In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took a historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Over many decades, the UN has made significant progress in advancing gender equality and on every March 8th they focus on a theme to keep on advancing towards achieving gender equality.
The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2017, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. The website is, as usual, a superb source for educators but I would like to recommend the section called "From where I stand", a collection of stories of women around the world who are bringing real change regarding gender equality.
I wanted to contribute to the celebration of March 8th in our classrooms through a lesson plan based on a film. Why? I would say that sometimes the names and deeds of the heroes in films are known to all. However, there are those films that shine the spotlight on those whose names were known to only a few, but whose stories deserve to be told. This is the case with "Hidden figures", which tells the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.
One of these women, 98-year-old Katherine Johnson, is a true hero who was totally hidden until this film was released and I would like to pay my humble tribute to her and to all hidden women whose deeds should be known to all. The starting point of the lesson I have developed is Katherine's biography but let me suggest using the uplifting Gospel song from the film as a warm-up:
If you wish, you can ask students to carry out a fill in the gaps activity while they listen to the song. The complete version of the lyrics can be downloaded from here.
After listening to the song you will have created the environment to start this lesson plan on "Empowering Women in the changing world of work".
I hope my proposal will help your students to reflect on the need for gender equality regarding acknowledgement of work achievement.
Downloadable resources for the lesson plan:
Handout for the student: Katherine's biography
Handout for the teacher: Katherine Johnson's biography
Handout for the student: biography writing frame
Handout for the student: feedback on peers' presentations
Handout for the teacher: oral presentation rubrics for a biography
Handout for the student: listening activity