Lesson 45: International Women’s Day (Level 2+)

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural and political successes worldwide. The observance falls on March 8.

International Women’s Day events around the world are aimed at supporting women’s causes. A major campaign theme this year is #PressforProgress.

A group called ‘Women for Women International’ operates in countries affected by war. The group has planned International Women’s Day activities in places like the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is organizing marches and programs to celebrate the power of women.

A report on gender equality by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum, has stated that it will take more than 200 years for women to reach what it calls gender parity with men. Researchers examined areas like economic opportunity, education, health and political empowerment.

In a short video, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke about International Women’s Day. He said, “The empowerment of women is our most important objective.” Guterres called the issue of empowerment the greatest human rights challenge of our time.

Recent movements like #MeToo and TimesUp have encouraged people to publicly share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. Many women have come forward to accuse well-known and powerful men in the industries of film, politics and more.

A day with a long history

International Women’s Day has been observed in one way or another for more than a 100 years.

Possibly the earliest observance took place in the United States in 1909. A group of about 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City to demand shorter work hours, better pay and voting rights. Since then, the event has developed into “a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.”

In 1911, people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland celebrated the first International Women’s Day on March 19. More than one million women and men attended demonstrations in support of a woman’s right to work, vote, study and hold public office.

The United Nations officially recognized International Women’s Day for the first time in 1975.

Words in This Story

theme – n. the main subject being discussed or dealt with
gender – n. the state of being male or female
parity – n. a state of being equal
challenge – n. a test or a difficult problem to be dealt with
harassment – n. making repeated attacks against someone or something
submit – v. to present or propose something for consideration to someone else​
achievement – n. the result of an effort; success

(source: voanews.com)

Exercise: Words that are easily confused

The word ‘affect’ means ‘to change.’ The article mentions countries that have been affected by war. This simply means countries that have been changed by war.
The word affect can easily be confused with effect.
Effect’ means a result, or to bring about a result.
Example: His protest had no effect. Things continued in the same way as before. Here you could more or less substitute ‘effect’ with ‘result.

There are a lot of words in English that look or sound alike but have very different meanings.

Here are a few:

Accept- to agree to take something, to say yes to an offer or invitation
Except- not including

Aloud- out loud
Allowed- permitted

Brake- a device for stopping a vehicle, to stop a vehicle
Break- to separate into pieces, to pause

What is the difference between ‘bear’ and ‘bare,’ ‘ coarse’ and ‘course,’ ‘loose,’ and ‘lose,’ ‘pole’ and ‘poll,’ and ‘desert’ and ‘dessert.’

Can you think of any other word pairs that are easily confused?