Portland International Women’s Day
A decades-long celebration of the richness, strength, and value of women and their contributions to the community, Portland International Women's Day was a 501(c)3 non-profit that functioned from its formal inception in 1987 until 2023. Most notably, the organization produced the annual Portland International Women's Day Festival.
Portland International Women's Day is a community-based offshoot of the larger International Women's Day movement observed in the US and abroad. With origins in Europe in the early 20th century, the initial IWD were founded with a focus on the efforts of women's labor and economic reform, but eventually grew into more encompassing efforts surrounding anti-discrimination and the global feminist movement as well as empowering women to be organizers and leaders in their communities. Today, International Women's Day is observed in over 20 countries worldwide and is a United Nations sanctioned holiday.
In 1987, Portland International Women's Day, Inc. filed with the State of Oregon as a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization to “provide educational and cultural programs in celebration of women's achievements throughout the world.” In the organization's 1987 Articles of Incorporation, Marguerite Brodie compiled the core tenets of the Festival to specify how it will further their mission to “celebrate the richness, beauty, and value of women and our contributions to society.” These included minimal charge at the door (no one would be turned away for lack of funds); free admission for vendors; drink and dessert booths offered as fundraisers to relevant co-sponsored groups; paid childcare, interpreters, and other venue production workers; free onsite childcare and ASL interpreters for the hearing impaired; and a multicultural focus, with particular emphasis on inclusion of women of color.
Past Festival programs have included craft and food booths, poetry slams, art exhibits, live theater performances, seminars on proposed Oregon state bills that affect women and families, financial goal-setting workshops, fire dancers, health fairs, and a children's resource room.
In the decades since its inception, Portland International Women's Day Festival has championed the artists, professionals, poets, performers, and creators of all types that make up Oregon's vast, varied, and talented community of women. Often partnering with spaces such as Portland State University, the Portland Conference Center, and Montgomery Park, the Festival created an accessible, vibrant venue to witness how the International Women's Day global mission has enacted itself in our local Portland community.
In 2023, Portland International Women's Day dissolved its status as an active non-profit, and the organization donated their remaining funds to Siren Nation. Through their generous gift, the mission of Portland International Women's Day lives on. Siren Nation shares its deep gratitude to the legacy of PIWD, and is committed to furthering that legacy through our own mission to amplify the voices of women in the arts.