Womens History Month

FlowergirlDeb2April 8, 2002

Hi everyone! I was hoping that you would all share with me if your chidren had any special assignments for March, for "Women's History Month," or if the school recognized and celebrated in any way????? If so, how??

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I only have one in school so far, he's only 6 so he doesn't get much homework yet. But he is already noticing how women's issues are being shoved down our throats.

When is Men's History Month, by the way?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2002 at 4:30PM
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Every month is men's history month.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2002 at 5:10PM
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DS is in 3rd grade. To answer the question, no special assignments and no recognition at all that I know of. Black History Month got an incompleted word search in his back pack, nothing mandatory.

Neither bothers me as long as the lessons throughout the year are diverse.

And so far, he hasn't had the same observations as onehappymeal's son. He notices a lot of things: starvation, war, injustice, child abuse. The only women's issue he notices is that mom has more power than he has.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2002 at 6:56PM
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Anita, it's women like you that give the rest of us a bad name.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2002 at 10:23PM
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OK....Um, Anita is 100% on the mark, every month is MENS History month!! Our society is NOT mulitcultural IN THE SCHOOL CLASSROOMS. The reason that I was asking this is because I tried my A** off to get my third grade son's school to offically recognize March as "Women's History Month", which it is, and out of approx. 10-15 classrooms, 4 posted projects out in the halls for the assignment, when ALL had agreed to participate!!
Women are INVISIBLE in history, and Anita is one of the Women who other women should be PROUD OF!!! There's no "bad name" when it comes to the obvious invisiblity of women in history, especially minority women, and the inequality we STILL suffer with today!! Does the "wage gap" ring any bells??? How about sexual harassment and domestic violence?? If our schools don't start taking this issue of unequal cultural cirriculim seriously, women can not expect to rise much above where we are now, and we are NOT represented equally or treated equally in the workforce or in the classrooms.
I'm certain that I am being called a "Feminist Bitc*" right now by some, but if the ones of you who are the slightest bit concerned about this issue are interested, there is a book called "Failing at Fairness: How America's School's Cheat Girls" by Myra and David Sadker....my mentor and current Professor in Sociology was trained by David Sadker in recognizing inequalities in the classrooms. This happens from Kindergarden through Grdauate school...and the Sadker's have YEARS of research to validate their findings. So, forgive me happymeal, but it's women like you who aren't ready to step out of their socialized roles as passive who accept this crap sitting down and give the REST of us frustrating fits like the one I just vented out in this post!! Seriously, think about it, think about all of the women you know in history...now think of the men. Write down a list and which one is longer?? NOW go through the list and check off the minority women....how many are there??? We as Parents and educators need to realize that girls do indeed suffer in silence from this inequality.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2002 at 11:48PM
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The Sadker's didn't come to my schools, apparently.

I learned all about Madame Curie, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Betsy Ross, Jackie O, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks and even Laura Ingalls Wilder in school, without having to designate a month to it.

We learned about what women in the US did during WWII to support the war effort. About women fighting for the right to vote. I grew up where matriarchs in the family were very respected and greatly appreciated (and very much missed after their passing).

When I was a college freshman, I even got to meet renowned choreographer Martha Graham.

I had more female teachers than male. My most revered teachers, and most important role models to this day are female. The church I grew up in may have had a male pastor, but the women made the church tick, and kept it running, and were shown great appreciation for their contributions.

I never saw inequality of gender during my education and upbringing, which was primarily public schools. And in those days, there weren't months designated to special interest groups. We just studied all of World and American History, regardless of the gender of the subject matter.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 8:13AM
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TREKaren, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

What, exactly, is "women's history?" How does it differ from "regular" history? Like TREKaren, I learned all about historically significant women in history class throught my education. Perhaps if you had paid more attention in your history classes, you would have realized that women are not invisible. I was taught the history of a lot of things, and it was never about men. I learned about the history of other countries, religions, cultures, peoples, etc. If you took this to be the "history of men" then I'm afraid your education was wasted on you.

