International Women's Day

International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women's Day, but the global campaigns for equal rights for women continue all year round. Read more about #IWD in this article.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercise.


International Women's Day on 8 March is a day to celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women, reflect on progress and demand gender equality. For over a hundred years, International Women's Day has put the spotlight onto issues affecting women all over the world. Today, International Women's Day belongs to everyone who believes that women's rights are human rights.

Why do we need an International Women's Day?

Across the world, less than 15 per cent of the world's countries have a female leader. Only 24 per cent of senior managers are women and 25 per cent of companies have no female senior managers at all. Women do the lowest-paid jobs and earn less money for the same work. This difference in pay is called the gender pay gap, and for young women in many places, including Britain and America, the gap is getting worse. Women are also more likely to do most of the housework and childcare. All of these problems affect women of colour even more than they do white women.

When it comes to healthcare and safety, women also face significant inequalities. An estimated 830 women a day die in childbirth. There are some shocking statistics for female murder too. Last year the UN found that 137 women a day were killed by their partner or former partner. Worldwide, over 50 per cent of female murders are committed by the victim's partner or family. When they have access to health education and care, women are also more likely to be ignored by doctors when they say they are in pain, and serious health problems are sometimes ignored for years. 

The history of Women's Day

In 1908, 15,000 women in New York went on strike because of low pay and terrible conditions in the factories where they worked. The following year, the Socialist Party of America organised a National Women's Day, and one year after that, there was a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, about equality and women's right to vote. In Europe, the idea grew and became International Women's Day (IWD) for the first time in 1911 and the United Nations declared 8 March International Women's Day in 1975. 

What happens on 8 March?

In some countries, children and men give presents, flowers or cards to their mothers, wives, sisters or other women they know. But at the heart of International Women's Day lies women's rights. Across the world, there are protests and events to demand equality. Many women wear purple, a colour worn by women who campaigned for women's right to vote. Recently, marches and protests have gained force thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual harassment. There is still a lot of work to be done for gender equality. But women's movements all over the world are ready to do that work and are gaining momentum.

What are you going to do to celebrate or demand change on 8 March?



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Submitted by Petrichor11 on Mon, 13/03/2023 - 08:51


I do not think this myopic view of the role women play and how they are treated is neither accurate nor helpful.

Many womwn do not want to work in physically demanding jobs which is precisely why certain companies and organisations have a fewer number of females representing them.

Those more comfortable office jobs (your picture above is very appropriate by the way), are also by women who need a considerable amount of time off due to child care - which is why they are mostly paid less or not even employed as many managers need staff who are far more reliable and permanant in these roles.

As for your claim that women are more likely to be ignored when complaining of health issues ..................Where in god´s name did you get that from?

Hi Petrichor11

The British Council is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. You can read more about our policy here.

The research about women in pain was carried out by the BBC. You can read more about it here.


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by bianca87 on Wed, 08/03/2023 - 13:53


All over the world, gender gap is higher. In Portugal we still have a long way to go for equal rights.

Submitted by Rosecler on Mon, 06/03/2023 - 21:25


In my country despite some improvements, in my opinion, there are a lot of things to do. Every day we see news when women are victims of their husbands or partners and in some cases killed. When we talk in terms of leadership in companies, 38% are occupied by women, according to research from 2022.

Submitted by Emily Heredia on Wed, 01/03/2023 - 17:14


In my country, Venezuela the women have improve their access to education and they are more free to select choices for jobs and other things. However, still they need to fight for rights about abortion, because in this country still is a crime and the woman can go to jail.

I think we should fight abortion laws and guarantee the right to decide whether to give birth or not. We also need to guarantee that the law ensures healthcare for all women.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Wed, 27/04/2022 - 12:58


How have things changed for women in your country? What still needs to change?
in my country, there is no difference between men and women. women also do everything and they also give votes and do business. women get whatever they want. there is no rule here every woman work and do our best

I think the role of the women today has changed a lot,even thoung we follow doing the same things in our homes, but we can do many things at the same time, in some cases better than men,I know there are jobs especifically to men because they require strength.

Submitted by sibi on Thu, 21/04/2022 - 20:19


The role of women in my country has started to change positively.We see these changes in society,politics etc.Nowadays there are more women participating in politics than a few decades ago when the number of women participating was very small.A negative side is the old mentality about the role of women which has not completely disappeared as there aree still people who believe that men are more important and powerful than women.

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Wed, 23/06/2021 - 08:27

In my country,there are many things which have been changed for women today.As our leader is a women, we try to become like her in each particular field.Women become free and successful in various departments than last century.