Established in 1987, Women's History Month is an opportunity to celebrate women's accomplishments in education, art, science, sports, leadership, and the countless areas in which they excel.
Great strides have been made for women's equality, but we just aren't there yet. Around the world, girls are still not educated at the same rate as boys. In many cultures, barriers and stigmas prevent girls from receiving an education. An old African proverb reads: "Educate a woman, educate a nation."
Women's History Month, which includes International Women's Day on March 8, enables us to educate the nation and the world on women's contributions, despite both the overt and hidden challenges they constantly overcome to this day.
Our students must understand the history of the inventions, records set, and accomplishments made by women; but they must also learn about those who contributed to great works throughout history, often unnamed women whose efforts were essential to the final product.
Three Ways to Celebrate Women's History Month
During women's history month, try to do more than just presenting your students with a list of women’s achievements or famous women who were activists, astronauts, or actors. Consider learning about the lives and contributions of women from various cultural backgrounds and of local women in your community. Connect women’s history to the current curriculum and identify women's roles in the content your class is studying.
As you explore how you’ll celebrate Women's History Month in your classroom, throughout your school, or in your district, keep these inspirational guidelines in mind:
- Recognize intersectionality: Women are not a homogeneous group of people. When highlighting a woman's successes, consider the other groups she may represent and the many aspects of her life that may play a role in her achievement. For example, while Kamala Harris is the first woman to be Vice President of the United States, she is also the first Black person and the first Asian-American to hold the office.
- Provide context for achievements: Students may need additional context around a particular accomplishment in history to appreciate its importance. Take Amelia Earhart’s story, for example. Flying overseas feels relatively commonplace today; however, given that she flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932, when flying on an airplane was rare for most people and women typically didn’t work outside the home, Earhart's success as a pilot was extraordinary.
- Identify ongoing firsts: Don't just dig back into the past to celebrate women who may be in your student's history textbooks, like Abigail Adams, the second First Lady of the United States, or who did things first, like Elizabeth Blackwell, America’s first woman doctor. Consider sharing the stories of women who are currently making history in their fields, such as Michelle Obama, American attorney, author, and the first Black First Lady, or Sarah Thomas, the first woman to officiate an NFL Super Bowl.
Women's history has shaped all of human history. When you share women's accomplishments with your students, you’re demonstrating that all contributions should be recognized and celebrated!