“Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less.”
— Myra Pollack Sadker
March is Women’s History Month. Established by US Congress in 1987, the month presents a great opportunity to celebrate the vital role of women in the shaping of American history.
The story of women and how they have shaped our society is more topical and relevant than ever – especially to the futures of the girls we teach. So let’s dive in!
What is Women’s History Month?
Women’s History Month highlights women’s contributions to history and their role in shaping society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, during October in Canada.
Women’s History Month in the US
Women’s History Month was started in 1987 in the United States to recognize all women for their valuable contributions to history and society The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum all join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Their joint website includes a teacher’s guide about women’s suffrage.
Smithsonian Magazine has put together a section on Women Who Shape History: Education Resources, with a comprehensive list of lesson plans and other teaching materials on women’s history in America.
Curriki’s Women’s History month resources will keep you busy this month:
- The National Women’s History Project – The National Women’s History Project 4 celebrates the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing informational services and educational and promotional materials.
The Project website says Women’s History Month “presents the opportunity to honor women who have shaped America’s history and its future through their tireless commitment to ending discrimination against women and girls.”
“Recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life – science, community, government, literature, art, sports, medicine – has a huge impact on the development of self-respect and new opportunities for girls and young women,” says the site.
The resources section of the NWHP website is packed with info, including the Women’s Rights Movement section, a Women’s History Month Quiz and more.
National Women’s History Museum – The National Women’s History Museum affirms the value of knowing Women’s History, illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women and men, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future.
- Harriet Tubman: A Portrait of Determination – This integrated, thematic fourth-grade Social Studies and Science unit will take students into a world of desperation, inspiration, and determination as it looks at slavery the Underground Railroad and Tubman’s role.
- Art Lesson: An Homage to Frida Kahlo: Self-Portrait – This lesson introduces elementary grades 2-5 to the life and work of Frida Kahlo.
- Women in Literature – This module is designed to be an elective English course that introduces students to writing about important female characters, by both men and women authors. Students will critically examine the tradition of women’s roles in literature over time, deconstruct the all-encompassing images of women in literature, and analyze the ways that authors define women’s experiences. Women in Literature 2009 – 2010
- Women and Education – From gaining the rights to vote and to own property to contemporary issues like wage gaps, feminism has been a topic of debate for decades. This video lesson from Learn Liberty explores the history of feminism and how economic and social freedom can improve the lives of women.
- Feminism: A New Perspective, from Learn Liberty, 9 explores the history of feminism and how economic and social freedom can improve the lives of women when government actions fail. It covers education, marriage, divorce, economic freedom, labor and more.