Women Who Inform Our World

Many schools observe Women's History Month as a way to highlight contributions women have made in the past. Use this lesson to help students explore the impact of girls and women in their own lives and communities today.
Grade Level


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Ask students to think of a time when a woman — a friend, family member or someone else in their lives — provided advice that helped them work through a problem or toward an important goal. Ask students to free-write for five minutes about this woman's impact.

As a class, brainstorm a list of women who are working today to address social problems in 1) your local community, 2) the United States, and 3) other nations around the world. The lists are likely to be short and to focus on elected leaders.

Next, divide the class into three groups: one will explore women locally, another will look at the national level, and the last group will examine women in other nations. Encourage groups to look beyond the "usual suspects" like elected leaders or Nobel Prize winners to find one woman working for change in predetermined areas, such as: 1) women's rights/gender equality, 2) human or civil rights, 3) environmentalism, 4) affordable healthcare, and 5) quality education. Groups should produce a one-page summary about each woman's advocacy for social change.

Ask student groups to share their findings with the whole class, comparing and contrasting the women's approaches to social change. Next, on the board, or on butcher paper, draw four large concentric circles: International, National, Local and an open center circle.

Ask each group to write in the names of women they studied in the appropriate area. Next, remind students about the opening activity, reflecting on women who have positively touched their lives. Invite students to write the first names of those women in the center circle.


Closing Writing Prompt

Describe how our "Women Inform Our World" activity connects to the following quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home. … Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Explain how you can act as a "concerted citizen … close to home" and around the world.