International Women's Day

girls at school

What do you know about International Women's Day? Read this article to find out what it's all about!


Do the preparation exercise first. Then read the article and do the other exercises.

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What is International Women's Day?

International Women's Day is on 8 March every year. On this day people celebrate the achievements of women all over the world, but also continue to fight for more equality for women.

How did it start?

It started with a protest in New York City in 1908, when women went out onto the streets to say they wanted the right to vote. They also wanted shorter working hours and better pay. Then, in 1910 in Denmark, there was a meeting about women's rights, where a woman called Clara Zetkin had the idea for an international day for women. The first International Women's Day happened the next year, in 1911. 

Why do we need a special day for women?

Around the world, most countries have a male leader and mostly male politicians. Most businesses have mostly male leaders. Men get paid more than women for doing the same job. In many countries, men also get a better education and better healthcare, and do less work at home and with their children.

We need change! And the changes need to start with girls. Did you know that, around the world:

  • more boys than girls go to and finish school
  • more boys than girls have access to the internet
  • in lots of schools, there aren't any toilets for girls
  • more boys than girls are encouraged to learn science and maths 
  • boys get more opportunities than girls to learn how to be a leader
  • lots of girls have to do much more housework than boys
  • more boys do a healthy amount of sports and exercise than girls?

All these things mean that when lots of girls grow up, they don't get good jobs and they don't become leaders who can help change things. We need to change things because having equality is a basic human right. 

How is International Women's Day celebrated?

People celebrate by remembering and talking about important women from history and today, like Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Kamala Harris, Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai … it's a very long list!

People also protest and have special events to speak about all the changes we still need to make. It's very important that boys and men celebrate this day too! If everyone works together, we can change things faster.

If you want to celebrate this important day, you could …

  • interview a woman you know (for example, your mum or grandma) and find out how life for women has changed since she was young
  • find out about an important girl or woman in your country (for example, in politics, sport, science, history, etc.) and tell your family about her
  • write a story or draw a cartoon with a girl as the hero
  • ask your teacher if you can do a class project about this day.

Happy International Women's Day!


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