Women’s History is often brushed over or touched on slightly by school textbooks. They don’t spend a lot of time recognizing the inequalities that women faced. But Women’s History Month gives us the opportunity to put down the textbook and teach Women’s History as the main focus of the lessons.
Women’s History Month Skipped
When I was in high school I remember reading bits of women’s history in textbooks, but often it was only a paragraph or two. The work of amazing women has been condensed to almost nothing. I remember thinking that there should be more written about it. I also remember when I was reading biographies in school I didn’t jump for the great women in history. As I reflect back on it now, I can only think that it’s because over my years in school, men were more predominant and valued. That mentality seeped into my life. I didn’t see women valued in history so I didn’t value them either. As an adult, I love reading about amazing and strong women who change the world and make a huge difference in their fields of work.
Women’s History Month Can Change the Future
Just because women’s history has been brushed aside in the past it doesn’t mean it needs to continue. Teachers can take full advantage of women’s history month and show students the work of women is valued. This does mean that you may take a break from the curriculum for a day or so, but it will be worth it to start to show your students the importance of women’s history.
What is Women’s History?
Women’s history is the fight for gender equality between men and women in the United States. For generations, women have been considered lesser people with fewer rights than men. In 1776 Abigail Adams began the fight, as our country began, pleading with her husband to “remember the ladies.” She wanted more rights for women from the start of our nation. For most of history, women needed husbands to survive. Women were expected to care for the home and the child. Once women gained the right to vote some changes occurred in other areas too. It was a pivotal moment in Women’s History.
There were more work opportunities, but women could be fired if they got married or had children. Women needed a male signer for credit applications. More women were able to get divorced, but they probably wouldn’t get custody of their children and would have to deal with judgment from the community. There was progress being made during these years, but the fight was long from over. Gaining some rights was not achieving equality, so the fight that started when our nation began continues.
More Activities for Women’s History Month
How to Embrace Women’s History Month
Women’s History is only a small portion of history. It intertwines with many other big world events. But Women’s History is the history of about half the world. The world population is close to 50/50 between males and females. There are countries that are more male-dominant and countries that are more female-dominant. However, our textbooks are full of male-dominant history, which sends the message to men and women alike that the history of men is more important. It says that Women’s History can be fit into small paragraphs here and there.
We can change this though by making our students focus on Women’s History for a few days. Depending on your school’s format it could be during Women’s History month, but it could also be anytime that you decide to focus on Women’s History at a point that makes sense in your curriculum. Start focusing on Women’s History in your classroom this year.
Here are a few lesson ideas to get you started. What I love about these lessons is that they are research and writing based, which means that it’s not a lot of prep work for you. It gives your students a chance to explore Women’s History and really learn about it.
Women’s History spans centuries and is made up of many events. It’s a difficult task to teach it all especially if you have to keep up with the school’s curriculum at the same time. In this Women’s History Biography Project each student selects one woman to research. The students will learn everything they can about one woman who changed history. Then students get to decide how they will share their research with the class. Essentially your students will educate each other using the method they think they will be the most successful with. It gives your students more responsibility and choice. I also helps to keep the presentations interesting.
A huge turning point in Women’s History was the Women’s Rights Movement. Suffragettes worked tirelessly for the right to vote and greater equality. However, most textbooks simplify the events that took place. In this project, students will research a specific year(s) and become an expert on those events. Then students will create slides for a presentation or book pages of their years. Then students will share their research with the class. This is a great way to help students understand women’s rights more in-depth.
Writing a classic biography can be a bit boring to write and grade. In this Women’s History Month Project students will pick a woman who impacted history, research that person in great detail, and then create a timeline. This timeline can be a digital slideshow project or it can be a book. Either way, students are going to learn about and create a timeline about a woman who impacted history. Then students get to present what they learned to the class. It’s a great way to help students learn about some incredible historical figures on an in-depth and personal level.
Women’s History Month
Teach more about women’s history in your classroom to show all your students that women’s history is valued and that it deserves more attention. Children should know about the women who paved the way for the rights they currently have and the rights that are still being battled for.
Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry
I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing. Here is an entire lesson for FREE. My Our School Poem guides students on how to use sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.