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Celebrating International Women's Day in the Classroom

Updated: May 8, 2023


Teaching and celebrating international women's day in the classroom.

Origin of International Women’s Day (IWD)


In the early 20th century, there were a number of social movements to promote the empowerment of women.


In 1910, at an International Socialist Women's Conference, German delegates Clara Zetkin, Käte Duncker, Paula Thiede, suggested an annual “Women’s Day.”

It was a strategy to promote equal rights.


On March 19, 1911, the first IWD was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Women paraded the streets for the right to vote and carried banners honouring women.


On March 8, 1917, in Russia, women textile workers began a protest demanding "Bread and Peace". This was a protest due food shortages and World War I.


However, it wasn’t until 1975 when the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day, which was called International Women's Year.


When is International Women’s Day?


International Women’s Day is celebrated every year, on March 8.


How can I integrate an International Women’s Day discussion or lesson into my classroom?


International Women's Day presents a great opportunity for teachers to celebrate the achievements of women and girls throughout history with their students. In addition to recognizing the incredible achievements of women, International Women’s Day can bring attention to issues surrounding gender equality, women’s rights, and violence against women



There are several ways to celebrate the accomplishments of women (while integrating curriculum content, too!). Some possible ideas include:


  • Have students research and share the incredible achievements throughout history in areas of politics, business, activism, education, and entertainment.

  • For media literacy, have students create a poster to promote IWD and share the accomplishments of a woman that they researched.

  • You can integrate media literacy and oral communication by having students create a podcast to explain the history of IWD. You can also use this as an opportunity to share the accomplishments of a woman that students have researched.

  • Students can write a blog post about significant women in their own lives. This could be a great activity to include when teaching descriptive writing, as students can integrate adjectives and other descriptive words to describe admirable women in their lives.

  • Students can meet writing expectations by writing a biography about a well-known woman.


The New International Women’s Day resource by Teacher Resource Cabin


This International Women's Day resource is perfect to teach students about the achievements of women and girls throughout history, and the origins of International Women's Day. International Women's Day is celebrated around the world every year on March 8.





Lesson Plans: A 4-day detailed lesson plan is included that describes how to use the Slides and workbook together, as well as anticipates some of the questions students may ask during the lesson and offers talking points for each Slide.


Slides: Slides are included to help you introduce the topic to students. Slide topics include - What is International Women’s Day, Origins of International Women’s Day, Celebrating Women, Biography Activity and Biography Example - Viola Desmond


Worksheets: Students will enjoy completing a scaffolded workbook that teaches important biography writing skills, including brainstorming, researching, and organizing ideas. The workbook also includes a Biography Example of Autumn Peltier. A rubric is included for the biography writing task.





We also have a French version of this resource available. For those teaching in French immersion or fully French classrooms!





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