Article

What Is Women's History?

  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Women's history tells the story of our nation's past from an expanded perspective. It does not rewrite history, but it does make very different judgments about what is important.

Traditionally history has focused on political, military, and economic leaders and events. This approach has virtually excluded women, people of color, and the mass of America's ordinary citizens. What the children of those ignored groups learn from such history is that they, and people like themselves, are unimportant, and have contributed little to our society. By expanding the focus of history to include the activities and contributions of women from all walks of life, we give all children an opportunity to see themselves as active participants in the life of the nation, capable of making important contributions to the future.

Women's history approaches the past with a wide-angle lens, taking in a much wider vision of what was going on in any given time period. In addition to the activities of the government and military in the public sphere, we also look at the private sphere, at the everyday life experiences of people from all walks of life, people just like ourselves and our own families. Women's history also provides a wealth of new role models for today's young people and for adults as well. The courageous women of the past who have dared to forge new roads join women living quietly at their families'center to create a world where future possibilities are limitless. Their stories are an inspiration for us all.

 

Courtesy of the National Women's History Project

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