Here are some fun and meaningful ideas to help you celebrate this year’s women’s history month with the kids regardless of whether you’re a teacher or a parent, you can easily incorporate these activities in the classroom or the comfort of your home.
- Explore the National Women’s History Museum online exhibits which are free of charge. These online exhibits both show and tell phenomenal stories and captivating images from the past.
- Discuss history, its implications and today’s advancements with your child. This is an important and valuable perspective that all kids should be aware of. Propose a few thought-provoking questions that are relevant in their everyday life and see how children think of their gender roles, who they perceive as themselves, and what things affect their self-image.
- Study the Suffragette Movement. One of the most traditional and classical ways of celebrating the women’s history month for kids is to teach them about the suffragette movement. What was the suffragette movement, what led to it, why it happened, and what was the result of this movement?
- Watch documentaries, read books, and learn through worksheets. We’re lucky because today there is so much information about women’s history available online. Most of it is free of charge or really affordable, which gives teachers and parents endless opportunities when it comes to teaching kids about the amazing women throughout history and their role in major historical events and discoveries. Some kids are visual learners, others love to read and others learn best through interactive activities. No matter what learning style, there’s plenty of resources out there.
Remember, if you’re a bit overwhelmed with all of the resources, don’t worry! You’re not expected to teach kids all of this in one month. The best approach might be to choose the resources that you think will work best for your students or kids, depending on their grade-level and learning style, and go with that. In case you can’t choose, think about your child’s interests and start from there. Have children learn about women from many different fields and professions and you can personalize the lesson and bring it closer to your child’s or student’s interest.
Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987.
Why Do We Celebrate Women’s History Month?
Women’s History Month is a dedicated month to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to United States history. From Abigail Adams to Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth to Rosa Parks, the timeline of women’s history milestones stretches back to the founding of the United States.
How Did Women’s History Month Start?
The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978. Presentations were given at dozens of schools, hundreds of students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade was held in downtown Santa Rosa.
A few years later, the idea caught on within communities, school districts and organizations across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March. Women’s History Month has been celebrated in the United States every March since.
Some of many notable figures often spotlighted during Women’s History Month are:
- Sacagawea, a Native American woman who helped make Lewis and Clark’s expedition to map parts of the West in the early 19th century a success.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who fought for equality for women in the mid-19th century, more than 70 years before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in the United States in 1920.
- Harriet Tubman, a spy who led slaves to freedom during the Civil War
- Amelia Earhart, one of the world’s first female pilots (she mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937)
- Madeleine Albright, who became the first female Secretary of State in 1996
- Misty Copeland, the first African-American woman to be named a principal dancer—the highest level—in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre in 2015.
Did You Know There’s A Different Theme Every Year?
The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. The 2023 theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” This theme recognizes women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media.
Beyond the theme of the year, Women’s History Month heartens the study of achievements by women year-round.
*Sources: National Geographic Kids, History Channel