Today is International Women’s Day – a day for celebrating women all over the world and promoting achievements and progress made by female figures. Times are clearly changing and there is still some way to go to achieve complete gender parity, but nevertheless this still acts as an incentive to #PressForProgress (coincidentally the theme and hashtag for this year’s International Women’s Day campaign).

International Women’s Day couldn’t have come at a more relevant time. This week, the University of Reading hosted the annual Edith Morley Lecture, an event to aspire young women of today to achieve great things. The lecture is in memory of Edith Morley, an alumni of the University and believed to be the first woman to be awarded the title of ‘professor’ in an English university in 1908. Morley believed that women should have an equal place in academia and society, and was an inspiring and motivating force for the young people around her. The guest speaker at the lecture was Polly Vacher M.B.E., a pioneering aviator specialising in long-distance flights, and also another member of the fantastic University of Reading alumni. You can find out more about Polly Vacher’s career here.

International Women’s Day also follows many other successful campaigns such as ‘This Girl Can’, which promotes women’s involvement in physical and sporting activities. This campaign is supported every day across the University through an affective programme of sporting activities across campus, such as women’s rugby union, dance, pole fitness and even self-defence classes. The promotion of sports undoubtedly attribute to women’s sporting success at the highest level, exemplified by Lizzie Yarnold’s gold medal in the skeleton at last month’s Winter Olympics and also by Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s recent victory at the World Indoors Championships.

There are so many ways that you can join in with International Women’s Day. The easiest way is to spread awareness about International Women’s Day and download some selfie cards to post on social media, or indeed write about what International Women’s Day means to you with the hashtag #PressForProgress next to it. However big or small your involvement is, it’s a great way to get involved with a national campaign and can be great fun!

International Women’s Day coincides with Women’s History Month. Find the full list of events here.