Teaching About Women's History

Lessons and resources on key individual women's contributions to U.S. and world history,
as well as movements that have aimed at equality for women.

womens history


World History

Hatshepsut: How a Woman Took the Throne
Hatshepsut lived 3,500 years ago. Inspite of centuries of tradition that a pharaoh must be a male, she rose to be the leader of the Kingdom of Egypt and brough Egypt to a new period of prosperity.

Who Was the Real Cleopatra?
Cleopatra was, for a time, the most powerful woman in the Roman world. However, her reputation was controversial then and is still debated today.

Hypatia of Alexandria
Hypatia of Alexandria was a philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and political advisor of great renown in her day. Unfortunately, it is likely that none of her philosophical or mathematical written work survives. But several historical accounts of her life and work do. Her violent death in 415 CE at the hands of a Christian mob has been a source of debate ever since. 

'Go Boldly!’: Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War
Joan of Arc heard voices she believed originated from God, commanding her to lead the French army to victory over the English. She did just that, inspiring her soldiers to 'Go boldly!’ In the end, she faced trial for her actions.

Queen Elizabeth I: Religion and the State 
Queen Elizabeth I, tried to establish her vision of an official English Protestant church. She faced many obstacles: Catholic plots, Protestant Puritans, a rival Catholic queen, and even the question of who would succeed her on the throne.

Margaret Thatcher and Conservative Politics in England
In a historic election in 1979, voters in the United Kingdom (UK) elected Margaret Thatcher to be prime minister. She was the first woman ever to be elected to that office. She went on to be the longest-serving prime minister in the 20th century. 




U.S. History

Anne Hutchinson: Midwife of Religious Freedom
Anne Hutchinson was a Puritan colonist in Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was banished from the colony as punishment for challenging theocratic rulers and went on to co-found Rhode Island with Roger Williams. The vigorous defense that she mounted in both her court and church trials was an important forerunner to the development of the constitutional notion of separation of church and state.

Harriet Tubman and the End of Slavery   
Nicknamed the ‘Moses of her people’ for leading runaway slaves to freedom in the north, Harriet Tubman was the most famous member of the Underground Railroad.  She became a celebrity in her lifetime and a hero of the Civil War.

How Women Won the Right to Vote
In 1848, a small group of visionaries started a movement to secure equal rights for women in the United States. But it took more than 70 years just to win the right for women to vote.

Ida B. Wells and Her Crusade for Racial Justice
The abolition of slavery after the Civil War became the foundation for Ida B. Wells’s life work as a teacher, journalist, anti-lynching activist, community organizer, and woman suffragist.

Ida Tarbell and the Muckrakers
Ida Tarbell helped pioneer investigative journalism when she wrote a series of magazine articles about John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Trust. She and other journalists, who were called “muckrakers,” aided Progressive Movement reform efforts. 

Rachel Carson and the Modern Environmental Movement 
In 1962, American biologist Rachel Carson wrote silent  spring. Her explosive book revealed To the public the potential dangers of pesticides and also helped spark the modern environmental movement.

Students will explore the experiences of Mexican-American farmworkers in the United States and learn about how they – especially through the leadership of Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers – worked with others for improvements in pay and working conditions, as well as respect for their civil rights. 




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