Creative Boom's week-long celebration for International Women's Day 2019

Illustration by Jane Bowyer, commissioned by Creative Boom for International Women's Day 2019

In a Creative Boom first, we've decided to dedicate a whole week to a special cause, marking this year's International Women's Day.

Better the balance, better the world – that's the theme for 2019's event, which officially takes place on Friday 8 March and calls for a more gender-balanced world.

We'll be taking over our entire magazine with features, interviews, tips and inspiration pieces – dedicated to celebrating, inspiring and supporting creative women everywhere.

To kick things off, we've commissioned Manchester-based illustrator Jane Bowyer to create a series of bespoke illustrations for the occasion. Something of a self-confessed feminist, Jane launched her own exhibition, Women in Print, in 2016 to showcase the work of sixteen local designers, print-makers and illustrators that celebrated the life and achievements of sixteen iconic female figures who've made a significant contribution to Manchester. It seemed only apt to work with Jane.

Over the next six days, you can expect interviews with women such as Jane Crowther, the friendly face of G . F Smith and someone who is making a big difference in her hometown. We'll be finding out more from British illustrator Amy Blackwell who will tell us about her latest commission for the non-fiction children’s book, The Woman Who Rode a Shark: and Fifty More Female Adventurers, written by Ailsa Ross.

We've also been lucky to pick the brain of Natalie Mellin who has played an important role in creating awareness of Diversity and Inclusion over the last decade. She is one of the pioneers who helped reshape the conversation about gender equality, how to make it more concrete and how we can create change in the world.

There'll be an interview with two friends, Jenna Campbell and Jessica Howell, who got together to create NRTH LASS, a print magazine that began in 2018, fuelled by a determination to celebrate women across the North of England.

Elsewhere, we're going to share priceless career tips from inspiring creative women to help you get ahead in your career. We'll recommend insightful podcasts on women, feminism and gender equality. And we'll suggest some of the best independent women's magazines that should be on your reading list. There'll also be book recommendations by inspiring women to help you improve your creative business.

We'll be asking why aren’t there more statues of women? Plus discovering more about the pioneering women in craft who made successful businesses during the two World Wars. We'll share with you The Period Game: a "fun" and "comfortable" way to learn about menstruation. We'll see how modern female icons inspire a series of powerful portraits by Samantha Louise Emery.

Aside from revealing who we believe should be on your radar in terms of emerging female designers and illustrators, we'll also look to more serious issues, too. You'll see photographs by Kate Holt that show the brave girls of South Sudan as they fight to survive in the world's youngest country. There's also The Mural Project by Graffiti Life, which is fighting Child Sexual Exploitation in Brazil. And there'll be photographs by Xyza Cruz Bacani that shed light on the millions of female migrants kept out of public life.

Prepare yourselves for Creative Boom's week-long tribute to International Women's Day to celebrate the achievements of women and call for a more gender-balanced world.

Our special thanks to Shillington and Coconut for helping us make this happen. And to all our writers: Andy Mallalieu, Clare Terry, Darren Clanford, Emily Gosling, Tom May and Tora Baker for pulling together over the last few weeks. And to illustrator Jane Bowyer for her wonderful illustrations, made especially for the takeover.