And surely you understand why the "men's" list longer? A woman's role back then was generally wife, mother, and homemaker. Nothing of much historical importance happens in the home. Few women had a place in the workforce or in politics. And you know what? That role was not a bad thing. Just like being wife, mother and homemaker in today's world is not a bad thing. No one is implying that women do not have a very important role in life, and no one denies that they ever did.

The women's movement certainly has its importance, and I support it and praise those women who forged the path (and I learned all about them in history class - we didn't have "women's history" month). There were (and still are) issues that needed to be changed - equality in the workplace being at the top of the list. The problem is, the women's movement gave birth to extreme feminism, which has swung the pendulum much too far in the wrong direction. It seems that a lot of women have a chip on their shoulder these days - their attitude is "when it's advantageous to women, men and women are equal; when it is advantageous to women that we are not equal, then we are not equal." (I can't remember who said that quote)

It's a sad world we live in when we don't play fair by bending the rules to our own advantage. The "other gender" doesn't say a word. God Bless them.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 11:04AM
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As someone once said (sorry lurking guys!),
If men had periods, we'd have had cramp medication decades sooner!

Sorry, had to throw in some (slight) humor!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 11:35AM
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First of all, it's the other "sex", not "gender". Gender roles are how we are socialized, sex is bioligically what we are, male or female.
Secondly, I did NOT deserve the rudeness of insinuating that my education was "Wasted" on me....I was indeed exposed to SOME different cultures and diverse issues, I am now 32 years old and studying to be a teacher (let the rude comments fly some more on that one please)and what I am sharing with you people are FACTS! The Sadker's didn't "go" to any of your school's, how immature of a comment is that? I merely suggested that IF ANYONE WAS INTERESTED IN FACTUAL RESEARCH thatTHAT BOOK would provide some interesting, disturbing and VALID FACTS!!!!! Why is there "Black History Month??" Aren't minorities underrepresented in our school cirriculums???? WHY should there be a month recognizing the history of black Americans??? HOW COME these historians aren't properly represented in ALL HISTORY BOOKS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR??? Look through a history book, count the women that you can find who weren't some President's wife or that aren't as well known as Helen Keller, Anne Frank, etc...
By the way, wasn't Anne Frank Jewish??? Another culture there, just to point that out.
And because you have succeeded in working me up regarding this issue, and because it happens to be something that I strongly believe in, I am risking a rude comment myself. I feel sorry for the female children of the women who seem to think that recognizing a woman's strengths and abilities WITHOUT a MAN aren't important. Whoever you are, you are CHOOSING to believe that how things are and always have been is "OK", and that is exactally what harms and silences women to begin with. It is Functionalist attitude which supports inequalities, which is unfortunately how this country is run. (By the powerful, rich, white males.) Women's History Month is intended to celebrate the achievements that women throughout history have made WITHOUT men, on their own and to give the young girls of today someone a bit more positive that BRITANNY SPEARS to have a a role model.
Keep up the passive, "I turned out fine" attitudes, that's fine. After all, it's those attitudes that have kept things the way they are now anyway....I wouldn't want you to actually open your minds and look into what I am saying, because GOD FORBID THAT MAY ACTUALLY BRING ABOUT SOME CHANGE AND OPEN YOUR MINDS. I cannot understand how it is not obvious to you who are challenging me on this that there are harmful effects of this everywhere you look every single day! But, I guess I can't change the world on this website, huh??
OH, and OF COURSE the other SEX doesn't "say anything", what would they say when you consider how males are socialized in this country??????? You think they would object? Open your minds people, being afraid to actually learn something and SEE what is happening is a cop out for trying to understand reality.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 11:50AM
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Behind every great man there is a great woman. There could possibly be two great women behind every great man. Those two more than likely would be his wife and his mother.
This is the day the Lord hath made. Rejoice and be glad in it.
Proverbs 31:10-31
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night , and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strenghteneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
I am thankful of the great ladies who have been insipirational in my life. Many great ladies in the church, my mother, my grandmothers, my wife, my daughters and many friends have had a great impact in my life. To them I am grateful. Thank you.
I had some great lady Sunday School teachers.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 12:43PM
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Man, you ARE worked up. I was simply saying that I did not grow up with gender-unequal curriculum. I grew up learning about many great women in history.

