To mark the celebration of women getting the vote 100 years ago today (6th February 1918), we’re creating a post full of lesson plans and inspiration to educate your class on gender equality and women’s history. There are many ways you could teach children about the historic roles of men and women, and how times have changed and progressed. Educating children about social issues can help them understand the history behind them and form their own opinions and values that could set an advantageous example in later life. We are currently writing the history for the fourth wave of feminism that begun around 2012, teaching younger minds about feminist issues could help further the fight for gender equality. Let’s help break the wheel and teach children that their futures aren’t defined by their gender.
One way to help children understand and explore the issues of discrimination could be done through an experiment similar to Jane Elliott’s Eye Colour Exercise. This is a technique used to help children experience what it’s like to be stereotyped, discriminated against and treated unfairly. The Eye Colour Exercise is when you split your class into groups dependent on their eye colour and herald one group as superior to the other. This exercise was made to highlight issues of race but could be altered to fit sexism and gender stereotyping. You can even turn this into a role play exercise in a drama lesson to analyse how your students would act as the opposite sex, you can then ask them to evaluate their findings to see if there were any problematic stereotypes being acted out for men and women.
For a history lesson or a researched homework piece you could ask your students to map out a women’s history timeline. To celebrate the centenary of women receiving the right to vote, you could ask your class to create a timeline of the most influential women from the last 100 years. This will help bring attention to the inspiring or significant women in history that aren’t mentioned in mainstream history but definitely deserve to be.
Film and Media
You could educate your class through the medium of film and television. Watching films about feminism, gender equality and women’s history can help portray the emotional aspects of these issues, making them more relatable to its audience. See below a list of student friendly films that you could display and analyse in class.
- Brave (PG)
- Mulan (U)
- Wonder Woman 2017 (12)
- Hidden Figures (PG)
- Suffragette (12)
Another creative idea to help raise awareness of feminism in younger minds is to paint history related protest and picket signs. Get your class to create a sign with their gender related values or opinions on them. These can be related to a historical event such as women fighting for the vote or something modern that they feel needs to be said. These would also make a great display for your classroom.
For a feminism based writing exercise you could split your students into different eras and ask them to write a text based on this time period. This could be a diary entry, a newspaper article, or a short story. You could group your class by first wave to fourth wave feminism to look into how times have changed and what issues were highlighted within this ethos.