March 8th: International Women’s Day

A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, which became an International Day of the United Nations in 1977. Every year, this occasion reminds us to celebrate women’s achievements but also to take action for equal rights and opportunities in challenging stereotypes and bias, forging a gender-equal world. Visualising the data reveals the unequal representation of women in today’s society. Only 53 among the 900 individuals that have been awarded the Noble Prize are women. Only 24,9% of the world’s parliamentarians and only 6,6 % of the global CEO’s are women. Compared to men, women earn 23% less and are thus at a greater risk for social stratification. 

This years motto #GenerationEquality #ChooseToChallenge led me to count the number of entries by female authors on our platform. The truth is, we do feature a great variety of women’s writers and illustrators on Lit4School English – to be correct 109 in total. Equality, however, is not reached yet, when we compare this number to 191 entries by male authors. Our commitment to the future is to focus on a more balanced representation, to reach gender equality on Lit4School. 

If you have a suggestion for a female author, which is not featured on our platform yet and should be taught in school, please, suggest an entry.


On July 21st, Hemingway would have turned 122 years, and of course, this date is often used as an excellent occasion to remind people of the genius he was.

Yet, Lit4School likes to take the opportunity to remember Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway’s third wife and one of the most adventurous women. She was the only woman who experienced the D-Day on the spot and attended the liberation of Dachau. She founded and renovated her and Hemingway’s home in Cuba, the Watchtower Farm, after their stay in Spain as war correspondents during the Civil War. Her braveness and continuous outstanding journalistic work are honoured in the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. It is awarded annually for journalists writing in the style of Martha Gellhorn, which she understood herself as a “view from the ground”: Capturing human stories that, on the one hand, shake up official news reported in magazines and newspapers, and on the other hand, reveal humanity in places and times on which the world refuses to look closer at.

Her relationship with Hemingway started in Spain as clandestine love in the 1930s: Only a mile away from one of the fronts in the Spanish Civil War and always in danger of getting hit by shell attacks. Also, Hemingway was still married to his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, and they had two sons. Hemingway and Gellhorn had lived in an on-and-off relationship until they married in 1940. But their marriage was overshadowed by Hemingway’s seek for domestication, which he soon became bored of, and Gellhorn’s wish to continue reporting of struggles all over the world. Finally, in 1945, after unsteady years of marriage, she said that she has enough and divorced. Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman. Especially in the case of Ernest and Martha, it is exciting leaving the well-known paths of Hemingway and investigate the life and achievements of the woman who influenced his life and works.


You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. […] Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.” – Maya Angelou, Still I Rise (1978)

These empowering lines originate from the pen of award-winning author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Born on April 4, 1928, Marguerite Annie Johnson experienced sexual assault as a child and became involved in the sex industry as a young woman. Angelou suffered from racial injustices of the Jim Crow Laws in the American South and fought together with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in the Civil Rights Movement. Her autobiographies and poems have been internationally recognised and been used for educational purposes ever since. On Lit4School we feature four of her poems: Still I RiseCaged BirdPhenomenal Woman and Amazing Peace as well as her inspiring autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). Her works often feature encouraging speakers and passages demanding for protest and resistance against injustice, racial or gender stereotyping and discrimination, while also exploring female identity, family and loss. Angelou’s inspiring writing is suitable for interdisciplinary teaching projects on racism and segregation and should also be related to current cases of police violence against people of colour in the US or the Black Lives Matter protest movement.

Happy Easter, kind regards and stay safe everyone!