The Resilience and Leadership of Women | Facing History & Ourselves
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The Resilience and Leadership of Women

The stories and achievements of women past and present offer lessons on how each of us can work as upstanders and advocate for true gender equality.

March is Women's History Month, and this year’s theme is Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This annual celebration serves as a reminder of the significant role women have played in shaping our society.

Despite the gender inequality that has defined so much of US history—and that still pervades today—the resilience and leadership of women has led to groundbreaking achievements and pivotal moments in the American story. Celebrating women's history provides insight into how integral women are to shaping our world and offers inspiration and empowerment for current and future generations as we continue to move forward.  

Women experience inequality in society differently depending on how the multiple aspects of their identity intersect. Over time there has been a growing recognition of the intersectionality of women's experiences, acknowledging that gender inequality is not the only barrier women face. Women of color, LGBTQIA+ women, and women with disabilities have long been at the forefront of advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Their legacies are an essential part of the broader arc of women's history, highlighting the need for a more inclusive approach to gender equality.

But, Women's History Month is not just a commemoration, it is a call to action. We must all consider how we can work toward a more equitable and inclusive society for all. And we know that when we include different stories and viewpoints in our lessons, it helps create a fair and equal learning environment that encourages students to question stereotypes, champion equality, and play an active role in creating the future they want to see. 

In celebration of Women's History Month, Facing History is sharing these selected resources and lessons for you to use in your classroom that highlight empowering histories and the achievements and contributions of women.

Lesson: The Struggle over Women’s Rights
Students learn about the debate within the women’s rights movement over the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments.

Article: Black Woman Personhood and the Fifteenth Amendment
The Fifteenth Amendment explicitly states that the right to vote could not be “denied or abridged” based on race, but made no mention of gender. In the growing debate for women’s suffrage in the United States in the 1800s, the voices and experiences of Black women were not widely recognized as a part of the conversation, but Frances Ellen Watkins Harper advocated for a broader equality.

Article: Ketanji Brown Jackson and the Power of Representation
Explore the cultural and historic significance of the Supreme Court Justice nomination and appointment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Mini-Lesson: The Power of Representation: Patsy Takemoto Mink, Shirley Chisholm, and Kamala Harris
Learn about the groundbreaking careers of Patsy Takemoto Mink and Shirley Chisholm and consider the significance of Vice President Kamala Harris’s election.

Mini-Lesson: The Equal Rights Amendment: A 97-Year Struggle
Provide your class with this overview of the ERA and a look at the history behind the struggle to ratify the amendment that would formally guarantee women equal rights to men under the US Constitution.

Audio/Video: Stories to Honor Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month commemorates women’s groundbreaking contributions to society and culture. Listen to and share the stories of women who have loved hard, worked hard, and broken down barriers.

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