I don't think I attacked you or made rude comments. Just wanted to contribute what my educational experience was.

I am not passive, I truly experienced a rich cultural upbringing. I have worked in a primarily male field since graduation, was one of only two women in my college major, was the FIRST woman on a field crew doing civil engineering in my state.

I did not need Women's History Month to accomplish this.

Worthy of note is that throughout my career, I have faced more gender (I'm sorry, "Sex") discrimination from women than men. (they didn't feel a woman could handle the job, etc).

If my post got you this worked up, then I'm sorry. I thought this was a discussion forum, and I feel my contribution was valid.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 1:26PM
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Oh, I forgot to add: The fields that I was one of the first women in...are now full of women! So, though there is still room for improvement, progress has been made on a grand scale, in a very short time.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 1:48PM
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Most of the central figures in U.S. history are men, although there are many important women too. So when we learn about history, most of what we are studying is the actions of white men. That is fine, but it is important that children are taught that there is a reason that white men were the ones with power because they believed that they were superior to women and people of other races, and they actively worked, in cruel ways, to keep those other groups from gaining power. I donÂt really care for the gimmick of assigning months to certain groups, because I donÂt think hero-worship of any person is a legitimate educational goal. But the people who came up with these months only intended to add a new perspective to the blind hero-worship of various white men that was the main focus of the traditional study of history.

I majored in economics and minored in U.S. history in college, and I went to a public high school, and I didnÂt encounter a lot of gender inequality in school, and donÂt encounter much in the workplace. But the point of the study of history is not to measure contemporary life against historical times. The point is to look critically at all the factors that contributed to the events of the time, with the goal of understanding why things happened the way they did. There is no way to understand history without understanding that the motivations of historical figures were as complex as those of people today  and that those motivations were born of an unequal social power structure and included greed, ignorance and cruelty as well as honor and bravery. Any student who is only taught to worship heroes is first of all being lied to, and second, is being denied the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and an honest, intelligent perspective on the world as it is today.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 2:14PM
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You asked me to give the Sadkers the benefit of the doubt. So I went to their site. I read several of Mr. Sadker's articles. He makes the situation sound postively horrible. He had me almost convinced.

So I took him to task, and pulled up the actual stats on SAT's, since that is one area he quoted abysmal female performance on. It is true that of the top 99th percentile, 400 were male, and only 187 were female. Shocking, until you realize the total number of participants is 1,276,320. The actual mean score for males is 1042, and for females is 1000 (for combined Verbal and Math). Not as dismal as he made it sound.

Mean for Math only: male, 533, female, 498.
Mean for Verbal only: male, 509, female, 502.

Not to say females don't need help in math and sciences. It is just not as big of a failure as they make it sound. (stats quoted are from 2001 test scores).

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 3:20PM
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GREAT! I am glad that you searched their site!! I wasn't prepared to go into the SAT scores, I was focusing on "Women's History." It is a discussion forum, but I felt that my education was being "put down" in the way that your post was worded. I am NOT trying to "preach" to everyone what I have been taught and what I truly do believe to be true, although I suppose that because I was "worked up" I let my emotions go and I flew off the handle!! :)
I just believe that it is extremely important for us to at least CONSIDER what being female means in our society...I think that if we were to start paying attention to the ways that women are portrayed in history and TODAY that are harmful, we as a society could better prepare the women of tomorrow and give them better options than we have had even today.
I am passionate about this issues, as I am with other Education issues as well, and if it had not been for two VERY important Professors in my life through my own schooling I would not be aware of my personal feelings and abilities to make some change regarding these issues. Unfortunately not all public or private schools have text books that reveal the true importance of women throughout history. I'm also not one for the "Monthly Celebrations", but I will do all that I can to help my children and the children at the school's where my children go to learn about Women's History in March, and Black History in February because it's important and enriching and necessary.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 5:53PM
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Flowergirl, firstly, once again youve shown your ignorance. Open your dictionary to gender. Read what it says, then tell your students that you were wrong when you told them that gender does not refer to biological sex. Gender has several meanings, one of which is (to quote several definitions from the web alone) the condition of being female or male, sex, male or female, the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles. Gender is a synonym of sex. In the context I used it in, they are interchangeable. Dont correct me with an error.

