International Women’s Day (IWD) is held annually on March 8 to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.
The IWD 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual: Each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.
As individuals, we’re all responsible for our thoughts and actions and we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.
How will you support #EachforEqual?
In recent years many milestones have been reached and many barriers have been broken down, but there are still many basic rights to be won, especially in the world’s most disadvantaged areas.
To celebrate this day we’re going to pay tribute to five great women who have done a lot for mankind.
Thanks to them, our world is now a slightly better place.
Read the following brief descriptions of these five important women and then check out the new vocabulary.
She was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1867. She moved to Paris where she met her husband, Pierre Curie. Together they discovered the elements polonium and radium. After Pierre’s death, she continued her scientific work and went on to become the first female Head of Laboratory at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She was the first person ever to win two Nobel Peace Prizes: the Nobel Peace Prize for Physics in 1903 and the Nobel Peace Prize for Chemistry in 1911.
- Head: the person in charge of something (in this case, a laboratory).
- Physics: the scientific study of forces such as heat, light, sound, pressure, gravity and electricity, and the way they affect objects.
She was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1913. She began the modern civil rights movement after refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in 1955. She was arrested and fined. Later on she boycotted the city’s bus company. Finally her actions caused the Supreme Court to put out a law against racial segregation on public transportation. Later on she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize.
- Civil rights: the rights that people have in society to equal treatment and equal opportunities, whatever their sex, race or religion.
- To give up: if you give up something that you have or that you are entitled to, you allow someone else to have it.
- To be fined: to be punished by being ordered to pay a sum of money for doing something illegal or breaking a rule.
- To put out: to make something known to a lot of people injured: with physical damage to one’s body, usually due to an accident or fighting.
She was born in Florence, Italy, in 1820. In 1854, after reading many reports about the poor treatment of sick and injured soldiers in the Crimean War, she travelled to Crimea to see it for herself and discovered the hospitals were crowded and dirty. She used her knowledge of maths and statistics to show the British government that providing better conditions for sick and injured soldiers would help them win the war. She helped create modern nursing techniques.
- Crowded: full of people.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta
She was born in 1910 in Skopje (Macedonia). She became a nun in 1937 and in 1950 founded the Missionaries of Charity congregation. They ran hospices, orphanages and charity centres and she devoted her whole life to caring for the poor, the disabled, the sick and the homeless. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
- Nun: woman, member of a convent.
- Hospice: care home for the terminally ill.
- To devote: to spend, to dedicate.
- To care for: to look after.
- Disabled: someone with an illness, injury, or condition that tends to restrict the way that they can live their life, especially by making it difficult for them to move about.
- Homeless: with nowhere to live.
Maria Montessori was born in Ancona, Italy, in 1870. She was the first woman to become a physician in Italy. She worked with mentally handicapped children, figuring out the best methods to interact with them. In 1907 Maria set up “Children’s Houses” for young children where she applied her teaching method which proved to be very successful for children of all ages. This method came to be called the Montessori method and is currently widely used in schools in both Europe and North America.
- Physician: doctor
- To figure out: to work out
- To set up: to create
Have the stories of these women inspired you?
Education has been key for them to succeed and become role models who continue to inspire us today.
You too can make a change for yourself and the people around you by broadening your knowledge in the areas that matter to you.
Why don’t you take up an English course, for instance? Speaking English will open many doors and help you thrive in this globalized world.
Continue visiting our blog, download the app, or sign up for our online English course where you’ll find hundreds of lessons and other resources to help you achieve the goal of speaking English.
And remember: We can all choose to be #EachforEqual.