Helen Pankhurst and Sophie Ellis-Bextor release star-studded International Women’s Day podcast

Sophie Ellis-Bextor Headshot

03 March 2023


  • Walk4Women - the soundtrack of IWD 23 is available to download now 
  • Featuring song recordings from RAYE, Beverley Knight and Imelda May and finale from Bond and Urban Voices Collective
  • Listeners are encouraged to listen as they walk in solidarity with women leading in crises around the world

Gender equality activist Helen Pankhurst and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor have released a special “online rally” podcast for International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8th March, in collaboration with CARE International UK. Top artists have performed songs for the hour-long podcast, including RAYE, Beverley Knight, Imelda May and Urban Voices Collective and Bond, alongside poetry from Nikita Gill.  

Listen now

The podcast, produced for CARE International by acclaimed composer David Arnold, celebrates women leading their families and communities in crisis situations around the world. It features interviews with women responding to crises in Ukraine, Somalia, Bangladesh and Yemen, as well as the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria. 

Listeners will also hear messages from famous supporters, including Neil Gaiman, Michael Sheen, David Tennant and Lemn Sissay. 

Pankhurst said:

“This is an important gesture of solidarity. You can listen and walk at home, on your lunch break or with friends. The podcast is entertaining, moving and inspiring – and absolutely everyone is welcome to tune in and take part. We also have an important message for the UK Government which supports vital work around the world. We hope they will increase their support for women in crises through UK Aid and enable the UK to become a global gender champion.”

Ellis-Bextor said:

“I was honoured to be asked to host this incredible podcast – the women featured are beyond inspiring and will be a tonic for anyone whose faith in humanity is flagging – combined with gorgeous songs and poetry. Tune in and listen this International Women’s Day or throughout March. Please sign up to walk in solidarity while you listen or join the #Walk4Women conversation on social media.”

Five amazing grassroots women who have demonstrated incredible leadership against the odds will be interviewed by hosts Helen and Sophie. They will share how they have led their families and communities through different crises, including conflict, climate change, chronic hunger and earthquake. 

  • Refugee crisis: Daria Khrystenko, a Ukrainian refugee who fled her home in Kyiv a year ago with her son Max and now helps other refugees to settle in Poland 
  • Hunger crisis: Amran Shire from Somalia is taking action for women and girls who are at heightened risk of assault and rape after being displaced from their homes by drought, hunger and conflict  
  • Natural disaster: Sherine Ibrahim is leading a team responding to the earthquake in Turkey and Syria to support women and girls affected and prevent sexual exploitation 
  • Climate crisis: Ame from Bangladesh is from a community devasted by the climate crisis, and has created her own early warning system for women on remote islands who are the last to hear when floods are forecast, saving lives and livelihoods 
  • Conflict: Nada from Yemen mobilised the women in her community to rebuild their access road destroyed by war, relieving her community of prolonged and damaging isolation 

CARE is a major international humanitarian agency delivering emergency relief and long-term international development projects with women and girls at their heart. CARE has partnered with Stylist magazine to promote the campaign. In previous years, CARE hosted London’s flagship International Women’s Day march but this year, the podcast will enable people across the UK and beyond to take part wherever they are instead.  

Helen and Sophie are also encouraging the public to show their support for inspiring women by signing up for CARE and Stylist’s #Walk4Women and pledging to walk a number of miles while listening to the podcast on or before 8th March.

Listen to the podcast

Notes to editors

  • Raye has chosen to share her song ‘Ice Cream Man.’ to feature on the podcast. In January, she claimed her first UK Number 1 Single.  
  • Beverley Knight has provided an exclusive recording of ‘March Women March’ from Sylvia, the new musical at the Old Vic Theatre about the Suffragettes, in which Beverley stars as Emmeline Pankhurst.  
  • Imelda May has shared an exclusive recording of her song ‘Made to Love’.  
  • Urban Voices Collective and Bond have recorded ‘You Don’t Own Me’ especially for CARE.  

For media enquiries please contact David Moore, Media Officer at CARE International UK, moore@careinternational.org