March is Women’s History Month and is the perfect time for learning the stories of the women who paved the way. The powerful leaders and the pioneers, the passionate advocates, the homemakers, the trailblazers, and the dedicated forces for change – all of these women made a difference essential to our freedoms and rights today and to our path forward.
However, women have consistently been overlooked in historical narratives and popular history. Both words and actions that have shaped our understanding of history have long been male dominated. Education lacks exposure to women’s history. Anna White reported in Smithsonian Magazine, that despite the strides women have made in countless arenas, “the canon of American history, at least as it is taught in public schools, still has much room for reexamination and advancement.”
White wrote that according to Smithsonian’s calculations, “737 specific historical figures—559 men and 178 women, or approximately 1 woman for every 3 men—are mentioned in the standards in place as of 2017. Aside from the individuals explicitly named, many references to women feel like an afterthought, grouped in with other minorities….”
Where Are the Women?
In 2017, the National Women’s History Museum analyzed the K-12 educational standards in social studies and published their findings in Where Are the Women? Examining the status of women’s history in the standard required for state level social studies, the report found that, “women’s experiences and stories are not well integrated into US state history standards. The lack of representation and context in state-level materials presupposes that women’s history is even less represented at the classroom level. This implies that women’s history is not important.”
Where Women’s Stories Are Told
Women’s history is important, and March is the perfect time to tap into resources, share the stories of trailblazing women, and examine historical topics from a woman’s perspective. In honor of Women’s History Month, the National Women’s History Museum created their 2021 Women’s History Month Resource Toolkit, which is filled with links to biographies, events, and programming to celebrate this important month.
The Museum’s offerings aren’t limited to Women’s History Month though. As the largest online cultural institution dedicated to US women’s history, it operates with the mission to tell the stories of women who have transformed our nation. With public programs and events, educational resources, virtual exhibits, a study collection, library, and more, the Museum is sharing the powerful history of women in America.
As the Museum states, “Women’s contributions and accomplishments have largely been overlooked and consequently omitted from mainstream culture.” They are working to fill that void, as are many educators, writers, historians and others who also believe inclusive history is good history in Women’s History Month and beyond.