women's Day fair and luncheon! What originated as a means to raise awareness of this century-old international celebration has led to different approaches that have helped women both locally and globally. It is satisfying to watch this event attract so many energetic people interested in improving life around the world.
Each year, the luncheon features a keynote speaker who has distinguished herself in her field locally and often internationally. Specific criteria are used in the careful consideration and selection of keynote speakers. They are chosen for their leadership in business, education, media, health care, or public service and for advancing women’s empowerment, economic development, potential for growth, and quality of life.
Immediately prior to the luncheon, we host an International Women’s Day Fair at the same location showcasing local organizations that support women in their work. Fair Exhibitors have included the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Au Pair in America, Chicago Sister Cities International, Global Children’s Foundation, Musicians Club of Women, Rotary International, and ShoreBank, among others.
We are looking forward to welcoming you and continuing to engage you in ways that positively change the lives of women globally through education, improved health, and financial opportunities.
View our picture gallery of past events
Past Keynote Speakers
- Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director of the Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center - 2015
- Maria Socorro Pesqueira, President and CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción - 2015
- Carole Segal, Co-founder of Crate and Barrel - 2015
- Michele Wucker, Vice President of Studies at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs - 2015
- Michèle Ledgerwood, Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies - 2014
- Ellen Costello, Chief Executive Officer of BMO Financial Corp. and U.S. Country Head of Toronto-based BMO Financial Group - 2013
- Sarah Robb O'Hagan, Gatorade President North America and Global Chief Marketing Officer, Sports Nutrition, PepsiCo Chicago - 2012
- Deborah L. DeHaas, Vice Chairman and Regional Managing Partner at Deloitte - 2011