Lessons

5 Lesson Plans to Celebrate Women's History Month

Toensing photo

Friends socialize at Tarash Mandir, a short-stay home for young women and permanent facility for elderly widows in Vrindavan. Image by Amy Toensing. India, 2016.

Friends socialize at Tarash Mandir, a short-stay home for young women and permanent facility for elderly widows in Vrindavan. Image by Amy Toensing. India, 2016.

This International Women’s Day, this Women’s History Month, and all the year beyond, let’s use our classrooms to highlight and elevate the power of women. Here are five lesson plans that engage with reporting on issues affecting women around the world and celebrate the ways in which they are solving problems, fighting back, and taking charge.

1. Widowhood and Women’s Rights

Betty

Betty Nanozi poses for a portrait in her fields. Betty, a widow for over a decade, first experienced property grabbing the moment she became a widow when her step children came into her home the night her husband died and took everything. Image by Amy Toensing and Kathryn Carlson. Uganda, 2016.

Betty Nanozi poses for a portrait in her fields. Betty, a widow for over a decade, first experienced property grabbing the moment she became a widow when her step children came into her home the night her husband died and took everything. Image by Amy Toensing and Kathryn Carlson. Uganda, 2016.

In a stunning multimedia series for National Geographic, writers, photojournalists, and videographers tell the transcontinental story of women’s fight for basic rights in the wake of their husbands’ deaths. Zeroing in on India, Uganda, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, students can explore not only the under-reported story of the poverty, violence, and dehumanization many widows face across the globe, but also the story of the women bravely fighting for change.

2. Women Learning and Practicing Law in Saudi Arabia

Eiko Ojala illustration

The guardianship system gives a woman a legal status resembling that of a minor. Illustration by Eiko Ojala/The New Yorker.

The guardianship system gives a woman a legal status resembling that of a minor. Illustration by Eiko Ojala/The New Yorker.

For the New Yorker, journalist Katherine Zoepf tells a story of women interrupting their country’s narrative through education and civic engagement. In the reporting, students meet Saudi Arabia’s first practicing female lawyers, permitted by the Saudi justice ministry to appear in court for the first time in 2013, and explore the ways their presence is sparking new awareness of women’s rights and a willingness to fight for them. This lesson plan asks students to examine the evolution of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and to compare the experience of these women with that of female lawyers in their own communities.

3. Addressing Taboos Through Afghan Poetry

Seamus Murphy photo

Image by Seamus Murphy, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.

Image by Seamus Murphy, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.

Poet and journalist Eliza Griswold traveled to Afghanistan with photographer Seamus Murphy to speak with the people behind the landai poetry movement, wherein Pashtun women are risking death to share anonymous, orally performed poems for political and personal expression deemed taboo in their conservative communities. Through this lesson, students use their exploration of writing, photography, video, and poetry translated by Griswold to discuss the subversive power of self-expression and craft poems about taboos in their own lives.

4. Seeking Asylum: Women and Children Migrating Across Borders

Taimaa and Heln

Image by Lynsey Addario. Estonia, 2017.

Image by Lynsey Addario. Estonia, 2017.

This award-winning project for TIME follows a year in the life of four Syrian refugees who become new mothers shortly after arriving in Greece. Through multimedia interactives, photography, video, and written stories, students can immerse themselves in the conditions of Europe’s refugee camps, the anxiety of awaiting news about asylum, and the challenges of integrating into a foreign country. After delving into the reporting, this lesson asks students to debate solutions to the refugee crisis.

5. Proposing a Win for Women Worldwide

Contraception culture wars

Supporters celebrate passage of the reproductive health bill in the Philippines' House of Representatives in December. Image by Jay Directo / AFP/Getty Images. Philippines, 2012.

Supporters celebrate passage of the reproductive health bill in the Philippines' House of Representatives in December. Image by Jay Directo / AFP/Getty Images. Philippines, 2012.

What realities exist for women nationally and globally? How are people combating gender-based violence and discrimination, and what can we do to strengthen the movement? These essential questions guide students as they integrate information from multiple news sources in order to evaluate responses to gender inequality in the Philippines, Nepal, and India. Finally, this lesson challenges them to propose the best course of action for addressing these inequalities.

Educator Notes: 

To Skype with a journalist associated with these projects, email education@pulitzercenter.org

Lesson Builder Survey