By Megan McQueen
As a woman and mother to daughters, I feel optimistic about our future. Representation in government positions, media, and other power positions are crucial to showing our children their possibilities. When I remember career options given to my mother and the options my daughters consider, I gratefully acknowledge the continued work that brought us to this moment. As exciting as this progress is, we have not reached equality yet. Learning women’s history will empower all genders to move our society toward a richer one, inviting us to dream about our future.
Here are some ideas for celebrating Women’s History Month throughout March and beyond:
Celebrate the Women in Your Life: Along with learning about the past, we can recognize the contributions women are making today. You may want to help your child brainstorm a list of impactful women and think of ways to celebrate them. Your child can share artwork, write a note, send an email, bake a treat, or visit a meaningful place to honor important women in your family as well as in the community.
Make a Playlist: Think about the music you listen to in your home and car. Together with your children, make a playlist of music by women. Search “women of (your favorite genre of music)” to find suggestions, or start combining what comes to mind for a made-for-you mix. Look for racial diversity in your playlist for intersectionality. My kids and I enjoyed making a pretty rockin’ playlist.
Personify History: Think about your child’s interests and share stories about women who were trailblazers in those fields. Make an inspiration board of women (current and past) with pictures representing their work. Children can learn about who inspired their heroes. Does your child love to have bike adventures? Learn about Annie Londonderry and Kate Courtney. The National Women’s History Museum offers online exhibits, providing opportunities to learn more about specific women or impactful times in women’s history. Ask an older woman in your family’s life about their childhood and young adulthood. Did they have a dress code or limitations on their education or career choices? What have they seen change in their lifetimes? What are her accomplishments?
Feel powerful: Help your children strengthen their body image – this is especially important if your children identify as girls, genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid, and trans, etc. Encourage fun movement activities that can empower. Play basketball together, take a kickboxing class, join a roller derby team. Keep this focused on fun instead of changing your or your children’s bodies – the goal is to build confidence and comfort in how your body moves. Celebrate all the things your bodies can do!
Question Media Consumption: Much of our media places importance on girls’ and womens’ looks. When you notice this, talk about it with your children. Teach them that every body is a good body. If a girl or woman needs “rescued” by a boy or man in a book, show, or movie, talk about how your family could re-write the story to empower the girls and women. Help your family find media options to help them see a more realistic and hopeful vision for girls. Moana, The Color Purple, and Girls Rising are books and movies to begin your journey.
- Becoming a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery
- Elena’s Serenadeby Campbell Geeslin
- Firebird by Misty Copeland
- Just Ask!By Sonia Sotomayor
- Sofia Valdez, Future Prezby Andrea Beaty
- Sometimes People Marchby Tessa Allen
Middle Grade Books:
- Bug Girl by Benjamin Harper and Sarah Hines Stephens
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World by Elena Favilli
- Three Keys by Kelly Yang
Young Adult Books:
- Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
- Elatsoe byDarcie Little Badger
- Make Trouble: Young Reader’s Edition by Cecile Richards
- Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
Megan McQueen is a warmhearted teacher, coach, consultant, and writer. She grounds her work in empathetic education, importing a strong sense of community and social skills to those with which she works. Megan prioritizes emotional learning and problem solving skills. When not at work, she is most likely playing with her husband, two children, and pup.