International Women's Day is celebrated every year on the 8th March, with thousands of events occurring around the world to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Below are some of our top picks for this year. Each article, interactive or free course will teach you about the most influential women of our time and the struggle for equality.
Explore some of the female trailblazers in science, technology, engineering and maths and honour them by taking on a career in these fields (or inspire a young woman or girl to do that instead!).
NASA/Bob Nye under Creative-Commons license
Katherine Johnson: NASA mathematician and much-needed role model
Katherine Johnson, who in February 2020 died at the age of 101, was an amazing woman. But up until a few years ago, hardly anyone had heard of her or her achievements. Professor Monica Grady explores her amazing legacy.Read now ❯Katherine Johnson: NASA mathematician and much-needed role model
Mathematics isn't solely the pursuit of men. We should celebrate great thinkers like Emmy Noether and the superb work of women in mathematics todayRead now ❯Emmy Noether: Bucking the historical trends
Empower female athletes and take a look at some of the challenges for women in sport and recognise their contribution.
Ever thought about sports and wondered, but what about for a woman? These articles cover specific topics concerning women in sport, considering questions such as, what if Eliod Kipchoge was a woman? Are women leaders the key to growing women’s sport? What about motherhood, what are the challenges in returning to sport or starting up a new sport?Read now ❯Women in sport
The mass media (e.g. radio, TV, internet) has become one of the most powerful institutional influences in society. This free course, Sporting women in the media, explores whether gendered inequalities exist in sport by evaluating the media coverage. The media can be highly influential in shaping perceptions about gender in sport and headlines indicative of differences in how male and female athletes are regarded in the media. In the course you’ll examine messages that the media send us about gender in sport, their potential impact and how gender ideologies can be challenged.Learn more ❯Sporting women in the media
‘If I can see it, I can be it.’ Are women leaders the key to growing women’s sport?Read now ❯Are women leaders the key to growing women’s sport?
From menopause to abortion, from suicide to the sexual revolution – dig deeper into some of the social factors that have influenced women’s health.
This free course, Exploring issues in women's health, will introduce social model approaches to health and wellbeing, which take as their starting point not the scientific context of the body, but the social context in which women live. The focus is on women and the impact of social and cultural factors on women's health. The course touches on various issues concerning women's health, such as abortion, periods, the menopause, mental health and fertility.Learn more ❯Exploring issues in women's health
The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
Why do women need abortions?
As abortion becomes legal in Northern Ireland, we look back at our video collection on women's abortion experiences based on Open University research that shows how an unintended and unwanted pregnancy can easily happen, even when women are using contraception.Watch now ❯Why do women need abortions?
Professor of Classical Studies Helen King takes a look at historic beliefs around menstrual periods.Watch now ❯Four weird ideas people used to have about women’s periods
Be inspired by some extraordinary women from across the world who challenged inequality and broke patriarchal rules.
This free course focuses on one example of democratic protest: the campaign to extend the vote to women in the UK. In the course you'll be introduced to two key figures in the campaign, Ada Nield Chew and May Billinghurst, and you'll look at the ways in which the Women's Social and Political Union, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and the First World War shaped and affected the battle for the vote.Learn more ❯The history of female protest and suffrage in the UK
Make efforts to smash that glass ceiling and find out what can be done to make your workplace more inclusive.
Copyright free: Public domain image via Wikicommons
How can we stop science, engineering and technology losing talented women?
There's still a massive gender imbalance in university STEM subjects. What can be done to address this? Clem Herman has some ideas...Read now ❯How can we stop science, engineering and technology losing talented women?
This free badged course, Working in diverse teams, will help you consider your experience of working in teams and the different roles you play in them. It will increase your confidence in marketing this key skill to employers as well improve your ability to perform well in teams you are currently part of.Learn more ❯Working in diverse teams
Do women have a need for feminism in a Britain where they can enjoy porn while men help out with childcare? It might be too soon to assume the arguments have been settled, warns Stephanie Taylor.Read now ❯Proper men, proper women: Gender roles in contemporary UK society
Ever fancied a job in engineering, law or mathematics? Go for it – but before you might like to gain some inspiration from the resources below.
Explore the first century of women in the UK’s legal professions.Take part now ❯Biography of the first female judges
Mathematics can be hard enough without having to face any additional challenges. Discover what issues women have had to overcome to gain equality.Take part now ❯What do you know about the gender gap in maths?
Continue your learning with a free course
This free course introduces Virginia Woolf’s last novel, Between the Acts (1941), with the aim of understanding how she writes about time, memory, and ideas about identity. It also considers why Woolf’s fiction is often considered difficult. Selected extracts from her essays on writing help to clarify some of these perceived difficulties, illuminating complex patterning and structure in this fictional account of an English village, on a day in June in 1939.Learn more ❯Exploring Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts
This free course, Janis Joplin and the Sexual Revolution, will introduce you to issues around the sexual revolution and how this, and other contemporary social revolutions of the 1960s, impacted upon American rock musician Janis Joplin (1943-1970). You will investigate the extent to which the contemporary sexual revolution brought about greater gender equality for female popular musicians such as Janis Joplin, and consider whether it might be more accurate to view this as a superficial revolution which masked the reality of continued sexual conservatism. You do not need to play an instrument, to sing, to read music or have any prior musical knowledge to be able to complete this course. This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course A113 Revolutions.Learn more ❯Janis Joplin and the Sexual Revolution
In this free course, The American Civil Rights Movement, you will learn about the mass movement for racial equality in the United States that reached its zenith during the 1950s and 1960s. During this turbulent period in United States history, black Americans sought to overturn deeply entrenched systems of racial segregation and discrimination. This course discusses the key events in this campaign for social justice, drawing on a wide range of primary sources. In doing so, it assesses the achievements, shortcomings and revolutionary qualities of the civil rights movement. Use of racial language and terms This course deals with topics involving racial issues. Since the societies being studied were characterised by deeply-held and widespread racist views, this course contains language that is also racist. Although these may provoke a strong personal response, we believe it is necessary to engage with such attitudes to reach a clear understanding of the past. This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course A113 Revolutions.Learn more ❯The American Civil Rights Movement
None of these take your fancy? Why not browse through our full selection here. With over 1000 free courses available, there is something for everyone.