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Women's History Teacher's Guide

In Preparation for Class

· Have students read pages 1-35 of The Feminist Chronicles, the essay entitled "...a passion for the possible," and have them look at pp. 159-163, 247.

Materials Used in Class:

  • NOW 20th Anniversary Show, Introductory Module (37 minutes)
  • The Feminist Chronicles (pp.159-163, p. 247)

Goal: To help students understand the modern day contemporary struggle for women's equality, its origins, ideas, victories and losses, and to reflect on the women's movement's impact on their own lives.

Homework Assignments

  • Write a short essay on how the feminist movement has or has not impacted your life or your future. In writing the essay, think of the goals of the feminist movement for women's political, economic, and social equality.
  • Write an essay on what it means to be a feminist, which according to the dictionary is someone who supports political, economic, and social equality for women.

One Day Plan: The Struggle for Women's Equality

1. Introduce the Introductory Module of the videotape.

Includes the founding of NOW, its statement of purpose to encourage full participation of women in the mainstream of American life in full partnership with men, the segment on the defeat of the Vermont Equal Rights Amendment "We Will Never Give Up" and the fight for job equality for women.

The introduction could include the following commentary: "The modern day feminist movement in the United States was launched by President John F. Kennedy's appointment of a President's Commission on the Status of Women in 1961 at the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt, the former first lady of the United States, 1932-1945. Eleanor Roosevelt had been the first U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and was anxious for the U.S. to ratify the United Nations Human Rights Charter which called for women's equality."

"The first step was for the President to appoint a commission to review women's status. The President's Commission found massive discrimination against women in our laws, in employment, education, credit - in all walks of life. In 1966, at the Third Annual Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women, the Natinal Organization for Women was formed in response to the government's failure to enforce sex discrimination laws."

Take yourself back to the day when few women had the opportunity to be lawyers, doctors, police officers, telephone repair technicians... you name the job or profession... simply because they were women.

As you look at the video, think of the struggle of the "Wilmar 8" and their fight for promotions and equal pay - how has their struggle and the fight for women's equality helped you?"

2. Watch the first 37 minutes of the video.

3. Discussion: What are the goals of the movement as seen in the video?

* Political, social and economic equality for women.
* Ending discrimination against women in all aspects of life.
* Constitutional equality for women.
* Integration of male-only clubs.
* Election of women to political office.
* Increasing women's wages and job opportunities.
* Ending violence against women.
* Improving women's access to health care.
* Ensuring equal educational opportunities for women and girls.
* Improving the image of women in the media.
* Ensuring reproductive rights.
* Ending discrimination on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, marital status, physical disability, age, religion, creed, or ethnicity.

4. Are you surprised by the goals of the women's rights movement? Are they what you thought they would be?