Secondly, how narrow-minded of you to find one book and take it as the bible. For every study proving some theory (especially social studies), there is always another disproving it. It is up to the individual to do her own thorough research to decide which theory she will believe. YOUR facts may not be someone elses. With a few simple clicks of her mouse, TREKaren was able to dispel one myth of theirs already. Imagine how a PhD researcher, if she set her mind to it, could slam your Sadkers theory. Oh, and TREKarens comment about the Sadkers not going to her school was not immature, it was humorous. Lighten up.

I dont agree that there should be a Black History month either. I just want to know what ever happened to plain old history. When did it get subcategorized in grade school? Using such monthly labels, we think were teaching them about womens history and black history, but what they are learning is gender and cultural segregation. I dont feel that either gender or any culture was underrepresented in my education. When I learned about a female historical figure, the men in her life were not mentioned unless they were significant as well. I learned about world history, concentrating on American history. Just like children all over the civilized world probably do they learn world history, with emphasis on their own national history. I wont say again why there are not as many historically significant women as there are men (its pretty obvious). It seems what you are hinting at here amounts to nothing more than gender/racial quotas which, IMHO, is totally wrong. Lets leave some important male figures out of the curriculum to make more time for female figures? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Lets learn about the most important historical figures, period. Lets leave gender and race out of it.

And what the hell does Anne Frank being Jewish have to do with anything?

I dont believe that how things were, with women being suppressed, is OK. We have learned the error of our ways; I believe we have made great progress, I believe it will continue and I support that. Yes, currently the country has a rich, white male at the helm. But he does not run the country alone; he has a whole staff of advisors who tell him what to do. There are females on that staff (Condoleeza Rice ring a bell? Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Pretty important job I think). Were there any females on the ticket to vote for in the first place? Frankly, it sounds like you are the one with a defeatist attitude towards women. Do you not think that Hillary Clinton may have a chance at the presidency some day? How about Condoleeza? (wow now theres a candidate, female AND black!) Colin Powell? Lets just pray that, if any of them do become President, they are elected based on their ability to run the country, not on their gender or race. (By the way, there have been, and are now, many female world leaders; Im sure that number will only continue grow.)

When I look around every single day, I dont see these harmful effects you do. I see a world where women have come a long way. I am grateful I was born in this time, I feel proud of my achievements, and I dont feel I was helped along by a man. I had every opportunity my brothers did, and never felt that, because they are male, they had a greater advantage in anything. This is what I see. What I also see is too many women wanting a go to the front of the line pass just because their gender was wronged in the past.

