“Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing. Sometimes they have more imagination than men.”Katherine Johnson
It’s true. Celebrating Women’s History Month in the classroom can help to break down gender stereotypes. In turn, this creates an environment where all genders are respected and celebrated. How else can Women’s History Month benefit your students? Let’s explore five ways.
An Appreciation for Diversity
Women’s History Month can foster an appreciation for diversity when you expose students to stories of powerful and influential women who have shaped history. True, students need to see themselves represented in their education. But even more important are those experiences that differ from theirs.
Why do they even need to know about experiences that differ from theirs? Because by learning about these women, students appreciate the perspectives, experiences, and accomplishments that women have contributed to society. They’ll be better equipped to participate in their community with an open mind and understand the world better.
Inspire Young Men and Women
Women’s History Month inspires and empowers young students, especially girls, to strive for success and excellence. Seeing the list of “firsts” that women have excelled at is beyond inspiring. Imagine hearing, “If she did it, so can I!”; music to our ears!
We want to continually inspire our students, especially during Women’s History Month, to pursue their dreams and goals. By highlighting the accomplishments of women, we can remind our students that anything is possible!
Build an Inclusive Environment
There’s no ONE way to build an inclusive classroom environment; small actions make significant impacts. But, Women’s History Month in the classroom creates a more inclusive classroom environment because it fosters an appreciation for the many different backgrounds and cultures that make up our world.
Women’s History Month in the classroom builds an inclusive environment by educating students on women’s historical and current struggles and successes. Having this knowledge is essential for developing diverse classroom communities.
Moreover, it proves the point that Katherine Johnson made, found at the outset of this post. Young women CAN see themselves represented. All students CAN gain a deeper appreciation for women’s contributions to society, past and present. Help your students understand that their gender does not have to be a stumbling block to achieving greatness!
Foster Meaningful Discussion
Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to open up conversations about gender stereotypes and discrimination. It can help create a safe space for students to discuss and reflect on women’s societal roles. I’m not talking about long, drawn-out conversations; think of quick discussions over time that address critical topics that students notice.
You’ll notice these conversations become natural for students when exposed to stories and experiences much different than theirs. Yes, it’ll take commitment on your part. But keep in mind the goal here is not to rush to “just get through” and merely cover the content, but rather to foster an inclusive environment that facilitates meaningful discussions.
Honor Past and Present
Celebrating Women’s History Month in the classroom is a meaningful way to honor the contributions of women throughout history. So, yes, the “old” and well-known figures who’ve made history and those who still exist today!
Read: teaching about the first women’s rights activists up to modern-day female trailblazers. Not to mention, these lessons about “life in the past” for women can spark excellent, meaningful conversations! There is much to learn and respect about women’s impact on society.
Women’s History Month in the Classroom
Recognizing Women’s History Month in the classroom is necessary. Why? To foster an inclusive, informed environment where students can freely express themselves. I hope you’ll want to start immediately or continue doing the work if you’ve already started.
If you’re ready to dive in, here are three ideas for implementing Women’s History Month in the classroom (even if you’re pressed for time).