What does Women’s day mean to you? For some, it may mean motherhood, a caretaker, a nurturer. For others, a woman may mean a princess or a warrior. A woman may be the definition of strength and for others, the embodiment of brains and tenacity. Others may view women as the weaker sex, subject to victimization. What does the word WOMEN mean for your students? What are the boys’ perspectives? How does it differ from the girls’ experience? Do they feel empowered as women? What does WOMEN mean to you?
What is Women’s Rights?
March 8 is International Women’s day. The world has been honoring women on this day for over 100 years. But what does International Women’s day mean? “International Women’s Day is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres. The day also brings attention to gender parity and women’s rights. The global celebration of International Women’s Day is a time for reflection of how far women have come, advocacy for what is still needed, and action to continue breaking down barriers. With over a century of history, IWD is a growing movement centered around unity and strength.” 2 Despite a century of celebrating women, we are still 99.5 years away from gender parity, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020. 3 This number is daunting. How and what can we do to make a difference in such a complicated issue for the world.
“In the past 50 years, 85 states have had no female head of state. In terms of economic participation, the gender gap will take 257 years to close (compared to 202 years in the 2019 report). Globally, only 55% of women (aged 15-64) are engaged in the labor market as opposed to 78% of men. There are 72 countries where women are barred from opening bank accounts or obtaining credit. There is no country where men spend the same amount of time on unpaid work as women. In countries where the ratio is lowest, it is still 2:1.”World Economic Forum
The role of educators in Women’s Rights
Educators have a fundamental role to play in Women’s’ Rights today, and through this channel, we can change the course for women’s’ rights in the future. “Teachers can use International Women’s Day as an important opportunity to educate and inspire children about the role of women in society.” 1 We have the honor to be able to initiate change and spark passion in the minds of our students. In this way, we can direct our students to question gender disparity worldwide and seek out to make a positive change in this world. “Classroom education about gender equality is the most grassroots difference anyone can make.” 1
How can we incorporate Women’s Day into the classroom?
How can we incorporate International Women’s Day in the curriculum? Below are some points that will spark conversation about Woman’s Rights within the classroom.
Take a trip down history lane
- Highlight the trajectory that women’s’ rights have had through the course of history as well as women’s rights today. Make a note of the gaps that remain for gender parity.
- Research amazing women throughout history, highlighting the obstacles they have overcome despite gender disparity.
- Have students interview one another or important women in their lives. Invite students to dig deep to document moments that the person in question has felt made ‘less than’ her male counterparts or judged for merely being a woman.
Take a look into other countries and cultures
- Research the state of women’s rights in different countries and cultures. Have children compare gender disparity between their home and other countries.
- Brainstorm with your students’ concrete actions that these countries may take to create positive outcomes for women’s rights. Discuss what can we do here where we live, to enhance women’s rights in other countries. Sparking conversation is vital.
Dive into reality
- What are the stereotypes that women face today? There is a constant need to label women via our emotions. Educators should reinforce the notion that women nor any gender should be defined or limited by the way they look, where they were born, or how they act. Brainstorm some of the ways that women can breech the box they are continually being forced into by society.
- Invite students to write a story from the female perspective. The idea is to get the children to imagine the daily obstacles that a woman may face. Have students make a note of the challenges women may face and ways that they can overcome these challenges.
- Invite your students to actively speak out for women’s rights not only on International Women’s day but every day. One way can be by posting supportive messages via social media. Use some of the following hashtags #IWD2020 #EachforEqual #GenerationEquality
International Woman’s’ Day has a plethora of resources available for educators. Go ahead and take a look. We know you will not be disappointed.
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