Oh, and finally, I dont think anything silences women these days.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2002 at 11:54AM
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You all have come a long way. There are some jobs that don't pay the same as they will for a man doing the same thing. You all still need to work for equal work for equal pay.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2002 at 6:15PM
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Ok happymeal, thanks for again putting me down..appreciate it! SEX AND GENDER ARE DIFFERENT, but that's just me being ignorant of course.
I am NOT yet a teacher, so fortunately I haven't "misinformed" any children according to what you truly seem to believe is true. Your rudeness is unnecessary and if I have made even ONE person consider that this is an issue that needs attention, than I'm grateful.
My "Bible" as you say is only the BEST book on the subject that I personally have read, there are MANY more books and articles and journals written on the subject of "Classroom Bias." Gee, maybe that means that there are idiot Ph.D'S out there that are completely full of Sh*t, right??????
They wasted their time researching something that happymeal hasn't witnessed, too bad.
And of course you don't "SEE" the harmful effects, they aren't written across the women's foreheads who were silenced in school. I'm sorry that you refuse to accept that this happens, and maybe I should stick to the WEDDING forum where your response to me was actually helpful and kind.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 1:14AM
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Well if you don't feel silenced, I guess we shouldn't make a point of studying the women's movement. That was over EIGHTY YEARS AGO that they couldn't vote!! My grandpa was only 11 then - and now he is really old! Come to think of it, we don't have slavery anymore, so why study the civil war? Unemployment hasn't climbed over 10% in my lifetime, so no need to study the Great Depression. Germany? In a war? That will never happen again, so let's forget about it!!

The point of studying history is to understand HISTORY. Not now, then. What has passed.

There is no difference between celebrating "Black History Month" or "Women's History Month" or "Conquistador Month" or "Wild West Month" or "Founding Father Month." You pick a topic, and you pay special attention to it so that kids can learn about important events. If the focus on that topic is coordinated around the country, there are extra learning opportunities for the kids - exhibits, performances, field trips. Hooray! Education!

I have no idea why some women have taken the women's rights movement and turned it into their own personal persecution complex about their choice to be a full-time caregiver to their children, or their choice to get married, or whatever other perfectly normal choices they make. It is about RIGHTS: voting, birth control, employment opportunities, education, equal pay. There are no bra-burning, hairy-armpit thugs out to get you (or out to "make you look bad" - what is that about??) Stop being so paranoid and take a moment to think about the amazing struggle that so many people have made to improve the lives of women AND MEN. We are all better off because of the women's rights movement, and the civil rights movement, and other incredible advances made in the last century. Who cares if kids study certain things in certain months, as long as they study our history - in all its shame and glory?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 2:37AM
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Deb, you didn't check your dictionary, did you?

Yes, I refuse to see that women are, or recently were, silenced in school. In Afghanistan yes, but not in my corner of the world. Like Anita said, it's been a long time since that happened. My grandmother was a physician. She's 92 now. It was her MOTHER, not her father, that discouraged her from pursuing her dream of being a doctor. Her father toiled away at two jobs to support their 7 children and pay for her medical school. As a matter of fact, all but one of her 4 sisters had higher education and became successful, high-standing women. Yes, there were hardships, but those were the times. Hardship touched every facet of life, not just women's issues. And yes, it is acceptable to say "those were the times; that's the way it was." What that means is that we did what we could with the resources we had. We just didn't have the forethought or mindset that we do today. Just like eons ago we didn't have language, 100 years ago we didn't have the medicines we do today, ditto for technology, biology, economics, as well as sociology. We don't lay blame anywhere for not having had these things, and I don't think we should be looking to place blame for women's issues either. All things have come a long way, and so have women. To listen to my grandmother reflect on her life is not to listen to a story of suppression and 'bondage', but one of triumph and achievement. While she admits there were gender roles that were generally accepted and followed in her day, she does not feel that these roles were imposed upon society by men. That's just modern day right-wing feminism talking. In fact, gender roles were set out in the bible (maybe a man wrote that?). That was the state of society back then as it had evolved to that point in time. We have come a long way since then, and one hundred years from now, we will look upon certain views and conduct in today's society as archaic.

Anita, I never said we should not study the women's movement. I said it should be part of history like everything else, with no more or less emphasis.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 11:03AM
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Anita, NO, we certainly should care how Women have been represented and struggled throughout history....young girls today have a right to learn that being female does NOT have to mean being invisible....which is exactally what women are in most school's history classes and lessons. Doesn't anyone that has read and participated in this understand the potential harm that can result from being "silenced" throughout your school career????? I have to go, but I'm not done yet of course!!:)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2002 at 6:04PM
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