March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Women’s History on the Internet | Professional Shelf

Illustration by shelma1/iStock/Thinchstock

Illustration by shelma1/iStock/Thinchstock

Thirty years ago, with the passage of Public Law 100-9, Congress designated March as Women’s History Month. The Joint Resolution states: “American women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historical contributions to the growth and strength of the Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways.” As we introduce students to women’s place in history, particularly in the development of the United States, let’s be sure to acknowledge the spirit of the law by celebrating the remarkable diversity of American women, past and present. The following websites for educators and older students offer a selection of resources for getting started.

Founded in 1980, the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) played a leading role in the creation of Women’s History Month and continues to coordinate events and disseminate materials in support of an annual theme. For 2017, the focus is Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business,” and a printable “Women’s History 2017 Gazette” profiles current and past honorees. To assist researchers, NWHP links to Click! The Ongoing Feminist Revolution, a Clio exhibit that explores women’s roles in modern day politics, social movements, employment, the military, and more.

A project of the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this collaborative Women’s History Month collection gathers selected exhibits, collections, audio, video, images, and lesson activities from the participating government agencies. Links to dedicated websites within the agencies are also highlighted.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History highlights “American Women in Leadership” in the Winter 2017 issue of History Now with articles on current and past female leaders from politics and government. Additional resources from the institute relevant to women’s history include videos and lesson plans as well as primary sources and essays. Some access requires a user name and password, but free subscriptions are available to K-12 educators and students who register with a school-affiliated email.

Female artists share a well-deserved spotlight at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, “the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to recognizing women’s creative contributions.” Arranged chronologically, from the 1500s to the present, “Collection Highlights” presents over 4,500 works of art. Brief bios of more than 1,000 artists are listed by last name, and each incorporates a sample of the artist’s work. Users will find a beautifully presented and highly browsable resource representing “the achievements of women artists of all periods and nationalities.”

The National Education Association (NEA) is a go-to source for lesson plans designed to explore “the changing cultural perceptions of women in society and honor their contributions to all aspects of life.” Divided into three sections, Grades K-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12, each contains a valuable collection of lessons, activities, resources, printables, and video. Women from a spectrum of economic and ethnic backgrounds are highlighted in lessons that examine their impact on politics, science, mathematics, medicine, sports, and more.

Don’t forget to visit School Library Journal‘s Pinterest page on women’s history.

Alicia Eames About Alicia Eames

A former Brooklyn Public Library children's librarian and NYC public school teacher/librarian, Alicia Eames is a freelance editor and a frequent contributor to the SLJ’s Curriculum Connections “Professional Shelf” column.

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