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News: UK
Teaching Women’s History: Students of the pilot project were surprised to learn about women’s active role in political reform in the Georgian era. 1819 ©Trustees of the British Museum
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Teaching women’s history

York students campaign for inclusion of women’s history in national curriculum

Teaching women’s history is a website developed by postgraduate students from the University of York to encourage the integrated teaching of women’s history in the current school curriculum.

The website http://teachingwomenshistory.com/, developed in conjunction with teachers, contains resources such as lesson plans, handouts, PowerPoint presentations and website links. The students hope that easy access to teaching resources will encourage schools to incorporate the teaching of women’s history in the current curriculum framework.

Based on a pilot project in which York postgraduate students conducted workshops on women in history in local schools, the website hopes to change how the subject is taught. The daily lives of women and their impact on society will become integral to existing lesson plans, and not seen as a separate topic to address.

Bridget Lockyer, one of the leaders of the project and a PhD student at the University of York’s Centre for Women’s Studies, said: “Engaging with women’s history can be transformative, a way to understand women’s past experiences and to reflect on women’s position in contemporary society. Yet history education, across all levels, is often patchy when it comes to the history of women, with the tendency to focus on one or two well-known, usually elite, female historical figures. The inclusion of women’s history in this way can seem tokenistic, separate from the ‘real history’ being written about and discussed.

“We want to encourage teachers to teach women’s history, not as something separate, but as something ordinary. We hope that the mainstreaming of women’s history will enable students to better recognise women’s contributions to society and enrich their understanding of how people in the past lived.”

As the new history curriculum comes into effect this September, the project organisers see these changes and the discussions they generated as an opportunity to rethink the way women’s history is presented to students. The aim is for the website to develop into a UK-wide resource for history teachers, helping them to integrate women’s history into the national curriculum more effectively.

NOTES
1. Source: University of York