International Women's Day

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took a historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Over many decades, the UN has made significant progress in advancing gender equality and on every March 8th they focus on a theme to keep on advancing towards achieving gender equality. 

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2017, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. The website is, as usual, a superb source for educators but I would like to recommend the section called "From where I stand", a collection of stories of women around the world who are bringing real change regarding gender equality.

I wanted to contribute to the celebration of March 8th in our classrooms through a lesson plan based on a film. Why? I would say that sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in  films are known to all. However,  there are those films that shine the spotlight on those whose names were known to only a few, but whose stories deserve to be told. This is the case with "Hidden figures", which tells the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.

One of these women,  98-year-old Katherine Johnson,  is a true hero who was totally hidden until this film was released and I would like to pay my humble tribute to her and to all hidden women whose deeds should be known to all. The starting point of the lesson I have developed is Katherine's biography  but let me suggest using the uplifting Gospel song from the film as a warm-up:

If you wish, you can ask students to carry out a  fill in the gaps activity while they listen to the song. The complete version of the lyrics can be downloaded from here.

After listening to the song you will have created the environment to start this lesson plan on "Empowering Women in the changing world of work".

I hope my proposal will help your students to reflect on the need for gender equality regarding acknowledgement of work achievement. 

Downloadable resources for the lesson plan:

Handout for the student: Katherine's biography

Handout for the teacher: Katherine Johnson's biography

Handout for the student: biography writing frame

Handout for the student: feedback on peers'  presentations

Handout for the teacher: oral presentation rubrics for a biography

Handout for the student: listening activity


  1. Thank you for your interesting ideas and help.We will try to use them next week.Elisa and Teresa

    1. Thank you very much, Elisa and Teresa. Teachers and teacher trainers should work together to raise awareness of the need for gender equlity. Therefore, I am very grateful for your collaboration.


  2. Thank you for this interesting proposal. Why don't you do a poster about those hidden women and send to It Will Be published. We are trying to gather a collection of posters about hidden women. Have a look:

    (Any languages are accepted Basque, Spanish, English, French...)

  3. Thank you very much, Ana. I have already shared your proposal with teachers so that they can take part in it.

  4. Great Loli!!Thanks! I will share this contents to my teachers. Best wishes.Guiomar Silva (Portuguese school Director)

  5. I think the use of Hidden Women for International Women's Day is a great idea for a lesson. The biography writing frame is very useful and the rubrics for peer-marking are a very important part of "Knowing Myself".
    I would like to ask if teachers reading this will use the lesson for one piece of work or maybe make a theme for the week?

  6. Hi Zoe! Chemistry /Science teachers may like to spend just one session and use the video-clip on women who were important for their content area and the activities on it. For English teachers, I suggest developing the lesson plan I have prepared during a whole week. Thank you very much for your comment and your question.

  7. I liked the lesson plan International Women's Day 2017. I think that you did a great work planing this lesson and gathering all material.

  8. Thank you very much. I hope all of you will have the chance to celebrate March 8th in the classroom and outside the classroom too.

  9. I find it a very interesting lesson plan. It's about time that someone raised awareness of the role of women in society, specially in class. Thanks a lot, Loli

  10. Thank you very much, Ana. Educators have indeed a key role in raising awareness on this issue.

  11. I think that it is a very good proposal Loli. Varied activities and suitable for our students. The role of women in Science is something we don't have to forget.
    Thank you for all¡¡¡

  12. Thank you very much Loli. I used some bits and I am happy with it.

  13. Thanks a lot Loli! as always good adviser with very useful and practical tips!

  14. Wonderful Blog! Virtual International Women’s Day celebration has now become a growing need for all Corporate offices. We bring a virtual employee engagement program on women's day. This event is full of virtual women's day celebration activities, to acknowledge the achievements of women.