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Make a zine for International Women’s Day

Celebrate International Women’s Day by sharing what you know about inspirational women from around the world.

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You’ll need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • A4 paper
  • Scissors

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. There's also more guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers

Zines (pronounced to rhyme with magazine) are short booklets that are self-published or produced by a small, independent publisher. They’re creative, empowering, and sometimes controversial – and a fantastic way to express ideas in a fun and informal way.

Technically, zines have existed since people began to write, print and share information. The zine explosion came later, fuelled by the do-it-yourself ethos of the 1970s British punk movement and access to photocopying. In 1991, underground feminist punk movement ‘riot grrrl’ emerged out of the United States, and thousands of young women began to produce personal and political zines. 

Today, the majority of creators are female, topics are often political, and representation is wide – so they’re a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

You can find out more about zines, and why you may want to make them, in this Scouts blog.

This activity could be run for International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on the 8 March every year. International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. It can also be a great way to introduce young people to inspirational women. International Women's Day has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Find out more about Girls and Women in Scouts.

Talk about zines

  1. Explain that zines are short booklets that are usually self-published or produced by a small, independent publisher. They exist to share ideas, to share their stories and get their voices heard. You could make a zine to show everyone or share examples, such as Soofiya’s zines. Make sure any examples you choose are appropriate.
  2. Explain that, although zines have technically existed since people began to write, print, and share information, one reason they’re so popular is because of the 1991 underground, feminist punk movement riot grrrl. Riot grrrl encouraged girls and women to create zines and be heard.
  3. Zines were used because women could make them themselves and helped women form communities. They allowed them to talk about issues that were considered taboo, such as sexism, domestic violence, and mental illness.
  4. Everyone should think about why zines are a good way to spread messages. For example they could think about how they’re cheap to produce in small quantities and how anyone can make them.

Plan your zine

  1. Explain that International Women’s Day is all about celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness about women’s equality, trying to make things fairer, and fundraising for charities. International Women’s Day exists because the achievements of women haven’t always been celebrated and because there’s still gender inequality in the world.
  2. Everyone should choose a theme relevant to International Women’s Day. They could choose a female role model, for example. Riot grrrl often made zines about inequality. What difficulties do women face today? How are women challenging inequality?
  3. Everyone should think about how their zine fits in with the theme of International Women’s Day 2023:#EmbraceEquity. For example, their zine could challenge gender stereotypes by talking about people who break them down. 
  4. Everyone should decide what content they’ll include in their zine. It’s up to each person whether they write, draw, or both. They could include poems, comics, or drawings, for example. 

Fold your zine

You can find diagrams on page 60 of the spring term 2020 issue of Scouting magazine. You could also watch a YouTube video of how to fold a zine.

  1. Everyone should follow the instructions below to show everyone how to make their own zine. You may need to show some of the trickier steps more than once for everyone to get the idea.
  2. Take the piece of paper and fold it in half from top to bottom.
  3. Fold in half from left to right, then the left and right edges in to meet the middle line.
  4. Open up the sheet, which should have eight rectangles on it.
  5. Fold the paper in half from left to right. Cut along the centre fold in the middle – the cut should be two rectangles wide and it shouldn’t make the zine fall apart.
  6. Fold it in half from top to bottom, along the centre fold you just cut.
  7. Take the left and right edges (keeping it folded) and push them together. The last double page will fold over the top of the other pages to become a cover. This step takes a little practice. It’s easiest to check out the diagram or video linked above to see what you need to do.

Fill your zine

  1. Everyone should get creative and decorate their zine. It’s up to them whether they unfold it to work on it or whether they leave it folded.
  2. Once they’ve finished filling their zines, everyone should take it in turns to share what they’ve made. Who or what is it about? Is there a main message?
  3. Everyone should think about how their zine links to Scouts. For example, it may show one (or more) of the Scout values (integrity, respect, care, belief, and cooperation) or make a positive contribution to the world you live in.


This activity was all about trying new things. Had anyone heard of a zine before this activity? Why were they so popular in the 1990s? People could think about their history as a way for women to get their voices heard. How else could people spread the messages of International Women’s Day?

This activity was also about respecting others. Who featured in people’s zines? Have these people always been respected? What difficulties were women experiencing in the 1990s? What issues do women face today?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe. Take a look at our online safety or bullying guidance. The NSPCC offers more advice and guidance, too. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection CommandAs always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare, including their online experiences, follow the Yellow Card to make a report.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

  • People can keep it simple and use a single pen or use all sorts of arts and crafts materials to make their zine.
  • Introduce the concept of intersectionality – the idea that we have multiple aspects to our identity (such as race, class, nationality, and gender) and that these can overlap when it comes to discrimination and disadvantage.
  • This means that some women experience multiple inequalities, for example, they may experience racism, homophobia, or transphobia as well as sexism – the inequalities overlap and can't be neatly separated. How does intersectionality affect the women featured in (or the topics of) people’s zines?

Spelling and grammar aren’t the most important thing here – plenty of zines focus on the pictures, not the words. It’s also OK to ask an adult for help with writing or spelling.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

It’s up to each young person what their zine’s about, as long as it fits the theme of International Women’s Day. Encourage people to choose a person they look up to or a topic they’re passionate about.