Global Learning Programme Wales

International Women's Day


International Women's Day takes place every year on 8th March. It is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality – one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. This year’s campaign asks everyone to #PressforProgress in order to achieve a more gender-inclusive world.

The Global Learning Programme in Wales (GLP-W) has created this resource to support teachers wishing to develop their pupils’ knowledge of interdependence and equality, while encouraging them to consider the concepts of fairness, agency, rights, respect and social justice, and how individuals can make a difference.

Learning objectives

This resource is targeted particularly at Key Stages 2 and 3 and 4, with some opportunities for older pupils. It will particularly support teachers in developing:

It will also help teachers to investigate how women have worked to make the world more just and sustainable; contributed to development, the reduction of poverty, and sustainability; and challenged injustice.

Resources and links

International Women’s Day:


UN Women with this interesting infographic and YouTube channel

UN HeForShe:

Activity ideas

1. Girls' and women's rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (also known as the Global Goals) were launched in September 2015, with the targets due to be achieved by 2030. If the goals are achieved, then more children will go to school, fewer people will die from preventable diseases, and girls and women will have the same opportunities as boys and men. This resource focuses in particular on Global Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Suggested activity resource: girls, women and the SDGs

Aim: To understand the SDGs and the links with women and development

Activity links

Development and the SDGs

2. Giving girls a voice through education 

Since 2000 there has been much progress in tackling poverty and development; however, there is still a long way to go, in particular in supporting girls and young women. For example, the UN reported in 2013 that in many countries:


Education plays a key role in overcoming poverty all around the world; for example, girls who receive an education are more likely to access better jobs and earn higher salaries, which can help lift their families out of poverty. Educated girls are more likely to wait until a later age to be married and have children, which means both they and their children are more likely to be healthy. They are also more likely to understand their rights and speak out to claim them, including the right to protection against violence. Each extra year of schooling can help increase a girl’s prospective wages by up to one fifth (Source: DfID).

Plan UK (2012 Youth Summary) lists a number of barriers to girls’ education, largely in developing and emerging countries, including:


Empowering girls to engage in meaningful participation and decision-making about their lives ensures that their views and rights are taken into account, and that the decisions made will be more likely to improve children’s lives. Engaging in participation is also important for a child’s development into a responsible adult and an active citizen in their society, wherever they are in the world.

Suggested activity resource: education for empowerment

Aim: To understand the importance of education in terms of impact on girls' life chances, and choices and links to a development

Aim: To understand the importance of empowerment through education

Activity links









The British Council

The Girl Effect:

Plan International:

Pathways of Empowerment:

 He named me Malala

3. Patterns of gender inequality

 The reasons for gender inequality

Gender inequality is a significant barrier to girls around the world, including the UK, living their lives freely, and fulfilling their potential in a safe and enabling environment. It is a highly complex issue, with many of its roots in traditional social norms and perceptions of the place, status and role of women. Today, many girls and women face inequality both in having a voice in decisions that affect them, and in their ability to make choices about their lives. The results of this are very significant on a global scale, as Women Deliver suggest. Half the world’s population are women, and yet:

Investing in girls can be transformational – for their family, their community and for their country. Investing in girls and women is good for them in their own right but can also translate into better educated and healthier children, breaking the cycle of poverty across generations. So investing in girls and women is widely seen as a priority for development.

Suggested activity resource: education for empowerment

Aim: To understand the importance of education in terms of impact on girls' life chances, and choices and links to a development

Activity links

British Council

Women Deliver

Women Stats

Awra Amba


UK government case studies

4. Understanding the International Rights Framework

Children all around the world have rights, no matter where they live. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) details what these are, aiming to protect these vulnerable members of society from exploitation. It is the responsibility of governments to see that these rights are upheld; however, in many places, they are not. For example, UNICEF suggests that over 100 million children worldwide carry out dangerous work, often away from their families, rather than going to school.

Child rights are a set of freedoms that are protected, for example the freedom to have an education, or the freedom to practise your own religion. Understanding children’s rights, and in particular girls’ rights, helps us to understand why it is important to support them in making choices for themselves, and in having a voice in decisions that affect them.

Suggested activity resource: understanding human rights

Aim: To understand the background and principles behind human rights

Aim: To encourage pupils to think about what their priorities are in terms of rights

Activity links

Children’s Rights Wales: Welsh Government site including videos, activity sheets, games and other resources focused on the UNCRC.

Amnesty International





British Council: ‘Connecting Classrooms – gender equality through citizenship’; Lesson 3


5. Proposing a solution

Now that your pupils have examined the causes and impacts of their chosen topic or issue, you might ask them to start looking at what needs to change to support girls to have a voice, choice and control. One option is to make a presentation to show how their proposal:

In proposing a solution your pupils might consider some or all of the following:

Further Activities

Appendix 1: Activity – scoring gender equality

Pupils look at a data set of statistics about gender equality and make comparisons between different types of scores. This may support lessons in mathematics and numeracy related to handling data and lessons in geography when investigating patterns of gender and development.

You will need:

Introductory activities

Build up the big picture by investigating which countries are in the data set.

Discussions with pupils may draw out some key ideas such as the following:


Average years in school The average years of education a woman has had
Share of seats in parliament The % of MPs who are women
Women in the workforce The % of women working or looking for work
Life expectancy How many years a baby girl can expect to live
Gender score The lower the score, the more equal women and men are
Deaths in childbirth The number of mothers who die in every 100,000 births
GDP per person The income of a person in $, divided by the number of people

Appendix 2: What about the library?[1]

This activity enables teachers to investigate the books pupils can access in their school library. Through being on the library shelves, books are being recommended to the pupils by the school. The library audit gives teachers an overview, enabling them to determine which books provide a balanced view of the world, locally and globally.

You could inspire your pupils with the story of 11-year-old Marley Dias. Her #1000blackgirlbooks appeal grew from her frustration of only being given stories ‘about white boys and their dogs’. She started her own collection of books with representations of black girls. Take a look at this list of books featuring black girls.

Download the RISC’s ‘What about the library?’ activity.

Start by considering the extent to which the books:

To mark International Women’s Day, you could ask pupils to look at the non-fiction section of the library, and compare the number of biographies of men and women. Alternatively, pupils could audit the images and content of geography, history or PSE textbooks.

Idea for further activities:

Key Stage 2: Make a list of missing biographies of women and ask the school to buy them or fundraise for them.

Key Stages 2/3: #PressforProgress! Follow IWD’s 2018 theme and write a persuasive letter to your school’s librarian or head teacher to convince them to buy more books about women. You could use the Send My Friend to School activity sheet for ideas on how to write a convincing speech.

[1] Activity based on RISC’s How do we know it’s working?

Appendix 3: Case study template

Download it here.


Resource created by the Geographical Association and DECSY for the Global Learning Programme Wales.