| By Nicole Albrecht |
February 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced while reading an opposition letter, written by Coretta Scott King, during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general. Later, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell stated that Warren gave a lengthy speech violating rules and was warned, but nevertheless, she persisted.
That phrase was adopted by feminists and used to refer to any woman who refused to be silenced. It is this phrase that the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) presented for the 2018 Women’s History month. According to the NWHP, the “…theme presents the opportunity to honor women who have shaped America’s history and its future through their tireless commitment to ending discrimination against women and girls. Through this theme we celebrate women fighting not only against sexism, but also against the many intersecting forms of discrimination faced by American women including discrimination based on race and ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, and many other categories.”
The 2018 Women’s History Collections on GVRL were created with this theme in mind and two collections were curated: elementary and middle/high school. Each collection was built and researched on the foundation of the theme and titles were chosen that best represented this, as well as match reading levels and student interest. The resources in these collections are powerful tools to dismantle the common stereotypes that have been given to women throughout history and for students seeking resources for research or for inspiration can look no further.
The elementary collection for Women’s history features an array of diverse resources about women leaders who are changing the world, women’s rights movements and social changes; this collection also focuses on women who advocate for educational rights for girls and laws that protect children. One of the popular Britannica Publishing series, People You Should Know: 101 Reformers, Revolutionaries, Activists, and Change Agents, resonates well with the Women’s History theme given that the women inside the book have faced challenges and sought to improve lives for women around the globe. Thanks to the persistence of women such as Jane Adams, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai reforms have been pushed through and they have left their mark and a legacy to admire.
The middle and high school collection features titles that explore the issues such as discrimination, sexism, harassment, intolerance, and inequality that women have faced throughout history. This collection features diverse series and titles about women who changed rules, confronted violence, expressed their political views in literature and in media, and refused to take no for an answer. Defying Convention: Women Who Changed the Rules, by Enslow, is a series that profiles women athletes, entrepreneurs, political leaders and more who have shaped society with their persistence. Every title in this series celebrates the lives and accomplishments of women who have made their mark on history. Human Rights Innovators by Salem Press/Grey House, highlights hundreds of key figures who were persistent and fought for human rights around the globe. These informative, in-depth biographies feature those activists who fought to end slavery and discrimination, promote the rights of women and children, and those whose mission is to promote peace, freedom, and equal rights around the world.
By studying women who have challenged the norms and dedicated their work and their lives to promoting something they believe all women should inherently have, readers will have a deeper understanding how they impacted history. Whether it be important political figures, authors, poets, or athletes, the women in these collections are positive role models and students can draw strength from their stories.