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International Women's Day Projects and Books Lists

March 04, 2016 by Nóra Wünsch-Nagy

How much do your students know about International Women's Day? How do they celebrate it? Do they think women should be celebrated? What do they think about gender equality?

Celebrating International Women's Day (IWD) is probably best done by discussing important issues and learning about inspirational women who fought for women's rights and inspirational people today who are still fighting for gender equality. Explore these topics with your classes and then choose a classic novel by a female author to celebrate women in March.

I'M SUPERGIRL! Illustration by Cristiano Lissoni from the reader At the Zoo written by Herbert Puchta and Günter Grengross in The Thinking Train picture book series for young readers. © Helbling Languages


Gender equality

These might be a difficult phrase for your students. How can you introduce it? Discuss the meaning of the words gender and equality, and then ask your students why it might be an important question.

A little bit of history

For some students the question of gender equality might not mean very much as they may not be aware of the long history behind the fight for equal rights. Here are some ways you can share background information with them.

1 Do a quiz

Challenge your students with this BBC interactive quiz on Women's Rights. Ask them to imagine that they are in 1840. What rights did women have?

2 Watch a film

Watch Suffragette (2015, starring Carey Mulligan and Helena-Bohnam Carter) or the trailer of the film. Talk about when the story happens and what these women were fighting for.

3 Read some texts

You can also start by discussions and worksheets to learn about the history of women's history.

4 Discuss important topics (B2-C1 level)

Here are some discussion questions to get your students thinking.

  • Is women's sport as important as men's sport?
  • Should only women fight for gender equality?
  • Can a man be a feminist?

Inspirational women

1 Organisations, projects, campaigns

2 Women and sports

Who are the greatest sportspeople in your country? How many of them are women? Ask your students to collect some names and achievements from the past and the present. This can be a group research project along women and science and other achievements.

Another interesting discussion topic is women's football. What do you think of it?

Helbling Readers Red Series Graphic Stories Zadie's Big Day
In the Helbling Readers Red Series you will find an original story about a young girl who plays football and the challenges she meets. Learn more about Zadie's Big Day, written by Martyn Hobbs and illustrated by Lorenzo Sabbatini.

3 Women and science

Although women were not allowed in public education for centuries, they have made great scientific achievements. Ask your students to find our about the following women who were fundamental to science. Can you think of any other names?

  • Ada Lovelace
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Marie Curie
  • Jane Goodall
  • Katherine Johnson
  • Elizabeth Blackwell

4 Exceptional achievements

Here are the names of four women from very different backgrounds who have become famous for very different achievements. Ask your students to do some research on what they have achieved.

  • Sacagawea
  • Alice Huyler Ramsey
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Anne Frank

Women Writers

In this context the great literary work of classic women writers can be valued even more. How many of these women writers have your students read or heard about? Go to our previous blog post to find biography project cards to learn about these authors.

Let's celebrate women writers and read a book from one of these British, American, Canadian or New Zealander authors.

Check out these lesson plans and projects about some of these novels and authors:

And finally, a book recommendation list for you with non-fiction books to read:

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