The 2019 theme for Women’s History Month is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.” As we move through the month of March it is only fitting that we turn everyone’s attention to the significant role women have played in the history of our nation and the world.
It is particularly fitting that we celebrate since at this time now there are more women elected to public office than any other time in history. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, 127 women serve in Congress, representing 23.7 percent of the seats. Nine women will serve as governor in 2019, including one woman of color, and state legislatures continue to be the most open, with a new record of 29.8 percent of seats in 2019 held by women (Quick Take: Women in Government 2019).
Here are a few ideas to help students explore HERstory.
Sites to Visit
Womenhistory.org is a treasure trove of resources including downloadable posters featuring women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; women for equality; and African American women who fought for change. An example of women included are Antonia Novello, the first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General of the United States; Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, the first female instructor in the Physics Department at Princeton University; Edith Clarke, the first female electrical engineer in the United States; and Addie Wyatt, a member of the United Packinghouse Workers of America. Addie Wyatt was the first African American female president of a United Packinghouse Workers of America local. She later became the vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, as a result she was the first African American woman in a leadership position in an international union. Wyatt co-founded the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974 and was a founding member of the National Organization of Women.
The site also features an interactive timeline and electronic field trips (links below):
- Timeline: Woman Suffrage Timeline
- Timeline: Women’s Rights in the Early Republic
- Electronic Field Trips
The Library of Congress’s Womenshistorymonth.gov site features an online exhibit of portraits of nineteenth century African American women activists, including Lillian Thomas Fox, Nannie Burroughs, and nurses assigned to duty in England. This collection offers students a glimpse of some historical figures that are not as widely known.
The Smithsonian Learning Lab Women’s History Month Collection provides curated groups of resources that include images, such as artwork, photographs, video, audio, articles, books, and in some instances downloadable lesson plans, online exhibition websites; to access these resources, you only need to create a free account.
Recommended HERStory Reads
Harrison, Vashti. 2017. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. NY: Little, Brown and Company.
Stiehm, J. H. 2018. Champions for Peace: Women Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Sherman, Patrice. 2018. Aung San Suu Kyi: Peaceful Resistance to the Burmese Military Junta. NY: Cavendish Square.
Vegara, Isabel. 2018. Mother Teresa (Little People Big Dreams). London: Lincoln Children’s Books.
Yousafzai, Malala. 2019. We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls around the World. NY: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Celebrate HERstory! I would love to know how you celebrate Women’s History Month. Post a comment and share.
*The image for the post features Nannie Helen Burroughs. She founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington DC in 1909. For additional information visit https://www.nps.gov/people/nannie-helen-burroughs.htm.
Author: Michelle Easley
Michelle Easley is the author of How to Increase Diversity in School Library Collections and Programs. Michelle is a national presenter, diversity and library advocate, consultant and speaker. Michelle spends her free time volunteering with homeless youth.