March 8th 2012: International Women’s Day


Today is International Women’s Day, a day celebrated all around the world to celebrate and at the same time raise awareness of women’s issues, such as discrimination in the workplace, sexism and female health. The theme for International Women’s Day 2012 is ‘Connecting girls, inspiring futures’, and events are held in dozens of countries by businesses, charities and associations in order to raise awareness of this long-held tradition.

The first IWD was held in 1911 in in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. and is now an official holiday in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Cuba, Madagascar and Uganda. IWD is a day for reflection and for celebration, considering not only what we’ve done but also what there is still to do:

“The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.”

There are loads of ways that you can integrate International Women’s Day into your classes. The Hollywood boys’ club lesson plan on onestopenglish begins with some simple language exercises, moving onto a more advanced text that would be great for reading comprehension and vocabulary, finishing with a debate between your class that encourages them to get talking, using debate and opinion terms specifically. ‘Women entrepreneurs’ on MEC is a reading activity covering the rise of women in business and the obstacles they still face (ID MLGB005343).

Alternatively, use this cute video below to show your students some milestones of inspirational women, and ask them to talk about how the feel about women and the world!




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