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Commonwealth Day 2021 celebrations to be virtual and to focus on women’s leadership in Delivering a Common Future

1 March 2021

There will be dual celebrations this year on 8 March when both Commonwealth Day and International Women’s Day take place.

A series of virtual events are planned to mark these important annual occasions, accessible to audiences across the Commonwealth.

Leading up to the celebrations, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said:

“This year particularly is vitally important for the Commonwealth, as our member countries and communities face multiple interconnected global crises, including a horrific pandemic, a worldwide economic crisis and the continuing threat of climate change.

“It is during such times of challenge that we must uphold ever more resolutely our shared values, commitment to cooperation, and unique sense of connection. As a family of nations, we have the opportunity through mutual support and encouragement to overcome the issues we face together by connecting, innovating and transforming to deliver a brighter, more prosperous, more sustainable future for all.”

Commonwealth Day Service

On Sunday 7 March, the BBC will broadcast a special programme to replace the usual Commonwealth Day Service at the UK’s Westminster Abbey.

HM Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, will share her annual message in 'A Celebration for Commonwealth Day', to be broadcast on BBC One. Presented from the Abbey by Anita Rani, this programme will also feature messages from members of the Royal Family as well as musical performances and readings from around the Commonwealth.

The theme for the day, 'Delivering a Common Future', highlights how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals, such as fighting climate change, promoting good governance and boosting trade.

Tune in on 7 March at 17:00 GMT for the Commonwealth Day service broadcast. The service will be on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC's YouTube Channel. It will be available on YouTube if you missed the live broadcast

International Women’s Day

As Commonwealth Day and International Women’s Day approach, the Commonwealth Secretariat is launching a social media campaign #SheLeadsTheWay which ties with the official International Women’s Day 2021 theme: ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’.

This campaign will provide an opportunity for audiences to recognise women leaders across the Commonwealth, during COVID-19 and beyond. All are welcome to contribute by posting their video on social media. (View toolkit here)

The following virtual events are also open for public registration:

5 March – 1-2pm GMT: Sea the She: Recognising women’s contributions to ocean science 

  • This event features inspiring stories of women from across the Commonwealth who are challenging gender norms through their work in ocean industries.

8 March – 2-4pm GMT: Enabling Women’s Leadership in a COVID-19 World to Build Back Better for the Commonwealth

  • This event will put a spotlight on women’s leadership in responding to COVID-19 and charting an equitable recovery. 

10 March: Commonwealth Youth Awards

  • The winners of the annual Commonwealth Youth Awards will be announced. Twenty finalists from 18 countries are up for five regional awards.

A speech from the Secretary-General to commemorate Commonwealth Day will be made available soon.

You can find more information, resources and a schedule of virtual events celebrating Commonwealth Day and International Women’s Day here.